What does the HIP do?
The HIP connects the industry with researchers, funders and knowledge transfer experts so that the industry can have a direct influence on the development of research and knowledge transfer programmes. This will ensure that programmes are relevant to the sector and address priorities that will help the industry to build more profitable and sustainable businesses in the UK, expand markets overseas and maximise the sector’s contribution to the supply of product to UK consumers and for export. Such industry-led research programmes should deliver outputs that can be applied on-farm to help improve yields, cut costs, reduce inputs and meet environmental challenges.

The HIP is investigating where there might be barriers to the uptake of new technologies and innovation in supply chains and what might assist the industry to overcome these barriers.

The HIP also communicates relevant funding opportunities to the industry.

Why was the HIP established?
The Horticulture Innovation Partnership (HIP) was established to help re-focus R&D funding towards industry’s priorities and to connect key individuals from across the industry to help shape a sector strategy for innovation.

The Horticulture and Potatoes Sector makes a vital contribution to the nation’s economy, jobs, food security, nutrition, health and well-being and accounts for annual farm gate sales of around £3.4 billion The sector employs around 100,000 workers and, occupying 5% of the (non-grass) cropped land area, it produces 40% of total farm gate crop sales (Statistics from Defra (2011) and AHDB MI (2011)).

Despite the importance of the sector, a series of round-table discussions on the future of UK Horticulture in 2012, led by Professor Sir John Beddington (Government Chief Scientific Adviser at that time), concluded that successive cutbacks in applied R&D funding over 30 years had reduced the ‘pull-through’ of fundamental research into commercial practice. Furthermore, commercial pressures had eroded margins and undermined industry confidence to invest in new production facilities and systems.

Who runs the HIP?
The HIP is led by the industry, for the industry. A Board of Directors and a Steering Group provide guidance on strategic direction and ensure systems of good management and governance. To ensure the HIP is industry-led HIP activities are guided by a series of working groups made up of representatives from across the industry, research providers and funders.

See www.hip.org.uk/who-we-are/people

Who is part of the HIP?
Anyone with an interest in the horticulture and potato supply chains can be part of the HIP. This includes everyone from growers to packers and processors, retailers and anyone who adds value to the supply chain, such as input suppliers, crop protection companies, distributors, machinery manufacturers, engineers and packaging providers, research providers and knowledge transfer experts etc.

The HIP was set up with support from AHDB-HDC and AHDB-Potato Council, Defra, the East Malling Trust, The Horticulture Trades Association (HTA), the NFU, the Royal Horticultural Society and SCI. Representatives of these organisations continue to engage through the HIP working Groups (Weblink to HIP working Group organograms).
The HIP also has a growing network of supporters who are listed on the HIP website (www.hip.org.uk/who-we-are/supporters/)

Does the HIP fund research?
The HIP does not fund research projects directly. The HIP acts as a contact point for the horticulture and potato industry to influence the research funds offered by Government and other organisations in the UK, EU and internationally, to ensure that there are funded programmes of direct relevance to the horticulture and potato sectors.

Why do we need the HIP?
Without the HIP the industry would not have a rapidly-growing network of representatives from across the supply chain, working in partnership with researchers and knowledge providers, to ensure that the priorities of our sector are recognised by funders, policymakers and wider Government, both in the UK and internationally.

How do I find out more?
Engaging with the HIP will enable you to feed in your priorities and access the latest information on research programmes and funding opportunities. To do this you can join the mailing list by signing up on the HIP website homepage (www.hip.org.uk) or you can email your comments to info@hip.org.uk

The Horticulture Innovation Partnership was launched in May 2013.