Future direction of the Horticulture Innovation Partnership

As the Horticulture Innovation Partnership (HIP) reaches its third anniversary, the future direction of the Partnership is under review to ensure its role in supporting an ever-developing horticulture community continues to add value.  The review is being led by Steve Tones, Strategy Director Horticulture, AHDB & Acting Executive, HIP.  A thorough engagement programme is being carried out with key stakeholders and a recent questionnaire received over 100 responses. These show that the HIP, as an independent organisation, is strongly supported by Government, research funders, AHDB, research organisations and industry stakeholders. Steve Tones said “Most stakeholders recognised HIP’s core function and the need for it to continue to be driven by an independent entity”.

Three key functions have been identified as important for the future strategy of the HIP, none of which are encompassed by any organisation other than the HIP, these are to facilitate:
• Goal setting and strategy direction for R&D along the whole supply chain, including the coordination of input from representative grower and trade associations.
• Collaboration between research funders to improve alignment of funding programmes addressing industry need.
• Collaboration between research providers and help identify gaps in research provision.

There was also strong support for other activities, but respondents felt that these could and should be partly or wholly subsumed by other bodies, notably AHDB and the KTN, with whom the HIP already work closely. These include assessing the uptake and impact of research, understanding the barriers to the uptake of research, facilitating the breaking down of barriers to the uptake of research and connecting with overseas innovation activity.

The HIP Board and Steering Group have welcomed the clarity on the narrower remit to be delivered by the HIP.  Further work is required on the future funding model for the HIP, but importantly, as the name of the organisation suggests, the value of partnerships is well recognised and HIP’s partnership model must continue.   HIP is now in a consultation period which is due to be concluded by the end of March 2016.  It is essential that industry is involved in discussions and Steve Tones welcomes views from industry to ensure that the next phase of HIP delivers what the industry wants.  Please contact him at

The HIP would like to thank Mary Bosley and Mark Tatchell as they step down after three years of hard work to establish the Partnership. Their success at spotlighting horticulture, potatoes and ornamentals in the political and funding arena has been applauded by the community. Chair of the HIP Communications Working Group Harriet Duncalfe said “The insight of Mary and Mark has made inroads and built connections across the whole supply chain, between Government, funders, researchers and industry, which were previously missing and which have been extremely valuable for linked sustainability of the industry”. They will continue to support the industry within their ongoing contracts, including managing the Horticulture and Potato Initiative. In this interim period the HIP Board will carry the organisation forwards until the end of March.  The HIP Communications Working Group will continue to provide updates on progress to industry.

For information please contact Chantelle Jay, HIP Communications Associate, at