UK based agri-tech company B-hive Innovations has relocated to a new research and development premises to bolster its operations in the fresh produce industry. The move will enhance its project delivery and commercialised entity capabilities and follows major Innovate UK and DEFRA-backed funding into work that will sustainably change the way that potatoes are grown, stored and transported.
B-hive develops innovative technologies for the fresh produce industry to increase marketable yield, better crop utilisation, adding new value and reducing food waste in the supply chain.
B-hive has relocated within the Lincoln Science & Innovation Park to the new Alchemy Building – a dedicated facility for R&D specialist occupiers that has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund and regional partnership body, the Midlands Engine. The Alchemy Building, part of the continual development of the Science Park, is a stone’s throw from B-hive’s previous offices at Boole Technology Centre, where the company was launched in 2017.
In September, B-hive, along with several commercial and academic partners, was awarded £2.06m by The Farming Innovation Programme, to investigate new methods that will contribute towards a net zero carbon supply chain for potato crop. The three-year project work is exemplary of B-Hive’s growing reputation in the fresh produce industry, with the new premises set to support its expanding operation.
The new 2,680 sq ft workspace includes meeting rooms, with integrated kitchen facilities and breakout areas. Open plan office accommodation houses B-hive’s growing team, alongside hot desking opportunities for visiting researchers to collaborate on funded projects.
Tom Blount, director at Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, said “We are delighted that B-hive has made the move into one of our phase two development buildings. As one of our long-standing anchor tenants, its continued presence in the park contributes hugely to the entire scientific community that we are rapidly building.”
As part of its expansion, B-hive has made 12 recent appointments across its departments, several of which are integral to the firm’s ambitious growth strategy. This includes recruitment at leadership level of Dr Andrew Gill, general manager, Dr Mercedes Torres Torres, head of machine learning, and Dr Ben Murphy, head of engineering.
Andy Gill brings 25 years of experience leading commercially relevant bioscience research, including for the University of Lincoln and University of Edinburgh.
Andy said: “The new facility is a fantastic enabler for our rapidly expanding workforce and project partners to undertake pioneering agri-tech research and development. We hope to continue to expand our team, as we apply strategically for additional funding to develop agri-tech innovations.
“As well as the work we undertake at the office or laboratory, field work is pivotal to project research and development, so it’s great that we can remain close to growers in Lincolnshire who we have established great working relationships with. Our East Midlands base also gives us a fantastic position centrally to liaise with our collaborators, including farmers and researchers up and down the country.
“We’re excited by the potential of the business, as we continue to deliver innovation in the farming supply chain, exemplified by our work on the Net Zero Hectare project, which has huge implications for reducing on-farm emissions as we all build to a sustainable future.”
Machine learning cluster
The new office boasts a dedicated cluster for machine learning, a major investment by B-hive towards software advancements as part of the pioneering technologies created for growers. To date, B-hive has received more than six million pounds in in research-backed funding that has helped growers to increase their marketable yield, enhance product quality and reduce waste along the wider food supply chain.
Dr Mercedes Torres Torres said: “The machine learning cluster will give us more flexibility and room for our dedicated team to develop our various projects. We continuously seek improvements to our software and these new facilities will enable B-hive to become a world leader in delivering machine learning-driven agri-tech solutions to progress sustainable innovation in the fresh produce sector.”
A stone’s throw from its existing premises, the move will also see one of B-Hive’s commercialised entities HarvestEye Ltd occupy the entire existing office, helping to enhance new product development and after sales support.
Andy added: “Having established ourselves as pioneers in the UK agri-tech market in just five years, this office move will further accelerate the growth of B-hive innovations and its established business to help us become a global leader in the precision farming market, both from a research and development standpoint as well as commercial product development.”
For more information on B-hive Innovations, visit https://www.b-hiveinnovations.co.uk/
Source: B-hive Innovations