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Agriforwards CDT



The Agriforwards CDT programme is strongly supported by a world-leading network of industrial partners including multinationals, SMEs, supply-chain companies, other research funding entities.

The key multinationals include John Deere, Syngenta, Beeswax Dyson, ABB, SMC and PA Consulting. SME support is rich and includes SAGA Robotics, Earth Rover, Ibex Automation, CMV Celestino, Dogtooth, OAL Ltd and Tharsus. Key end users include G’s Fresh, Berry Gardens and Beeswax Dyson. 

The input of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and the NFU is also significant. The AHDB is the largest public body to fund research and knowledge exchange (KE). Both the NFU and AHDB provide an effective route to knowledge transfer andexchange with the entire UK industry.

The list of companies that support the Agriforwards CDT programme is below.

ABB Robotics


ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots and robot software, equipment and complete application solutions. We are at home in 53 countries and have installed more than 400,000 robots, supported by the broadest service network and offering in the industry.


Funded as part of the UK Government’s Agri-Tech Strategy, at the Agri-EPI Centre we are of four Agri-Tech Centres bridging the gap between industry and academia across the agri-food sector in the UK and globally. As the go-to enabler, we work with businesses, scientists and engineers to turn their ideas into new products and services that will generate economic growth and help tackle the global issues of sustainability and feeding the world.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy-to-use, practical expertise that they can apply instantaneously to make better decisions and improve their performance.

Berry Gardens

Berry Gardens is committed to promoting responsible relationships throughout the soft and stone fruit sector, so that consumers can enjoy our fruit knowing that it has been grown, harvested, packed and distributed with care for the environment and respect for all the people involved in the supply chain.


Every day, billions of people come into contact with Bühler technologies to cover their basic needs for food and mobility, and more. Our technologies are in your smartphone, solar panels, diapers, lipstick, banknotes, the foods you eat, and the vehicles you drive. We strive to create innovations for a better world, with a special focus on healthy, safe, and sustainable solutions.

Beeswax Dyson Farming

The Beeswax Dyson Farming has a simple, clear approach which they are determined to implement. The Beeswax Dyson Farming tries to learn from the past to ensure that their core assets, such as soils, are protected and improved. The Beeswax Dyson Farming aims to look forward to ensure that the decisions they make today impact positively on future production and value.

Cambridge Enterprise

Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise supports academics, researchers, staff and students in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact. We do this by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the University.


Cefas are the government’s marine and freshwater science experts, working for healthy and productive oceans, seas and rivers and safe and sustainable seafood. Innovative, world-class science is central to our mission. We work to safeguard human and animal health, enable food security and support marine economies.

Dogtooth Technologies

Dogtooth Technologies is a Cambridge-based technology start-up building state-of-the-art intelligent robots for soft fruit picking.

Ten years ago, it was difficult to imagine robots picking delicate berry fruits as well as people. But enormous progress in the field of machine learning and computer vision means that robotic picking is now a reality.

Dogtooth is pioneering the use of the most sophisticated robot control systems in applications that previously needed increasingly difficult-to-recruit human labour. However, this means more than developing technology in a lab. Since day one, we have been working alongside customers to develop picking solutions capable of use in real farms.

Our team of engineering superstars is solving the problem not only of building robot control systems capable of achieving sufficient visual acuity and dexterity, but also of deploying robots into challenging real-world environments, operating robots safely alongside farm personnel, and manufacturing robots at scale.

Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a research institute focused on exploring living systems by applying computational science and biotechnology to answer ambitious biological questions and generate enabling resources.

Earth Rover

Earth Rover is a company that develops autonomous farming robots designed for precision farming. The company's robots are based on ExoMars Rover space technology, adapted to carry precision tools and integrate with an intelligent data platform, enabling farmers to bridge the gap between today's farming methods and the autonomous farm of the future.


The GMV goal is to support our client's processes by dint of technologically advanced solutions, providing integrated systems, specialized products and services covering the whole life cycle. These range from consultancy and engineering services up to the development of software and hardware, the integration of turnkey systems and operational backup.

GMV is a privately owned technological business group with an international presence. Founded in 1984, GMV offers its solutions, services and products in very diverse sectors: Aeronautics, Banking and Finances, Space, Defense, Health, Cybersecurity, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Automotive, Telecommunications, and Information Technology for Public Administration and large corporations.

G's Growers

G’s Growers Ltd is an independent Producer Organisation comprising 17 grower members in the UK.

By working together G’s Growers members are able to share expertise, experience and knowledge to allow them to take advantage of economies of scale to ensure the efficient supply and availability of quality produce for our customers and consumers across the UK, Europe and North America.

Our crop range includes whole-head and baby-leaf salad, celery, radish, onions, salad onions, beetroot, mushrooms, Chinese leaf and leeks. Our production sites are based in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Kent, West Sussex and the West Midlands.

All G’s Growers members meet or exceed the rigorously high standards that are demanded by modern consumers, retailers and governments, as well as our own brand expectations, whilst farming with a focus on preserving and enhancing the environment around us for future generations.

Ibex Automation Ltd

Ibex Automation Ltd develops autonomous agricultural robot systems for farmers, including an autonomous precision weed detection and spraying system for use in grassland.   Ibex Automation Ltd was created from an InnovateUK project which prototyped this technology, and continues to develop it through collaborative R&D to bring it closer to real-world use.

We work closely with the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology. at the University of Lincoln.

Institute of Physics

As a society we face an unprecedented array of challenges. Globally, we need to address a changing climate and a growing population, to decarbonise economies, improve healthcare and ensure water, food and energy supplies. Domestically, we need to develop the next generation of industries to create jobs and improve productivity to safeguard citizens’ futures. Physics has a vital role to play in tackling these issues and helping make the UK and Ireland fit for a new industrial era of science, technology and engineering.

John Deere

Since 1837, John Deere Company has seen a great many changes in its business, its products and services. Change always comes with opportunity ans John Deere has always been ready and willing to embrace it. Yet, through it all, John Deere is still dedicated to those who are linked to the land – farmers and ranchers, landowners, builders. John Deere has never outgrown nor forgotten its founder's original core values: integrity, quality, commitment and innovation. Those values determine the way we work, the quality we offer and the unsurpassed treatment one gets as a customer, investor or an employee.


Established by AMC in 1972, MMUK is now one of the UK’s largest citrus & grape specialists. As part of the AMC Group we have world class alliances, globally from Spain to Australia, from China to the USA.          

Responsible sourcing, considered change, adaptability, availability, and driving the pace of the growing market are all important parts of MMUK’s philosophy. Supported by like-minded growers in over 20 countries worldwide, we provide a completely integrated tree-to-table service.

We have used our fruit expertise to develop juice & ice cream production and supply to add to our core offerings.


NIAB is at the centre of innovation in crop science in the UK and across the world.

Established in 1919 to assess the merits of varieties and seed quality, NIAB has grown in size, expanding its cropping and research expertise to the extent that it is now a major international research organisation in plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy.

With expertise in genetics and breeding, varieties and seeds and agronomy, NIAB works on a wide range of crops from cereals and oilseeds to potatoes, ornamentals, non-food crops and top and soft fruit. We produce new genetic diversity in pre-breeding material for arable crops, as well as plant breeding services for the fruit sector.

The need for innovation in plant breeding and agronomy has never been greater. With a growing global population, food security issues are a concern. Crop science and technology has a vital role to play in boosting productivity, conserving resources and coping with climate change.


An innovative family business, our success is underpinned by our founder, Harry Norman’s passion for technology and enthusiasm for change.The OAL are using automation and robotics to shake up the food industry and improve how our food is made. 

PA Consulting

As strategy, technology and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity. So, whether you’ve just started scoping AI tools or you’re already automating processes, we have the understanding and the practical experience to help you go further, faster.

The 250+ innovative designers, scientists and engineers at our Global Innovation and Technology Centre have worked with AI and automation technologies for years, from natural language processing to advanced machine-learning analytics.

Our proven approach involves understanding your organisation’s culture, people and strategy before moving iteratively from strategy, through experimentation to full-scale implementation. By focusing on both the human and technical aspects of your technology transformation, you will achieve the full potential of AI and automation.


SAGA Robotics

The Thorvald platform emerged from the robotics group at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. By working closely with farmers, the main challenges for producers, both in Norway and internationally, were identified; we saw the need to introduce robots to the agricultural domain for solving critical issues such as labour shortages, sustainability and yield security.

With this foundation, Saga Robotics was established as a company committed to delivering autonomous services for the agricultural industry. Saga Robotics combined a robust mechanical design with intelligent autonomy, and the world's leading agricultural platform, Thorvald, was born.

Thorvald is an autonomous modular robot that can be configured for most agricultural environments. It can operate in open fields, tunnels, orchards and greenhouses and perform tasks such as light treatment for disease management, picking fruits and vegetables, phenotyping, in-field transportation, cutting grass for forage production, spraying and data collection/crop prediction.

Thorvald operates entirely on its own, using advanced navigation methods and artificial intelligence to perform a wide variety of tasks. The robot is small and lightweight, allowing it to perform many tasks on a farm more effectively and for less cost than by using tractors or manual labourers.

Many agricultural robotics companies have created specialized robots that can each do a single task in one type of environment. Thorvald, however, is modular and can be easily assembled to operate in different types of farms and to work with a variety of tools. We have a partner model that permits others to build tools for the robot allowing us to develop applications rapidly. For these reasons, we will be able to produce robots on a large scale at an affordable cost. We will be a strong competitor, both with standard farming practices and with other small specialised robots developed for agriculture.


Syngenta is one of the world's leading agriculture companies. Our ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the planet.  We aim to improve the sustainability, quality and safety of agriculture with world class science and innovative crop solutions. Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources. With 28,000 people in more than 90 countries we are working to transform how crops are grown. Through partnerships, collaboration and The Good Growth Plan we are committed to improving farm productivity, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalising rural communities. 

BEKO plc

Beko plc is the UK and Ireland subsidiary of Arçelik A.Ş. Established in 1955, Arçelik A.Ş is one of the largest household appliance producers in Europe with a global workforce of over 30,000 people in more than 30 countries, distributing products and services to 146 countries. It is also the leading home appliances brand in Turkey, offering extensive and innovative ranges of both home appliances and consumer electronics. Arçelik A.Ş. is the consumer durables sector of Koç Holding, based in Turkey.

MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre)

We have a clear vision - to inspire Great British manufacturing on the global stage.

Developing and proving innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. We focus on delivering bespoke manufacturing system solutions for our customers.

We specialise in digital manufacturing, additive manufacturing, automation and robotics as well as intelligent automation.

We operate some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, and employ a team of highly skilled engineers, many of whom are leading experts in their field. This creates a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new processes and technologies on an industrial scale.

The MTC’s areas of expertise are directly relevant to both large and small companies, and are applicable across a wide range of industry sectors. The MTC’s members include global manufacturing companies from multiple sectors. Research partners include the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and TWI Ltd.

The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.


Ceres is a collaborative agri-tech partnership between five leading UK universities and three renowned agricultural research institutes. Funded by Research England, it provides translational funding and commercialisation expertise to drive agri-tech innovation by accelerating high quality research to market.

IAgrE (institution of Agricultural Engineers)

The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) is a professional membership organisation with grades for all those working, or with an interest in, engineering, science and technology within agriculture and the environment. A registered charity working for the public benefit, IAgrE brings together academics, practitioners and industry to share knowledge and promote professionalism in the advancement and application of technology in the landbased sector.

This Institution is for you if you have an interest in Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, Horticulture, Amenity or any other landbased industry. We have a diverse membership so you are sure to find like minded individuals. Membership of IAgrE will enhance your professional standing, your professional knowledge and your professional networks.

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