Harpenden’s Rothamsted Research to become agricultural and food technology hub

PUBLISHED: 09:51 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:51 31 January 2020

Designs for the renovations at Rothamsted Research's Russell Building in Harpenden. Picture: Rothamsted Enterprises

Designs for the renovations at Rothamsted Research's Russell Building in Harpenden. Picture: Rothamsted Enterprises

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Rothamsted Research centre in Harpenden is to undergo renovations to become a hub for the agricultural and food technology businesses.

Designs for the renovations at Rothamsted Research's Russell Building in Harpenden. Picture: Rothamsted EnterprisesDesigns for the renovations at Rothamsted Research's Russell Building in Harpenden. Picture: Rothamsted Enterprises

Thanks to a £1.7 million joint Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ), the centre's Russell Building will be renovated to provide office space.

The building, which has lain empty since 2014, is of historic importance as a home for agricultural science. Pioneering statistician Ronald Aylmer Fisher worked in the Russell, and scientists who created the first pyrethroid insecticides were based there.

Once renovated, the building will house 22 offices, and will accommodate up to 118 people in spaces ranging from 200 square feet to 1,200 square feet. These will include an open-plan innovation space, where entrepreneurs can work together before testing their ideas on site, as well as spaces and offices for start-ups and businesses.

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Rothamsted Research interim institute director and chief executive Angela Karp said: "We are delighted by this development. Bringing together entrepreneurs on campus with our world-class scientists, I am confident we can look forward to a new era of ground breaking innovation in agricultural science and technology at Rothamsted."

As a founding partner of Herts IQ, Rothamsted Research is helping to build a cluster of green businesses in the Hertfordshire Enterprise Zone. Demand for more office space has also been boosted by the launch of the 'Shake Climate Change' programme and Rothamsted Research's Agri-Tech Research Innovation Accelerator (AgRIA), which encourages cross-working across various sciences.

Paul Witcombe, head of enterprise and innovation at Herts LEP, said: "This will provide much needed grow on space for high-tech, high-growth gazelle companies within this burgeoning sector.

"By bringing this prominent building back into use, it sends a very clear message that Hertfordshire is the home of innovation and enable Rothamsted to continue to foster open collaboration between business and science."

Relevant offices looking for new office space should contact Asmaa Shariff on 01582 938679.


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