NIAB EMR is the UK’s largest horticultural research and development centre undertaking work in the perennial and clonally-propagated crops sector.


Primary Contact: Ross Newham (Operations Director)

[email protected] | 01732 843833

NIAB EMR conducts research on horticultural crops and their interactions with the environment, with particular emphasis on perennial and clonally propagated fruit crops. The DNA Fingerprinting Service, based at EMR, offers accurate identification of several crops including: apples, pears, cherries, strawberries and raspberries.

Facilities include a 202 ha planted with perennial and arable crops, plant growth research facilities and a Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Centre. The WET Centre is one of three key areas set up for and demonstrating Knowledge Exchange and demonstration, alongside a vineyard with a consortium approach to funding and results disseminated to industry, and a plum demonstration plot. The research vineyard was planted in 2015 as part of a viticulture consortium between NIAB EMR and leading UK vineyards- Bolney Wine Estate, Chapel Down, Nyetimber, Gusbourne Estate, Halfpenny Green, Hencote and Kingscote.

The East Malling Rootstock Club (EMRC) was established in 2008 and aims to deliver improved rootstocks to UK growers, with support from the Horticultural Development Company (HDC), and to overseas producers with funding provided by the International New Varieties Network (INN). EMRC’s remit is to breed, develop, distribute and commercialise new and improved rootstock material for apple and pear production, encompassing a diverse range of agronomic variation and resistance to pests and diseases. Their work has included genetic fingerprinting of Brogdale National Fruit Collection.


With a focus on the horticultural production-to-supply chain, particularly in soft and top fruit, NIAB EMR tackles the challenges associated with climate change, food security, food chain quality and resource use efficiency, to optimise economic and environmental sustainability in crops.


All programmes work extensively with a network of scientific partnerships and collaborations with leading commercial and research organisations in the UK, Europe and globally.

The WET Centre demonstrates ‘Best Practice’ in irrigation and fertigation technology in substrate-grown strawberry and raspberry. Much of the technology on show has been developed in projects funded by the AHDB, Berry Gardens and Innovate UK, the aims of which are to improve resource use efficiency, crop productivity, and berry quality whilst reducing waste and lowering emissions in bag-grown strawberry and container-grown raspberry. AHDB is one of a number of part-funders of the WET Centre.

The three key areas for KE are under Mark Else’s remit alongside other work such as the concept pear orchard that looks at profitable pear production.

NIAB EMR regularly partners with AHDB for project work. There has also been investment into glasshouse and technologies from recent project involvement.

Research interests:

Alongside KE and demonstration, NIAB EMR undertakes a variety of projects including strawberry variety trailing, soils etc

Sustainability and profitability are the main research focuses at NIAB EMR. Research is delivered through three scientific programmes:

  • Genetics and crop improvement
  • Pest and pathogen ecology for sustainable crop management
  • Resource efficiency for crop production

NIAB EMR specialises in the ecology of crop pests and pathogens, and the environmental and biotic factors which affect.