Meet The Team
Dr Lydia Smith, Head of Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub is a plant ecologist by training. She joined NIAB in 1997 with a broad remit to expand the research base. She developed and led Novel and Non Food Crops Research for 10 years, and still contributes to this area. Lydia set up NIAB Innovation Farm, to provide a forum for research and innovation providers to interact directly and to engage with students on the longer term. The Innovation Hub is a natural progression; providing physical space and assistance for piloting or testing innovations in close partnership with the grower community when needed.
Vivien is the first point of interaction with those wishing to use the site or interact with other SMEs and Hub users. With a broad background in commercial and academic life, Vivien is Office Manager at the Eastern AgriTech Innovation Hub. Her roles include the general coordination of the Hub, administrative support and the arrangement of meetings or events. Additionally, Vivien assists Dr Lydia Smith with the day to day running of projects and funding on food related/ agricultural projects at the Innovation Hub.
Patrick McKenna was initially trained as a botanist but became interested in the agricultural sciences whilst working on smallholder organic farms in Kent. He received his PhD in agronomy from the Royal Agricultural University in 2017 and then spent a year doing postdoctoral research in the University of Leeds, studying the potential for global soil improvement using wastewater-derived fertilisers. He came to NIAB in 2019 to research the impact of herbal leys and grazing on soil fertility and subsequent crop production. In 2022 he began a new collaboration between NIAB and Phoscycle looking at the impact of recovered phosphate from expired fire extinguishers on spring wheat and potato performance.
Management of the Hub is led by Dr Lydia Smith in close collaboration with a steering group including:
Belinda Clarke Agri-tech E (Chair)
Mario Caccamo NIAB
Stuart Knight NIAB
Vivien Sulik NIAB
Simon Brown NIAB
Nick Allpress Allpress farms
Mark Goldsack Local County Counciller and member of Rural Farms Estates Committee
Charlie Kisby Willow Tree Farm
Steve Taylor Celbius Ltd
Martin Smith East Cambridge Council District