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International Barley Hub

On 22 November 2018 it was announced that the International Barley Hub project - championed by the James Hutton Institute alongside industry and academic partners - would receive investment funding as a core project within the £300m Tay Cities Deal development programme. The project was green-lighted as part of an overall investment package of £62 million directed at two Institute-led innovation centre projects which will also see the Advanced Plant Growth Centre become a reality.

Barley is one of Scotland's most important crops and a fundamental component of many key industries, is pivotal to brewing and distilling, yet remains largely under the radar in terms of the perception of its significance. This is surprising considering the importance of Scotland's drinks sector. Despite this, few people outside the farming industry appreciate barley's link to the economic well-being of the country as well as its significance globally as a nutritious food crop.

The James Hutton Institute is at the forefront of scientific progress where barley is concerned. Whilst research into wheat, the UK's number one crop, is fairly widespread, the James Hutton Institute is the UK's only centre of expertise for the UK's second largest crop, grown on about half of Scotland's arable land.

The International Barley Hub will be constructed and hosted at the Institute’s Dundee site and will create a unique, integrated, open platform for the translation of barley research into economic, social, environmental and commercial impacts benefiting breeding, farming, malting, brewing, feed, food, health and related industries.

The project has been developed in partnership with industry and other key sector stakeholders, to ensure that activities are targeted where they are most needed and can deliver maximum impact. Through the development and fundraising phase, the partners have embarked on an unprecedented programme of collaborative research and scoping work. Productive cross-sectoral relationships have blossomed from the work done to assess and define the case for the Hub, effectively meaning that it is already delivering for the partners and the economy.

What is it?

  • A unique platform to translate barley research into commercial benefits for the entire value chains around food, brewing and whisky.
  • An internationally recognised centre for the training and development of skills in barley research.
  • An economic stimulator, creating new jobs and economic impact for Dundee, Scotland and the UK.

What will it deliver?

  • A consistent and sustainable future supply of high-quality barley.
  • Shorter development times for new varieties with use specific properties.
  • Commercial benefits for research partners and clients.
  • Opportunities to develop novel products and valorise waste.
  • A world-leading research and development cluster to attract the best research talent.

When will it be completed?

  • Design and tendering of the project will take approximately 18 months and construction a further 18 months.
  • Occupation is targeted for late 2022.

What will be in the building?

  • The building will be 4,800m2 and will accommodate over 100 researchers of which 40 will be new posts.
  • 44 state-of-the-art lab spaces will be provided plus a flexible double height process-development facility.  
  • Flexible meeting, lecture and office space.

For more information on the project, please contact Philip Gane, Capital Projects Manager.


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.