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New appointments strengthen International Barley Hub initiative

Outgoing IBH chair Colin West, Colin Campbell & interim IBH chair James Brosnan
"The solid funding promised by UK and Scottish governments recognises the current and ongoing importance of barley to Scotland, the UK, Europe and the world"

The International Barley Hub, a unique platform aiming to translate barley research into commercial benefits with support from the Tay Cities Region Deal, has been reinforced through new appointments within its leadership team. Professor James Brosnan has been named Interim Chair, and experienced farmer George Lawrie is stepping into the vice-chair role.

Professor Brosnan is Director of Research at The Scotch Whisky Research Institute and sits on the AHDB Wheat and Barley Committees and the UK Malting Barley Committee. He has a personal interest in cereal science, and as director at SWRI is also concerned with ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials, that meet distillers’ needs, to the Scotch whisky industry.

Mr Lawrie has farming interests in the Kinross area, Perthshire, and is currently a board member of the James Hutton Institute, as well as a past board member of NFUS and past chair of the Land Use and Environment Committee. He is also on the board of The Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society and a trustee and chairman of The Royal Highland Educational Trust.

Professor Brosnan said: “As a whisky scientist I know that without barley there is no Scotch whisky! The International Barley Hub is thus a great opportunity for the barley supply chain to work together to ensure a long term, resilient supply of barley. The investment in the IBH by Scottish and UK governments as part of the Tay Cities Deal is to be welcomed as it will not only support key domestic industries and address challenging aspects of climate change mitigation but also help establish the next generation of UK cereal scientists. I look forward to working even more closely, as Interim Chairman, with the scientists and supply chain stakeholders under the IBH banner.”

Mr Lawrie added: “With barley accounting for the largest area grown in Scotland, the IBH is a major investment into a crop that is so important to the Scottish economy. This gives us the chance to carry out new important research that will help growers as well as end users to achieve a more reliable product along with opening up new markets for barley. It also gives us the chance to look at emerging markets and see if we can help with more reliable traits that would allow them to achieve better yields in difficult growing conditions.”

Outgoing chair of IBH, Colin West, commented: “The progress made with the International Barley Hub over the past three years has been fantastic. Co-ordinated by a small team based at the James Hutton Institute, many organisations have worked together to demonstrate the reality of collaborative research which gives a glimpse of the potential future value to be generated by the Barley Hub and partners across the barley world.

“The solid funding promised by UK and Scottish governments recognises the current and ongoing importance of barley to Scotland, the UK, Europe and the world as an ingredient in human food and animal feed. It is a pleasure to see the new leadership team in place to implement the next phase of this great project.”

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 IBH is set to translate scientific research into tangible impacts for all barley-related industries in the breeding, farming, malting, brewing, feed, food and health sectors. It is backed by a share of a £62m transformational Tay Cities Deal investment by the UK and Scottish Governments.

The initiative is underpinned by the research excellence of the James Hutton Institute, University of Dundee, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Abertay University, the Rowett Institute and others. Businesses and sectoral interest groups such as the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, Maltsters Association of GB and the National Farmers Union Scotland form part of the demand side of the IBH project consortium.

Notes to editors:

The Tay Cities Deal is a partnership between local, Scottish and UK governments and the private, academic and voluntary sectors which seeks to create a smarter and fairer Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross under the headings Inclusive Tay; Innovative Tay; International Tay; Connected Tay and An Empowered Tay.

In total, the 25 projects submitted require investment of £700 million of which £300 million over 10 to 15 years is being put in by the UK Government, Scottish Government and their agencies, subject to final approval of robust business cases.

If every project and programme set out in the submission is funded and delivered, up to 6,000 job opportunities could be created across the tourism, food and drink, creative industries, eco innovation, digital, decommissioning, engineering, biomedical and health and care sectors.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/new-appointments-strengthen-international-barley-hub-initiative on 26/05/22 03:23:24 PM

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.