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    Posted 29 September 2003

    SIR DON CURRY, CHAIR of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, has backed a new initiative from Harper Adams University College aimed at stimulating and supporting the rural economy.

    The Centre for Rural Innovation, launched at Harper Adams’ Shropshire campus on Friday, September 19, 2003, was largely inspired by The Curry Report: “Farming and Food – a sustainable future,” which is now forming the basis of government thinking on the countryside.

    The Centre for Rural Innovation is a flagship project that will encompass as many as 50 current and forthcoming projects aimed at developing rural business and sustainable food and farming. Its purpose is to provide a one-stop shop giving access to and a contact point for the University College’s entire range of knowledge and expertise.

    Speaking at the project’s launch, Sir Don said he had been delighted to hear about Harper Adams’ latest initiative: “We need your innovation to continue to develop the rural economy and to find out how the rural sector can assist urban problems.

    “Your programme to exchange knowledge with those in rural businesses, including farming, features novel areas such as renewable energies and the use of renewable crops in manufacturing processes.

    “This is truly a place in which rural people feel supported and can turn for advice, guidance and education to get new businesses started and to share technological and business developments.

    The Centre for Rural Innovation has also been set up in response to the emerging issues of the Lambert Review of Business-University collaboration.

    In this review, author Richard Lambert notes: “Some businesses highlighted the difficulties they face in trying to access the right people within an institution or to find out what research, consultancy or other business support was available to them.” Sir Curry added: “The Centre for Rural Innovation is an important landmark in promoting the work of Harper Adams. It will act as a gateway for businesses, government and its agencies and others with an interest in rural matters.

    “I am sure it will become an important and practical element in the creation of partnerships, the exchange of knowledge and the development of skills that will be so essential to the realisation of the vision held by my Commission. I wish this initiative every success.”

    Further information about the work of the Centre for Rural Innovation can be found on its web site: or by e-mail to


    Notes to Editors: A full transcript of Sir Don Curry’s speech at the launch of the Centre for Rural Innovation is available upon request. Photographs from the launch are also available, in digital JPEG (.jpg) format. To have either of the above items e-mailed to you, please contact the Press & Publications Officer Nick Barnes:

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