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NIAB at East Malling - the UK’s leading centre for horticultural research

Fruits of our combined labours


  • Promote the international significance of the scientific work undertaken by NIAB at its East Malling site in Kent, a world-class centre of excellence for the horticulture industry and stakeholders. 
  • Strengthen both industry and public awareness of the role of East Malling Trust as the UK’s largest independent funder of horticultural research. 

  • Support the work to position NIAB’s horticultural reaserch at East Malling as integral to the UK’s food security challenge and showcase how its scientists are playing an active role in helping the country adapt to climate change.

Results and highlights

  • Maxim’s relationship with NIAB and East Malling Trust has been ongoing since 2008 and delivered a diverse range of media, stakeholder and communications projects.
  • The work has also seen Maxim promote the Trust’s plans to continue funding the science undertaken by NIAB at East Malling, through the use of land, no longer required for field trials, for residential development. The result was two successful planning applications. Maxim is currently undertaking the community engagement work for a further residential proposal on the 550-acre estate -
  • Maxim was tasked with promoting the investment in a demonstration vineyard, research laboratory and research winery facility, opened by Tom Tugendhat, MP.
  •  Promotion of other investments on site has included the £18m of government funding for the Growing Kent & Medway initiative, one of seven national projects to drive innovation-led growth and support areas of R&D strength. This is funded via UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund and East Malling Trust. It is successfully building on more than a century of strategic and applied horticultural research undertaken at East Malling.
  • Maxim also announced permission for the Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone – the first phase of an Innovation Campus at the site. It has now been delivered and includes new science buildings, state-of-the-art glasshouses, an energy centre and other related facilities and infrastructure.
  • Promoting the success of the various soft fruit breeding programmes has also resulted in strong media awareness of the scientific work towards and the commercialisation of new fruit varieties.
  • Prior to its relationship with NIAB, the then East Malling Research (EMR) tasked Maxim with securing the visit of the Secretary of State for DEFRA to its Kent site which successfully raised the organisation’s profile and nurtured its relationship with the industry and media, and generated subsequent meetings at the House of Commons. 

  • Other political visits were also hosted for DEFRA ministers and the All-party Parliamentary British Fruit Industry Group. 

  • Briefing the media and focusing on the scientific advancements has generated significant and invaluable media coverage for both NIAB scientists based at East Malling and the Trust, including the BBC’s Breakfast News, Radio 4 Today programme, Countryfile, as well as other national, trade and regional media. 

  • Key projects have included promoting the Sainsbury’s concept conference pear orchard showcasing the latest production techniques. This has now been completed and demonstrated significant increases in yield and productivity. 

  • NIAB is at the heart of the debate on the future of scientific research in the country – and the media actively seeks expert comment. Senior representatives from their East Malling site are invited to attend significant industry forums and taskforces, including meetings with the government’s key scientific advisers.

Services delivered

Media relations, Public affairs, Community relations, Corporate communications, Reputation management

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