Contract research can vary from a short-term research project to test the viability of a particular crop under different growing conditions, through to controlled plant production for use in clinical trials.
Research forms an important part of our business and offering to our partners as it drives future innovation and success. Our growing network, team, technology, and expertise collectively allow us to offer outsourced contract growing to support these activities.
When we build a new farm and onboard a new partner, we do so with a view to also offering future research partnerships and (often) co funded or externally funded research opportunities.
Our R&D Statistics
Success Rate with Innovate UK in 2020/21 alone
Ongoing research projects (both internal and external)
Different specialities across our R&D team
The learning never stops for our team or your business.
At our R&D hub in Deptford, Southeast London, our team spends every day growing, analysing, and better understanding different plants, how they grow, and what kind of lighting and nutrients they respond best to. Through our DIANA software platform, we’re able to transmit and share this information with our partners, irrespective of location.
As your business grows and your needs become more sophisticated, having a constant source of information such as this is critical, minimising risks, and providing solutions sooner than expected.
Current Research Projects
We are working in partnership with phytopharmaceutical development company, DePlantis Ltd. to grow a crop used for the production of a licenced medicine using a herbal extract, which will target the common cold and other respiratory conditions.
Vertical Future will develop the first soil-free, hydroponic production of this extract, which is proven to have an anti-viral effect on coughs and colds and is a key active ingredient in over-the-counter drugs, allowing a year-round, reliable source in line with other medicines.
“This Pharmaceutical application is allowing us to demonstrate the use of Vertical Future’s technology beyond our traditional market of plants for food. We will develop a stand-alone pilot R&D facility for non-food crops that is GACP/GMP compliant which we aim to expand into producing other phytopharmaceuticals”
– Jamie Burrows, Co-founder & CEO
Leaves to Door
A switch to online ordering and less-frequent food delivery services seen at the outset of the COVID crisis highlighted the need for extended shelf-life salads and leafy greens. Funded by Innovate UK in response to the COVID crisis, this project further improves our proprietary growing systems to allow crops to be produced for sale to the consumer still growing.
We are adapting materials commonly used in packaging to produce punnets and growing trays that can be transferred directly from the growing system to the retailer with minimal human handling.
Current live plant packaging is predominantly plastic, Innovate UK funding has allowed us to spend more time working to devise a fully biodegradable solution for the market. By adapting our systems to produce both cut and uncut product provides a greater range of markets for our technology clients to access. “COVID has been difficult for everyone, yet with funding schemes like this in place, we were not only able to stabilise the production side of the business, but expand it also – and to a wider range of customers”
– Dr. Jennifer Bromley, Head of Plant Research & Development