Essex Plant Innovation Centre

Our research

A researcher wearing a white lab coat is holding a device to a plant leaf, with UV light overhead giving a purple glow to the image.

The Essex Plant Innovation Centre’s (EPIC) research embeds a focus on industry solutions in the everyday work of academics.

EPIC covers the breath of plant science, encompassing both the Life Sciences and Computer Sciences. The research undertaken at EPIC answers the fundamental questions and real-world problems of the agri-tech and environmental industries.

The funded projects our researchers are already involved in include innovation in robotic automation, the development of hydroponic systems and the use of LED lighting for plant growth.

Key research themes

  • Plant productivity
  • Soil health
  • Abiotic and biotic stress
  • Bio-aerosols and bioremediation
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Agricultural robotics
  • Social and environmental impacts

State-of-the-art technologies

  • Plant phenotyping
  • Gene discovery
  • Remote sensing
  • Data analytics
  • Computer vision
  • Soft fruit picking and packing

Our activities

Research projects

  • Versatile-Configurable, Smart Indoor harvesting of 'Aubergine, Tomato and Strawberry' crops - CSEE, Innovate UK, Vishwanathan Mohan
  • Chlorophyll Fluorescence Signatures - Life Sciences, Gardin Ltd, Tracy Lawson
  • Robotic automation for transferring Lettuce plants from propagation floats to final growing float - CSEE, JEPCO (Globe) Limited, Vishwanathan Mohan
  • Foliair: Measuring the gas exchange of flat moss - Life Sciences, Foliair, Tracy Lawson
  • Design, manufacture and marketing of off-grid DC based LED lit growing systems focusing on vertical farming - Life Sciences, iGrowing Ltd, Tracy Lawson
  • Towards optimising biofumigation and pest control with mustard and radish plants: monitoring the soil microbiome via volatile organic compounds and next generation sequencing - Life Sciences, Enabling Innovation: Research to Application, Alex Dumbrell
  • Developing prototype VOC sensor-based products for determining soil health on-farm - CSEE, Innovate UK, Adrian Clark
  • Intelligent smart LED lighting for maximised crop yield - Life Sciences, EIRA, Tracy Lawson
  • Innovation Voucher with BioConsortia - Life Sciences, BioConsortia Inc, Tracy Lawson
  • To develop an automated multi-channel gas exchange system capable of measuring plant photosynthesis for extended periods of time, unattended - Life Sciences, ADC Bioscientific Ltd, Tracy Lawson
  • Waveney Mushrooms Innovation Voucher project - Life Sciences, Wavaney Mushrooms, Tracy Lawson
  • Gee Vee Innovation Voucher - Life Sciences, Gee Vee Enterprises Ltd, Tracy Lawson
  • Phenotyping Thai rice photosynthesis for sustainable rice production - Life Sciences, British Council, Tracy Lawson

Media mentions

Research flyers