Growing a better tomorrow with vertical farming

Plant science meets sustainable commerce

Fyto are a North-East sustainable business with a focus on agriculture and nutrition

Project supported and funded by ERDF.

Newcastle upon Tyne


AgricultureEnvironmental ScienceSustainabilityScientific insights

Their Challenge

Access to the latest thinking on plant science

The Fyto team are passionate about sustainable food production and the opportunities provided by vertical farming. But their innovation stalled when they needed specialist, scientific insights into plant-light interactions and how to measure plant phenotype characteristics.

The Arrow project exceeded our expectations, providing in-depth and broad expertise in our areas of interest.
Greg Short

Director, Fyto

Arrow identified the right support

Arrow identifies the right support

Fyto’s Arrow Innovation Associate knew that there were two outstanding academics at Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES) who would be a perfect fit for this project. Dr Ankush Prashar has in-depth knowledge of imaging systems for crop monitoring and Dr Dave George has expertise with vertical farming.

Working together for real results – Arrow’s solution for success

Here at Arrow, we use in-depth knowledge of our four partner universities to match North-East businesses with academic experts, helping to drive innovation and success. Our own Arrow Innovation Associates are the linchpin to success. They are all skilled individuals in their own right. Not only do they identify and bring together the ideal academic specialists, but they use their own skills and expertise to get hands-on with research and reporting.

Greg Short

Director, Fyto

Dr Rebecca Hanna

Arrow Innovation Associate

Dr Ankush Prashar

Newcastle University

Dr Dave George

Newcastle University

The scientific team from Newcastle University gave their insights on research into lighting systems for optimal plant quality and how imaging can be used to identify when plants are stressed. Working with Fyto and the university academics was Arrow Innovation Associate, Dr Rebecca Hanna who both conducted essential research and seamlessly managed the project. Rebecca led discussions between Fyto and the university academics, identifying promising areas of focus. Using her own scientific expertise, she completed a comprehensive literature review of all recent research in this field. Rebecca also co-ordinated all meetings and arranged two field trips, one to visit Fyto and another to the university farm.

This opened up conversations around innovation and generated plenty of possibilities for future collaborative research and development. The field trips were powerful opportunities for Fyto team members to ask the academic experts questions and discuss ideas. After the field trip sessions, Rebecca efficiently transcribed all the notes from these discussions and shared a summary table of other ways to engage with the university, such as internships, KTPs, collaborative funding, student projects and more. Rebecca also identified funding opportunities for the purpose of bridging the gap between the Fyto project and larger bids.

Targeted scientific insights drive ongoing success

By the end of the project, the Fyto team had plenty of leading-edge information to fire up their thinking.

They received an extensive report on light-plant interactions and continuing, expert guidance and consultancy from their partner academics. They also gained validation of their designs in broad-spectrum horticulture lighting. The success of the partnership between Arrow, Fyto and Newcastle University led to two further research opportunities, which have now both been awarded HEIF funding to power their work. Fyto are now engaging with student projects and placements for the benefit of everyone concerned. We call that a win-win.

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