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Under Construction: Building an AgTech Discovery Engine Fueled by Collaboration

Jan 07, 2020 | UPL-LTD

Tags: UPL Innovation

In companies where I worked previously, the internal research platform was the primary innovation engine (and they were great ones at that!). What excited me about UPL was the opportunity to help build a new type of R&D capability. Taking a distinct approach, UPL’s R&D vision is completely unlike what other major agribusiness players have done over past decades. Our approach can be best summed up in one word… collaboration.

Agricultural and food production systems need to change, and technology will play a vital role in food and sustainability initiatives to ensure food security for all. However, the rate of innovation and on-farm deployment is still too slow to drive truly transformational food system progress. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best of the best in ag - both on the frontlines of crop protection innovation and research, and in consulting and investor roles with groundbreaking AgTech startups or in concert with specialist venture capital teams. I have always believed that the acceleration of the transformation of the food chain could only be achieved through collaboration and cooperation between these different entities, as well as growers, consumers and policy makers. That is why I believe that UPL’s approach is so relevant and important.

In my short time with the company, I have already been absolutely blown away by its corporate culture. To say it is unique is an understatement. It is inspiring. The UPL team’s overwhelming global success has flown somewhat under the industry radar to date, but the company has continually demonstrated its deep commitment to the ag community, ag innovation and sustainable ag practices for decades. Centralizing its new R&D hub in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, UPL now plans to break the ag innovation mold.

Aptly naming its new brand initiative #OpenAg, UPL understands the immense innovation opportunities that come from fresh perspective and is taking an open approach to collaborative innovation. In addition to deepening its own internal scientific bench, UPL is actively partnering with scientists and entrepreneurs who can help transform our food system to meet both the productivity and profitability needs of growers, as well as ensure sustainable and environmentally sound ag and food chain practices that can satisfy the demands of our society and planet. We are embracing tremendous advancements in new scientific approaches, breakthrough technologies and crossovers from other sectors, that occur outside our walls and then leveraging the power of our internal R&D team to help innovators accelerate to the market through our characterization, formulation, field trialing and regulatory platforms.

UPL is dedicated to creating an #OpenAg network, and its latest efforts in North America bring us one step closer to the UPL global leadership team’s vision becoming a reality. It is thrilling to help lead such an important effort on the ground from North Carolina. An agile, fast and cost-effective R&D platform built on collaborative partnerships will help create the building blocks of a more sustainable future of food and ag.

If you know entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies that have the potential to drive the next era of sustainable ag and an environmentally sound food chain while benefiting growers around the globe, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re “open” to learning more about the innovation all around us.


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