Sky’s the limit for Scottish ‘vertical farm’

Scottish based Intelligent Growth Solutions Ltd (IGS) teamed up with the James Hutton Institute (JHI) near Dundee to develop an indoor vertical farming system.


The collaboration focuses on ensuring sustainability of crop research and optimising crop production for commercial markets and used Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme to take the project to the next level.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

Doug Elder, Product Manager at Intelligent Growth Solutions LTD, said:

“The initial objectives set for the KTP were to develop and optimise growth protocols for IGS, providing us with the background data to allow us to market the Growth Towers to potential customers.

“Early in the project it also became clear that there was a need to map and define the physical growing environment and its stability. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership generated the protocols and delivered documents to outline tower specifications as well as delivering basic growth protocols and demonstrating the flexibility of the IGS towers for the production of a wide range of crops to differing customer specifications.

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnership represents a flexible scheme that allows companies to access the UK knowledge base in a way that is relevant to their innovation needs. It provides a full time graduate with the opportunity to drive forward a commercially relevant project with a focus that might not otherwise be available to the company.

“The KTP resulted in a close working relationship between IGS and JHI. This resulted in IGS choosing to move onto the JHI site to build their full-scale demonstrator towers drawing the interest of not only global agricultural companies but also local and national politicians at a time when Tayside was in receipt of a city regions deal.”

“The result of the collaboration between IGS and the JHI has enabled us to explore what future work might entail, and as part of this we are developing the idea of an Advanced Plant Growth Centre. This is expected to be a global hub for the development and applications of controlled and precision farming technologies. We’ve received £27 million in capital funding from the Tay Cities Deal and will create a long-lasting legacy that will put Tayside at the centre of the emerging global agri-tech markets.”

Intelligent Growth Solutions