What We Do

What we own:

We own the properties at Norwich Research Park occupied by John Innes Centre, Sainsbury Laboratory and Earlham Institute. We also own land currently leased to Anglia Innovation Partners LLP on part of which has been developed Centrum and Leaf Systems:

What we fund or support:

  • A world-renowned Student Rotation programme at Norwich Research Park
  • Alumni events and activities in respect of the Rotation Programme
  • The Chris J. Leaver Fellowship at the John Innes Centre
  • Major capital infrastructure projects across the John Innes Centre and Norwich Research Park
  • An agricultural bursary, awarded annually to a young person from a non farming background.
  • A range of Norfolk-based science-related educational charities
  • An important History of Genetics archive
  • Anglia Innovation Partners LLP, which JIF is an investor in and member of.
  • A range of initiatives aimed at encouraging the public understanding of, and engagement with, plant science
  • A range of recreational facilities at NRP
  • The John Innes Society at NRP

Student Rotation Programme

The John Innes Foundation supports the Rotation PhD programme, at the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory  and Earlham Institute.

This programme is renowned for its academic excellence and groundbreaking research.

The programme attracts elite candidates from around the world and offers fully funded four year PhD studentships with enhanced stipends.

Students recruited onto this programme pursue three short research rotations during their first year, with the aim of enhancing their research training, before selecting a supervisor and a topic for their main research project.

Students benefit from experience of a wide range of experimental approaches and research environments, as well as the empowerment of student choice in the selection of both research topics and supervisors.

It is important to JIF that we keep in touch with previous students and are delighted to have done so with Meluleki Zihali, Yiliang Ding and Frank Sainsbury. Please see their references of the programme by clicking here.

John Innes Centre Director Professor Dale Sanders has this to say:

“The John Innes Centre has benefited enormously over many decades through its association with the John Innes Foundation.

Currently, the John Innes Foundation provides substantial funding to support a flagship PhD Rotation Programme through which the John Innes Centre is able to attract the best and brightest students from around the world. Graduates of this long-running programme now occupy senior positions in the academic, commercial and public sectors globally.

The John Innes Foundation also provides support for career development through the John Innes Centre at all levels: from the Women of the Future scheme through to support for our undergraduate summer school and high-profile independent Chris J Leaver research fellowship.

The recreational amenities supported by the John Innes Foundation, as envisaged in the original bequest of John Innes, are hugely appreciated by our staff, and contribute enormously to making the John Innes Centre a very special place to work.”

Norwich Research Park

JIF is the owner of major land and building assets at Norwich Research Park.  It was instrumental in the establishment of AIP LLP, the business established by all stakeholders to lead the further development of the Park and to provide the full range of management and support services required.  The Park is now home to over 80 businesses, 12,000 employees and 3,000 clinicians.

JIF also supports the provision of facilities at the Park, aimed at making it a better place for those that work & study there.  The most recent example is the nursery, to which JIF contributed £275,000.





Historical Collections

The John Innes Foundation Historical Collections include important early copies of botanical books and herbals, the earliest dating back to 1511. Subjects include plant anatomy, medical botany, plant pathology, horticulture, plant breeding and agriculture.  The collection includes copies of the very rare Hortus Floridus (Crispin de Passe, 1614), John Gerard’s Herball or General Historie of Plantes (1597), Parkinson’s Paradisi in Sole (1656), Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (from 1787), Redouté’s Les Liliacées and Sibthorpe’s Flora Graeca (1806-1840).

Educational Support

Agricultural Bursary

JIF provides an annual bursary to a student of agriculture.  This was introduced in the 2017/18 academic year and is aimed at encouraging young people from a non farming background into the industry.

Also available as part of the bursary is work experience at Velcourt, the largest farming company in the UK.

The first recipient of the bursary is Alex Neason who is in his second year at the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester studying Agriculture and Applied Farm Management.

“Not having a family farm makes it tough to get directly into farming as a producer. I am very fortunate to have won the bursary, but it is important to encourage those who do not have a farming background into the industry to ensure we have the fresh ideas and views we need to thrive.”

Alex Neason



The bursary:

  • Covers course fees and will be paid each term to the successful student
  • Will be awarded on a competitive basis
  • Is only applicable for students taking on a 3 year degree course
  • Is being promoted to six Universities who offer a Crop based degree course

As well as course fee re-imbursement, the successful student will be given the opportunity of working closely with Velcourt, the UKs largest Farm Management Company.

Food & Farming Discovery Trust

F&FDT has been established by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association to communicate and coordinate existing food, farming and countryside activities in Norfolk.  JIF is pleased to support F&FDT in a variety of ways, including the landmark trailer project, aimed at visiting schools around the country to broaden the knowledge of young people of food & farming.

JIF also supports the John Innes Foundation Food & Farming Challenge, a schools competition centred around the Royal Norfolk Show.