Mike Turnbull ORC

Mike Turnbull

The Organic Research Centre has relocated to Trent Lodge in Cirencester as part of a new three-year strategy.

Now in its 40th year, the ORC is focused on organic sector scientific excellence and knowledge exchange.

The move follows a rethink of the charity’s business model since the departure of longstanding chief executive Nic Lampkin last year. The organisation said the decision was made to sell the ORC’s previous headquarters, Elm Farm near Newbury, with the proceeds providing 'long-term stability, a source of investment income for core funding, and scope to invest in the organisation for the future.'

The new premises are situated next to the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), which ORC said would help boost its industry relations and collaborative activities, as well as providing a base for research.

“We see this relocation as a great opportunity to enhance the ORC’s strategic links and positioning,” said ORC chairman Mike Turnbull. “The majority of staff are moving with us and the team will be led by our new CEO, Lucy MacLennan. The ORC’s status as an independent charity won’t change.”

Turnbull said the new three-year business plan will build on the ORC’s strength in combining scientific excellence with practical experience to deliver real benefits on the ground.

“A key part of the strategy is a change in our approach to securing contract funding, while maintaining our unique way of delivering research using participatory methods,' he explained.

“Rather than reactively responding to bidding opportunities, we intend to prioritise areas of research and knowledge exchange that play to our strengths and develop pilot projects in these areas in advance of making bids for external funding.

“A benefit will be greater control of the research agenda and less reliance on opportunities that funders happen to favour, although there’s a place for the latter as well, provided the work we bid for fits with our strengths. We’ll be investing some of the proceeds from the Elm Farm sale as ‘seed funding’ over the next two years to support the change.”