The Organic Research Centre (ORC) will begin its 40th year in its new headquarters in Cirencester.

The new facilities are situated next to the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), which the organisation hopes will boost its industry relations and collaborative activities, as well as providing a base for new research.

Mike Turnbull, chairman at the ORC, said: “We see this relocation as a great opportunity to enhance the ORC’s strategic links and positioning. 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.”

The decision was made to sell the ORC’s previous headquarters, Elm Farm near Newbury, following a rethink of the charity’s business model since the departure of long-standing CEO Nic Lampkin last year.

Turnbull says the new three-year business plan builds on the ORC’s unique 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,” said Turnbull.

“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.”