Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Plant science panel partners
The Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council is the principal public funder of plant science in the UK. Much of the research we fund in this area is focused on challenges relevant to food production such as: enhancing crop productivity and quality, with optimised efficiency of resource use (water, energy, chemical inputs); enhanced nutritional composition; increasing sustainability of crop production, preserving biodiversity and other ecosystem services (e.g. by exploring the potential for nitrogen fixation and improved efficiency of photosynthesis); understanding and exploiting genomics and the genetic diversity of plants (including crop breeding).
The Biochemical Society promotes the advancement of the molecular biosciences, representing the interests of all those working in and around the sector. The Society's activities support the development of individual and collective understanding of biochemistry including debates surrounding genetically modified crops, synthetic biology and other existing and emerging issues. We also support other organisations and groups who are involved in encouraging an open discussion of the issues. The Biochemical Society is one of four owner societies working together at Charles Darwin House to unify and strengthen the voice of biology.
The Genetics Society was founded by William Bateson in 1919 and is one of the oldest "learned societies" devoted to Genetics in the world. Its membership of over 1700 consists of most of the UK's active geneticists, including academics, researchers and students. It is a registered charity, and organises meetings to promulgate genetics, supports students to attend meetings, sponsors research through fieldwork grants and student bursaries, and promotes the Public Understanding of Genetics.
The Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) is the leading qualifying body for food professionals in Europe and the only professional food body in the UK concerned with all aspects of food science and technology. As such the IFST is passionate about engaging food professionals, recognising standards, growing skills and influencing debate on subjects relating to food science and technology. We achieve this by organising lectures, seminars and networking events; providing professional recognition at all levels; working with students to actively encourage them to engage with food science and technology and, most importantly, bringing together the knowledge of our members to offer balanced and informative scientific statements on food-related issues. Our members cover all aspects of food from manufacturing, retailing, and R&D to academia and enforcement.
The Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London is one of the largest groups of its kind in Europe, with world-leading activity across a broad range of research themes. Research in plant sciences spans several of these themes, with major interests in developmental biology such as mechanisms regulating regeneration, fungal infection, and the Artificial Leaf Project, aimed at developing catalytic systems which harness solar energy to produce chemical fuels.
The James Hutton Institute takes its name from the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment scientist, James Hutton, who is widely regarded as the founder of modern geology and who was also an experimental farmer and agronomist. Three of our research themes are directly related to plant science: Enhancing Crop Productivity and Utilisation, for which we deploy advances in genomics, genetics, natural product chemistry, pathology and related disciplines to capture value from the functional diversity present in diverse germplasm collections to produce next generation crops which meet the challenges; Delivering Sustainable Production Systems, for which we produce higher yielding and lower input crop varieties for specific environments, assess farming impacts on the health of soil and ecosystems and investigate social, economic and environmental drivers that affect the farming sector; and Controlling Weeds, Pests and Diseases for which we use an increased understanding of pathogen genomics, comparative genomics and epidemiology to develop strategies for sustainable control of damaging pests and diseases.
The John Innes Centre is an independent centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology. Our strategy is to translate research in yield and quality in crop plants, the use of microbial and plant products to promote human health and the use of plants and microbes in biotechnology. A central principle of our research is the use of genetics, and we use novel genetic approaches, including genetic modification, to generate new varieties and strains of plants and microbes that can be used to further knowledge and apply modern biotechnology to agriculture in an environmentally sustainable way. Our main areas of research focus on growth underpinning yield in plants, biotic interactions of plants, wheat improvement and plant and microbial metabolism. Our expertise spans genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, computational biology and bioimaging.
Rothamsted Research is the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for around 170 years. Its mission is to deliver knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity, quality, and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production. Its strength lies in the integrated and multidisciplinary approach to research in plant and soil science through international collaboration. Rothamsted integrates biotechnology with other areas of science such as agronomy and agro-ecology so both existing and new knowledge can be implemented through agricultural practice. At the heart of Rothamsted's work is a customer focus with a need to provide the knowledge and innovation to policymakers, manufacturers and most importantly the farming community who are integral to delivering sustainable food security. This strategy therefore combines its mid-19th century traditions with 21st century vision.
The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) is a research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation. The aim of the Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development. There is now both a pressing need and an unprecedented opportunity to obtain an integrated understanding of plant development drawing on molecular, cellular, whole plant, and population biology, with computational and mathematical modelling to elucidate how plants are constructed. SLCU is capitalising on these opportunities through a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to plant science research.
The Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) is an international learned society with 2000 plant, animal and cell scientist members worldwide. We offer support to our members and the bioscience community through our scientific conferences, travel grants and achievement awards, education, training, careers advice and information.
The Society for General Microbiology (SGM) is a professional body for scientists who work in all areas of microbiology. It is the largest learned microbiological society in Europe with expert members in the UK and abroad, who are based in universities, industry, hospitals and research institutes. The SGM is a publisher of key academic journals in microbiology and virology and an event manager of international scientific meetings. An important function of the Society is promoting the understanding of microbiology to key stakeholders including policy-makers, students, teachers and the wider public.
The Society of Biology is the leading professional body for biologists in the UK. This means we are uniquely placed to represent all areas of the biosciences – on behalf of our members – to the public and media, while engaging and encouraging interest in the life sciences and providing Government and other policy makers with authoritative, independent, and evidence-based opinion, representative of the widest range of bioscience disciplines. With plant science currently facing the challenges of climate change and food and energy insecurity, we are pleased to host the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF) as a Special Interest Group, providing a single unified voice for the UK plant science community.
The UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF) is a Special Interest Group of the Society of Biology which brings together 30 member organisations from across the breadth of UK plant sciences to provide a coordinated approach to research, industry, education and outreach. We work with our membership and others to create a forum for debate that is independent and inclusive, to increase the understanding of the significance of plant sciences amongst government, funders and society in general, and inform policy development. The UKPSF supports efforts to inspire, educate and train the next generation of plant and crop scientists, and to improve the funding environment for plant science research.
The School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick is an international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary bioscience research and training, supported by state-of-the-art research facilities. Our research profile is defined by six major research themes: Food Security, Molecular and Cell Systems, Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology, Development, Environment, and Infection Biology. Research in plant science spans all of these themes, and we have particular expertise in plant genetics and development, plant-pathogen interactions, systems biology analysis of stress responses, and root-microbe interactions. Warwick Crop Centre, which is part of the School of Life Sciences, offers world class science expertise and specialist facilities for applied crop research, and engages in knowledge exchange with Government, levy bodies and industry.