0 UK could fall behind without investment in plant science

Science Live 055A funding shortfall is threatening the UK's position as a world leader in plant science, a new report has claimed.

Researchers from the UK Plant Sciences Federation said the industry played a vital role in guaranteeing food security, coping with the threats from climate change, protecting biodiversity, and improving human health.

However, they claim a lack of investment in the industry coupled with a skills shortage could be detrimental to the industry if the gloomy trend is not addressed soon.

The report calls for a doubling of investment in UK plant science, which currently receives less than four per cent of public research funding.

Professor Jim Beynon, Chair of the UK Plant Sciences Federation, said: "Without critical investment in plant science research, its application and training of specialists, we simply won't have the capacity to tackle these issues successfully."

The report is the first ever assessment of UK plant science.

It is based on a year of consultation, in which the UK Plant Sciences Federation heard from over 300 individuals and organisations from the UK plant science community.

"UK plant science delivers enormous international prestige and influence despite being under-resourced," added Prof Beynon.

"The global impact of UK plant science research is something of which we can be extremely proud, but continuation of our strong position is far from assured.

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