TheBritish Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) is backing calls for a doubling of UKplant science research funding to help deliver the step-change improvements incrop yields, climate resilience and disease resistance needed to meet futurefood security and sustainable development goals.
Areport issued today by the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF) into thecurrent status and future challenges for the UK plant science sector suggeststhat while the UK is internationally recognised for its excellence in plantscience, there is unmet potential to unlock the commercial and economic impactof current research.
Thereport calls for a doubling of public sector investment in UK plant science,with a more stable balance between basic and applied research and greateremphasis on translating research outputs into commercial applications throughmore effective public-private partnerships.
TheUKPSF report also highlights the need to inspire, educate and recruit a newgeneration of UK plant scientists, and calls on policy-makers to ensure ascience-based and enabling regulatory framework for innovative plant sciencetechnologies such as GM.
Welcomingthe UKPSF report, BSPB chairman Dr Richard Summers said:
Thisreport recognises the critical role of the commercial plant breeding and seedssector as the route to market for much of the plant science research takingplace in UK research institutes and universities.
Inparticular, it highlights the strategic need to support a functioning cropimprovement pipeline, balancing long-term investment in basic and applied plantscience to ensure that new knowledge and discoveries are translated intomarket-ready traits, germplasm and breeding tools.
Inrecent years, BSPB has highlighted similar concerns over the widening gapbetween public sector research and its relevance or accessibility to commercialplant breeders.
Asthe UK Governments Agri-Tech Strategy targets opportunities for economicgrowth in the UK agri-science sector, the UKPSF report provides a policyblueprint to unlock the potential of the UK plant science sector byaccelerating the transfer of research into practical application and buildingstronger links between the science base and industry, concluded Dr Summers.