By Dr Sandy Knapp FRSB, head of the Plants Division of the Natural History Museum, London
Plant science has a broad reach – from molecules to ecosystems, and from blue skies to near-market research and practical applications. The UKPSF was formed to bring the plant science sector together and to harness the power of our community to map out a future for plant sciences in the UK that ensures its continued growth and innovation, while fostering its key underpinning role in economic growth and helping the nation meet its needs and obligations.
The report UK Plant Science: current status and future challenges, published in 2013, highlighted key areas for community coalescence and innovation. Four working groups were convened to further explore and identify actions in the priority areas of:
1) Training and Skills (chaired by Simon Leather from Harper Adams University)
2) Funding (chaired by Julian Ma from St. George’s Hospital Medical School)
3) Translation (chaired by Belinda Clark from Agri-Tech East)
4) Regulation (chaired by Huw Jones from Rothamsted Research).
Via the UKPSF AGM and UK Plant Sci conference, the working groups have now set the stage for a 10 to 25 year visionary roadmap for UK plant science in their Working Group reports – but it is up to us, the plant science community, to work together to take many of these actions forward. Read the Headline Actions from Working Group reports on the UKPSF blog: All under one leaf. Many of the actions the reports identify involve bringing people together in novel ways to take plant science forward in new directions. So please join in!