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Help to shape the future of plant science

Press release issued: 5 March 2009

How can plant scientists change the world? Three academics in the School of Biological Sciences have launched a campaign to find out – and you can help. You might even make it into the Top Ten!

For a quick tour of plant science, watch this video produced by the Botanical Society of America

Dr Claire Grierson, Dr Ruth Bastow (co-ordinator of the UK Plant Science Network GARNet) and Professor Keith Edwards have set up 100 Plant Science Questions to find the 100 most important questions facing plant science – a field with much wider applications than many people realise.

‘Looking at how plants work is helping us to find fresh approaches to all kinds of problems, from clean energy to waste management to medical innovations’, says Dr Grierson. ‘We want to keep finding fresh questions and possibilities, and get people with different interests and areas of expertise talking to each other. We also want to get a sense of what the most urgent and important scientific questions are, and how they can be addressed.’

Anyone is welcome to contribute, including members of the general public. Questions have already been submitted by people who work in farming, plant breeding, plant and crop science, and journalism, but Dr Grierson and her colleagues are certain that ‘there are many more questions out there’, especially from members of the agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries; charities; policy makers; food, fibre, fuel and pharmaceutical industries; funding bodies; and researchers. ‘But you don’t have to be in any of these groups to make a valuable contribution,’ adds Dr Grierson.

You can send questions via the 100 Plant Science Questions website until the end of March 2009. You can choose to be credited or anonymous. The panel will select a final list of 100 questions in April and will also draw up a Top Ten. This will inform scientific, political and social agendas in the coming years.


Further information

Please contact Dr Claire Grierson for further information.
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