Translating basic plant science into products of value to farmers and consumers was the central theme of a recent parliamentary fact-finding visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, in Cambridge.
Members of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, led by the Group’s chairman David Kidney MP, toured field trials and new laboratory facilities, and heard how NIAB is leading research to help boost crop yields and cope with the effects of climate change.
Mr Kidney said: “NIAB has got some of the best scientists in the world doing research here and they deserve support from politicians and decision makers in the work that they do. We want to see the country capitalise from the benefits of their research. That’s something I feel very passionately that we should be doing something about in parliament, to support the translation of scientific research into products that are beneficial to society.”
The parliamentary group was formed earlier this year to provide a new forum to debate and highlight the value of scientific research and innovation in 21st century agriculture.
Mr Kidney added: “The group will be debating, studying and then promoting policies to help strengthen the science base that helps keep British agriculture competitive. That includes the essential role of research organisations like NIAB in converting pure research into commercially relevant crops and products.”
“We think we can engage with ministers, civil servants and decision makers in ways that will support the aims that we discussed today.”
Professor Wayne Powell, NIAB Director, said: “We are seeing a renewed interest in agricultural research, driven by concerns over global population growth, food security and climate change. NIAB has responded to the new agenda by bringing together a team of world-class scientists, and we were delighted to welcome the All-Party Group to demonstrate how NIAB is ideally placed to help transform today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s commercial crops.”
Further information is available from Dr Tina Barsby or press consultant Ellee Seymour on 01353 648564, or 07939 811961.
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