Engagement & Outreach

The Germplasm Resources Unit (GRU) takes to the road to promote its activities and collections. Below is a selection of recent events in which we have participated. Plans for future events will be posted as they are confirmed and emailed out to interested parties via our mailing list (subscribe now).

2017 Calendar;

April 23 – 28th 13th International Wheat Genetics Symposium, Tulln, Austria

April 4 – 6th Monogram 2017 network meeting, Bristol

January 27th Sharing nature’s genetic resources – implementing the Nagoya protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Workshop, Event organised by Higher Value Chemicals from Plants (HVCfP). Islington, London


2016 Calendar;

November 11th International Year of Pulses, Agri-Tech Week event, Rothamsted Research, Harpendon

October 19th Science Café: UN International Year of Pulses. This event is part of the Norwich Science Festival 2016, The Birdcage, Norwich

August 13th Politics of Food event 'Seeds of Time', E5 Bakhouse, London Fields, London

June 13- 14th Cereals Event. part of BBSRC/ RRes/ JIC Stand. Heritage cereals and pea diversity demonstrations on the Velcourt stand

June 9th JIC Breeders Day. GRU willfeaure at the Heritage Cereals plots and puls Crops display linked to the UN International Year of Pulses

April 12 - 14th Monogram meeting 2016, Claire College, Cambridge

April 11th Plant Sci UK 2016 meeting, JIC

March 31st Science Café: UN International Year of Pulses, The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk


2015 Calendar;

July 22nd Field Lab -Growing heritage thatching wheat varieties. Wakelyns Agroforestry

June 15 - 16th National Institutes of Bioscience Conference 2015. Rothamsted Research

June 10 -11th Cereals Event; Part of the BBSRC/ RRes / JIC stand

April 29 - 1 May Monogram Meeting. Rothamsted Research

April 14 -15th UK PlantSci Meeting. Harper Adams University


UK plant science meeting


BSA FEstival

Organisation: Agri-food section of the British Science Association
Format: 2 hour panel discussions. Short presentations from experts will be followed by discussion with the audience. Interactive voting will be used throughout the evening, via an electronic voting system.

Modern farming cultivates an ever-shrinking range of crop and livestock varieties.  The genetic diversity in our agriculture is being eroded, just when we need it most. Climate change is increasing the exposure of farmland to drought and floods and raising the threat from pests and diseases. Without a wide range of plant and animal traits, breeders won’t be able to create new varieties that are resilient to these new conditions. This session will consider the steps that are being taken to conserve agricultural biodiversity, using: seed vaults, frozen embryos, fast-track plant breeding, and a search for wild relatives.

15.30-15.40 Patrick Middleton, Head of Public Engagement, BBSRC
Introduction from the chair

15.40-16.00 Professor Dianna Bowles, President of the Agri-food section, British Science Association and Chair of the Sheep Trust
Farm animal genetic resources : protecting the diversity of sheep breeds 

16.00-16.20 Mike Ambrose, Manager of the Germplasm Resources Unit at the John Innes Centre
The role of the Germplasm Resource Unit in the conservation of the UK’s major food crops and their wild relatives.

16.20-16.40 Dr Sviatlana Trybush, Rothamsted Research
“The diversity of willows (Salix) and their uses: past, present and future”

16.40-17.00 Niall Green, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA)
Conservation and Characterisation of Crop Plants in the Seed and Tuber Collections at SASA

17.00-17.30 Discussion and voting 


NIAB Innovation Farm


Diversity into industry – 26th July 2012
An interactive event focussing on sources of genetic diversity in cereals for exploitation in industry