Healthy Plants – Healthy People – Healthy Planet

A future vision delivering solutions to global challenges.

Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet or HP³ is an ambitious vision to secure a safer, healthier and more sustainable future through the power of plant and microbial science.

HP3 is a vision unveiled by the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory. The vision outlines a revolution in plant and microbial sciences, integrating advances in genetics, genomics, structural biology, live cell imaging and computational biology leading to new levels of understanding.  This will strengthen the position of the UK as a global leader in plant and microbial science.

HP3 addresses three critical challenges facing the planet which must be addressed in a rapidly closing window of time.

These are:

  • Feeding the world – by sustainably increasing crop yields
  • Combatting global health threats – such as antimicrobial resistance and viral pandemics
  • Meeting the challenge of climate change – developing crops resilient to environmental fluctuations and requiring inputs that are low carbon

Professor Dale Sanders FRS, Director of the John Innes Centre explains why this vision is so important: “HP3 is an ambitious, collaborative call to action to start to provide the solutions so desperately needed in a world with a rapidly changing climate, facing massive losses in biodiversity, a growing global population to feed and the urgent need to decarbonise agricultural practices. All of these challenges require science to play a critical role in delivering solutions.”

These two world-leading research institutes are building a case for capital investment in cutting-edge, future-proofed facilities that will create a UK hub for plant and microbial research to supercharge national ability to translate scientific knowledge into practical solutions.

Investment in a new estate to replace buildings established in the 1960s will revolutionise the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory’s capabilities and thus maximise the potential benefits of research.

Professor Sanders continues: “We are living through a stark demonstration of our collective vulnerability. The current COVID-19 crisis tells us that our world is more interconnected than we had ever realised. The next global threat could emerge in the form of a crop pathogen, or a human pathogen resistant to current antimicrobial treatment, putting our food security and health at enormous risk.”

The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory are working with UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to develop the case for investment in the new infrastructure, and they are seeking private capital investment alongside public funding to realise their ambitious scientific vision.

Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, Professor Nick Talbot FRS said: “Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet is a strategy that will allow us to supercharge our capability in the UK, providing an un-paralleled understanding of the world’s most important crops, enabling us to grow food productively and sustainably.  If we are to feed the world’s growing population in a sustainable way, we will need to revolutionize our agriculture.  HP3 enables us to generate scientific understanding to make this a reality”

This vision for a UK hub to unite the UK’s capability in plant and microbial science and to open up our research infrastructure to more researchers, universities and collaborators is an exciting step change in the capabilities and ways of working in this field.”

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