Case Studies & Impacts

We directly address one of the great societal and economic challenges of our time: securing future food supplies using environmentally sustainable crop production

We undertake fundamental research, using model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Antirrhinum, to understand how the growth and development of plants is influenced by their environment.

This knowledge is translated to wheat and brassicas, both commercially important crops, to influence productivity traits including grain size, yield and vigour.

We focus on understanding how temperature influences crop productivity as climate scenarios predict a global mean increase in temperature of 2°C and more frequent climatic extremes that are predicted to reduce crop productivity dramatically.

The outcomes of our research will support crop breeding and agricultural biotechnology industries directly and accelerate the pace and precision of technology uptake in agriculture and academia.

Our discoveries will have a major impact on how food crops of the future are produced, both in the UK and globally.

Through collaborative projects with both academia and industry we apply our knowledge of the genetic mechanisms underpinning diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being. Partnerships with key stakeholders across the supply chain ensure that we target agronomic and economically important traits and guarantee our results are effectively communicated to the breeder, grower, retail market and consumers.

We help to promote evidence-based legislation based on well-informed decision making by providing up-to-date information and advice to policy makers.

We participate in a variety of public engagement activities across a range of different platforms, including public dissemination and engagement events, television and radio interviews and social media.  These activities enable us to continue to engage in the ongoing public dialogue to understand concerns about our work and how the outcomes of our work benefit different stakeholders. Feedback from public engagement is reflected in our research planning and activities to ensure GEN research is aligned with public expectations.

Securing high-quality human capital for tackling problems in food security and environmental sustainability is a key social impact.  We develop all stages of research careers from educating and inspiring school students through science camps to undergraduate research programmes. Between 2017-2022 we anticipate training 20 MSc students, 50 PhD students and 80 post-docs in GEN.