The Genes in the Environment ISP has been designed to directly address one of the great societal and economic challenges of our time: securing future food supplies using environmentally sustainable crop production.
There is a tight time frame for achieving an effective impact on food production, as both predicted human population increases and global climate changes are due to coincide during the next 20-50 years to create an unprecedented global challenge.
Our research plan focusses on productivity traits in two globally important crops: wheat and brassica. We will 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 the crop breeding and agricultural biotechnology industries directly and accelerate the pace and precision of technology uptake in agriculture and academia. A key part of our plan is to ensure that our research and the associated resources we develop are distributed effectively in useful forms.
Our discoveries will have a major impact on how food crops of the future are produced, both in the UK and globally.
Explore the three tabs below to learn more about our societal impact through Partnerships, Public Engagement and Training:
GEN researchers contribute to and lead partnerships that are essential to achieve the full commercial and academic impact of our research, including:
1. Joint activities with public-good and commercial crop improvement organisations, including interactions with breeders and agricultural biotechnological industries.
2. Working with National Programmes and Coordinating Networks that coordinate plant science and promote genetics and basic research in the UK.
3. Working with International Programmes and Centres contributing to solving key issues of sustainable agriculture and food security by engagement with international research alliances and planning activities.
4. Developing specialist databases and advanced bioinformatics resources to support wheat and Brassica improvement.
The introduction of new technologies into food production has had limited success in Europe.
To address this issue GEN scientists participate in various public dissemination activities to enhance the understanding of relevant science and continue to engage in the ongoing public dialog to understand public 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.
We also provide up to date information and advice to policy makers to help promote evidence-based legislation based on well-informed decision making.
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 school students through summer camps and practical lab placements, to offering undergraduate research programmes such as the Nuffield Scheme. Between 2017-2022 we anticipate training 20 MSc students, 50 PhD students and 80 post-docs in GEN.
GEN researchers provide annual specialized under- and post-graduate training to students at UEA and from other national and international institutions through lecture courses, summer schools and workshops.