The GRO programme focuses on understanding and using key biological processes that limit crop plant yield.

Our distinctive blend of research activities seeks to identify genes controlling growth and development and to understand their functions. This approach has helped us gain new insights and create new resources aimed at achieving sustainable yield increases in crops. 

The overarching goal of the GRO programme is to ensure our knowledge, skills and inventions are used to achieve yield increases in key global crops such as wheat and oilseed rape in economically and ecologically sustainable ways.

The benefits of GRO research are being realised through five impact pathways and focused training activities. In these we are engaging with the plant breeding and agricultural biotechnology industries to develop resources including germplasm, genetic variation and genes for traits, and establish technologies such as transformation and genomics for crop improvement. 

We also engage with more diverse beneficiaries to train researchers, and to disseminate new discoveries and resources, concepts and approaches for understanding crop yield and plant biology. 

Ultimately, our activities will impact producers, who will benefit from new varieties with added value, and consumers who will benefit from more stable and affordable food prices, healthier products and an ecologically sustainable agricultural production. 

To learn more about the wider impact of JIC, and our integrated strategy on Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation, visit Our Impact

We are delivering new wheat and Brassica germplasm, characterized genes and variation, and genetic markers increasing yield and yield stability to industry and other users throughout the programme. 

We are promoting early access to these resources through regular meetings with the Genetic Improvement Networks, Crop Improvement Club, the British Society of Plant Breeders, and annual open days, such as the national Cereals event and John Innes Centre open days, and Monogram Network meetings. 

Internationally CIMMYT is directly involved. This engagement will be complemented by the multiple LINK projects being coordinated by GRO scientists as well as multiple on-going collaborations.

We are extending our links to breeders and the agricultural biotechnology industries to facilitate the use of genomics-led wheat breeding through the open and direct provision of datasets, advanced bioinformatics resources, advice and training. 

These provisions the potential to accelerate the breeding cycle and also influence many programmes in wheat trait analysis as the tools and resources developed are powerful, unique and freely available worldwide.

GRO scientists are enhancing future research capacity through structured training programmes and educational events, with beneficiaries ranging from primary schools to university students and industrial researchers. 

Two GRO scientists are also school governors with knowledge of the promotion and delivery of science education for female students. 

There are concerns, notably regarding Genetic Modification, that limit the effectiveness of plant research on agricultural biotechnology in the UK and Europe. 

We are aiming to ensure new technologies such as induced variation are well understood, and we are exploring the potential of re-framing these issues through fresh engagement, and to contribute to knowledge exchange and policy development.

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