New Crop Science Centre Opens in Cambridge to Sustainably Improve Farmers Yields Worldwide

Image credit: Paul Evans/University of Cambridge

A new crop science centre, which hopes to sustainably improve farmers’ yields worldwide by translating research, has been opened in Cambridge.

A tie-up between the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences and the crop research organisation NIAB, the new facility is designed to fast track the development and sharing of technologies, as well as serve as a global hub for crop science research.

Collaborations with research partners around the world are planned so that the research conducted at the new Cambridge crop science centre will have a positive impact on agriculture globally. The focus of the state-of-the-art facility, which is located at NIAB’s Lawrence Weaver Road campus in the north-west of Cambridge, will be on reducing agricultural reliance on inorganic fertilisers while maximising crop productivity — particularly for the world’s poorest farmers. It will use an understanding of how plants work at the most fundamental level to drive transformative change in how food is grown.

Professor Giles Oldroyd, Russell R Geiger professor of Crop Science at the University of Cambridge, will lead the new centre as its inaugural director.

Speaking about the development, he said: “This year we have seen how fragile our global systems are. The Covid-19 crisis is exposing another 120 million people to starvation worldwide, while crop yields here in the UK are suffering from changes in our climate.

“We need lasting solutions for stable and secure food production, but also need to improve sustainability in agriculture. We are excited to be opening this new centre, which can drive the transformative change we so desperately need.”

Private donations from the late Russell R Geiger and Robert and Susan Cawthorn helped to establish the centre, alongside donations from NIAB and the Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association (CUPGRA).

The centre opened its doors on Thursday 1st October.

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