While we tie up the final plans for this year’s UK PlantSci meeting, I thought I would share a sneak preview of what’s in store for the second annual conference of the UK Plant Sciences Federation, taking place at the University of Dundee next month.
The theme of the meeting will be “Plant Science in a Changing World”, featuring two keynote speakers who will set the scene for discussions on how plant sciences can help to address global sustainability issues such as food security, climate change and conserving biodiversity.
Professor Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford, will open the conference with a speech titled “Feeding 10 Billion People on a Finite Planet”. Professor Godfray’s research interests include how the global food system will need to change and adapt to the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, and in particular the concept of sustainable intensification, and the relationship between food production, ecosystems services and biodiversity.
We are also very pleased to welcome Professor Sir David Baulcombe, Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge, as the second keynote lecturer. Sir David’s research programme focuses on understanding disease resistance in plants and the development of approaches for artificial evolution of disease resistance genes. He also chaired the working group which produced the policy report for the Royal Society, “Reaping the benefits: Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture”.
The conference will include sessions on Ecology, Environment and the Biosphere; Adapting to Environments; Plant Protection and Defence; Biology to Benefit Society; and Plants as Producers. There will also be a session on “Inspiring Future Generations” as well as a stand dedicated to education, outreach and careers resources.
This broad selection of themes aims to demonstrate the importance and diversity of plant sciences in the UK, to highlight our strengths and illustrate where we can work best together. By bringing together the spectrum of UK plant scientists represented by academia, industry, education and outreach, this conference provides an exclusive opportunity for delegates to meet with a range of plant scientists outside of usual networks. Delegates at the inaugural UK PlantSci conference last year reported an overwhelming consensus on the value of this approach.
If you haven’t yet registered for the meeting, you can do so up until 26th March. The deadline for abstract submission is 12th March. For more details see www.plantsci2013.org.uk.