Control of the bluetongue virus, a synthetic vaccine against Foot and Mouth disease, and wheat genome sequencing are just some of the ground-breaking discoveries of the last 80 years that are showcased in a new Research Councils UK (RCUK) timeline, published today (Monday 22 July) alongside the government’s agri-tech industrial strategy.
Growing with agri-science highlights the exciting research that has taken place since the 1940s, demonstrating the variety of approaches the Research Councils take to support innovation and deliver long-term impact from the research they fund.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The UK has a proud history of world-class agricultural science, supported by excellent institutes like Rothamsted.
We now need to bring this together with business to take research from lab to
marketplace and develop the latest technologies. That is why the Agricultural
Technologies Strategy will deliver benefits for farmers, improve food production
and drive growth.”
Today, Research Council investment in agricultural technology and innovation directly supports a farming system with tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees and underpins the food and drink sector – the UK’s single largest manufacturing sector. Research Councils’ support is playing a crucial role in helping the world’s growing population to understand and meet the food security challenge.
The impact of research is realised through the combination of several investments over time. The Research Councils seek to ensure that the outputs and outcomes of their funded research have significant long-term benefits for the economy and society. This timeline, one of a series, highlights how investments made in research over the long-term combine to create a significant impact in particular areas. In addition, research in one area can combine with that from another to drive innovation and provide a key contribution to UK growth.
For example, funding for long-term experiments at Rothamsted Research has generated data that not only provides information on yield output under differing conditions and farming inputs but also insight into the impact of years of air pollution, historic nuclear tests and changing practices on our crops and environment.
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Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Katie Clark
Notes to editors
All RCUK timelines are available at:
The Government's Agricultural Technologies Strategy is available here:
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations. www.rcuk.ac.uk.
The seven UK Research Councils are:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
- Medical Research Council (MRC);
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
- Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).