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Boost for UK soil science research

30 June 2005

Soil science in the UK has been given a boost with the announcement by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of Professor Keith Goulding as Programme Manager for a newly created cross-institute programme in sustainable soil function. This new programme brings together research at two BBSRC-sponsored institutes and includes work previously undertaken at Silsoe Research Institute, with the aim of developing multidisciplinary approaches and expanding expertise in this key area.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said, “The new integrated programme will help to develop the UK knowledge base in fundamental soil science and create the integrated approach to soil science which the Biotechnology Commission recommended was needed for the area to thrive.”

Professor Goulding said, “The immediate aim of the new programme is to bring together biologists, mathematicians and physicists to expand the UK’s world-class soil science research. We need to develop the skills, resources and infrastructure needed to make sure that the UK is well placed to cope with challenges such as climate change, changing land use and able to meet environmental regulations.”

The new programme will feature at BBSRC’s exhibit at this year’s Royal Show. The theme of the exhibit, in the Global Partners Pavilion, is measure and managing soil quality, including soil fertility, drainage and modelling pest control. The Royal Show is at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LZ, 3-6 July.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The position of Programme Manager was advertised in Nature

Professor Goulding is currently Head of the Agriculture and Environment Division and Programme Leader of the Biogeochemical Cycling Programme at Rothamsted Research.

Professor Goulding joined Rothamsted Research in 1974 after studying soil chemistry at the University of Reading.

Professor Goulding is a former winner of the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s Research Medal, receiving the award in 2003.

Images are available on request.

The Cross-Institute Programme in Sustainable Soil Science includes researchers from Rothamsted Research, the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) and research groups moving from Silsoe Research Institute.

The recommendation on soil science was made by the Biotechnology Commission in What shapes the research agenda? In agricultural biology, AEBC, April 2005, p.7.

The Royal Show takes place from 3-6 July 2005 at Stoneleigh Park, near Kenilworth in Warwickshire. To find out more and book tickets online visit the website at http://www.royalshow.org.uk

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

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Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

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