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Plant science

Copyright: IBERS

Healthy plants, including crops and trees, are vital for our future. They are fundamental to our food, environment, economy and social wellbeing.

Which five plants provide 60% of human food-energy needs? How many trees are there on the planet? Find out the answer to these and other plant questions with our Plant Power infographic.

Plant scientists are finding innovative ways to try to solve some of our biggest challenges, such as protecting our forests, finding new fuel sources, cleaning up contamination and ensuring that we have enough food for a growing population.

Last year, BBSRC invested nearly £87M in the best UK plant science to help address these challenges and many others.

Our plant science funding covers a range of important topics, including: crop breeding; the study of crop diseases and insect pests; pollinators; soil-plant interactions, using plants for the pharmaceutical industry; non-food crops (such as willow); improving our understanding of plants or plant cells, and other (non-plant) photosynthetic organisms (such as seaweeds, mosses and ferns).

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Social and ethical implications of plant science

BBSRC funds a range of plant science. While technological fixes will not solve all of the challenges that face society, science can contribute to solutions that benefit society and the economy. As with all of our funded research, we require the research community to consider the social and ethical implications of their research in their application for funding and BBSRC is actively involved in engagement and debate with the public and others about the science that we fund.

Our top 10 funded institutions for plant sciences are: