Agricultural science in the 21st century - a question of trust


Agricultural science in the 21st century - a question of trust

The role genetically modified (GM) crops should play in the future of UK agricultural science is the subject of a one-day seminar hosted by the scientists’ union Prospect. Chaired by Jeremy Webb, editor of New Scientist, delegates will hear from leading experts from both sides of the GM debate.

They include Chris Pollock, director of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, who will address the issue of a sustainable future for UK farming. Pollock will discuss the implications of the Curry report into UK farming and how the results of the recent farm scale trials of GM crops will impact on its recommendations.

The director of the Elm Farm Research Centre, Lawrence Woodward, will ask if new research needs to be undertaken to meet the needs of organic production or whether the scientific criteria and conventions applied to conventional agriculture are still relevant.

Other speakers include Michael Wilson, chief executive of Horticulture Research International, who will look at the opportunities GM crops offer and question the implications for publicly funded science – and Julie Hill, programme advisor at the Green Alliance, who will discuss the perceptions of consumers and the public.

Prospect represents members working in core Defra and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and key agencies, such as the Rural Development Service, the Forestry Commission, English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the Environment Agency among others.

The seminar, which starts at 10.30, will take place at the Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Lambourn, Berkshire on Wednesday 3 December.