The University of Warwick is contributing to scientific efforts to ensure the world can feed its growing population with the creation of a new £5 million research centre.
As part of a new strategy to develop its plant and crop research, the university’s School of Life Sciences has unveiled plans to build state-of-the-art glasshouses and controlled environment facilities at its Coventry campus.
The two-storey 1,200 sq metre phytobiology facility, to be completed in 2013, will be used for research looking at areas such as resistance to pests and diseases, how plants cope with environmental stress and the mechanisms behind plant reproduction.
The university was recently named as a strategic partner of funding body the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which has seen closer cooperation between the two organisations on the issue of global food security.
University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said: “Food security is a research priority for the University of Warwick as the world faces up to the challenge of feeding its growing population against a backdrop of diminishing resources and uncertainty around climate change.
“As a university we intend to rise to our part of that challenge and this £5 million investment sends a clear signal of how serious we are about this.”
The investment forms part of a new integrated vision for plant and crop science at the School of Life Sciences’ two sites at Gibbet Hill and Wellesbourne.
Head of the School of Life Sciences Professor John McCarthy said: “Warwick is already playing a leading role in research into the crops and plants that will enable us to put food on the table for future generations.
“This new £5 million investment will allow a more integrated approach within the university by better supporting a research community of more than 80 scientists all working to improve the security of the global food chain.”
The Wellesbourne site will remain home to the Warwick Crop Centre, which will continue to focus on crop development work.
It is also home to the Genetic Resource Unit, an international resource of genetic diversity for horticulture crops.