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Uni Week 2014: Nurturing new plant scientists

Posted 11 June 2014

Harper Adams University is encouraging young people to make plant science their future, and hopes that a new postgraduate degree course in the subject will give the area a much needed boost.

The skills gap in plant pathology was highlighted by a House of Commons Select Committee earlier this year, recognising the need for more plant scientists to prevent disease outbreaks.

Harper Adams is now preparing to welcome the first intake of students on the UK’s only dedicated masters-level programme in plant pathology.

Professor of Plant Pathology, Professor Simon Edwards, said: “There is a shortage of expertise in this important topic, which is a key element in the effort to ensure global food security and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“By completing the course, students will develop a range of abilities that will prepare them for an interesting and fulfilling career in an area with many opportunities.”

A recent report by MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee acknowledged the need for such courses. It called on government to increase the number of university courses and research posts available in the field of plant health in order to secure new entrants.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Mills, added: “This report identified the lack of plant scientists available to conduct vital research, but here at Harper Adams, we are committed to addressing these skills gaps.”

 

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