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Entomology expert to lead new plant science group

Posted 6 June 2014

Professor Simon Leather

An expert in entomology at Harper Adams University is to help address the challenges within UK plant science, by leading a new working group dedicated to training and skills.

In January, the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF) published a report that identified strategic priorities and recommendations for UK plant science. This has led to the formation of four working groups.

Professor Simon Leather, Professor of Entomology at Harper Adams, has been appointed as the Chair of the Training and Skills Working Group, ensuring that the team behind it fulfils its deliverables within the given timeframe.

As part of this, the group will develop an implementation plan for the UKPSF and plant science community, which will form the basis of the UKPSF’s forward plan for the following 12-months and contribute to longer term objectives.

Professor Leather said: “I am honoured and pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to the UKPSF’s mission to restore plant science teaching, including plant nematology, entomology and plant pathology, to their rightful place in the higher education curriculum. 

“Although we here at Harper Adams University offer these subjects, we are almost alone in the UK to do so. It is very worrying that these disciplines are taught at so few other universities in the UK. 

“Hopefully the Working Group will be able to provide viable solutions to the very serious lack of training in this area in order for the UK to be able to cope with the growing food security issues facing us in the coming years.”

As well as the Training and Skills Working Group, teams have also been formed to address areas relating to translation, funding and regulation.

The UKPSF report, UK Plant Science: Current status and future challenges is available to download here.

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