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FREE Event: Developing Crops and Systems to Meet Future Food demands |  Rob Hancock
FREE Event: Developing Crops and Systems to Meet Future Food demands |  Rob Hancock

Sat, 10 Sept


Loaningdale House

FREE Event: Developing Crops and Systems to Meet Future Food demands | Rob Hancock

With the extreme pressures that Climate Change and water shortages are already putting on food production across the World, and a Global population projected to be 9.7 billion by 2050, we will need a step change in how food crops are produced.

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Time & Location

10 Sept 2022, 15:00 – 15:30

Loaningdale House

About the event

Rob will address these issues and explain what he and his colleagues are doing at the Hutton Institute to take advantage of genetic diversity to produce more environmentally resilient and high yielding crops while optimising farming systems and crop management to produce more with less.

In this talk he will discuss how we can use controlled environments that allow us to replicate global current and future environments to assess genetic diversity and identify sources of resilience. To achieve this at scale requires systems that allow the rapid identification of resilient genotypes using high-throughput imaging technologies that provide information underlying mechanisms of environmental stress resistance. By combining these approaches with molecular breeding technologies, we are able to rapidly develop the non-GM crop cultivars required for future environments. Furthermore, the technologies used can be applied to use in the field allowing early detection of stresses such as drought, heat and pathogens. This improves crop management allowing precision application of inputs such as irrigation or disease control thereby increasing production efficiency and reducing the potential for environmental harm. Finally, he will describe how we are working with vertical farmers and other practitioners of total controlled environment agriculture to push production applications beyond the state-of-the-art.


Dr Robert Hancock completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh before working as a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Georgia, USA studying the molecular signals that allow communication between legumes and symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria.  On his return to the UK, he spent a short time teaching at the University of Newcastle before joining the James Hutton Institute (then the Scottish Crop Research Institute) in 1998.  Since then, he has worked extensively on how crop genetics, crop management and the environment interact to influence yield and quality. He was instrumental in the development of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre and continues to act as the centre’s scientific lead.


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