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Topics and policy

Agriculture and food

Overview

Science has a crucial part to play in meeting the nutritional needs of a growing population whilst reducing the impact on the environment. Find out more about the Society’s past, current and future work

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Reports and publications

Read or download all our reports, publications and consultation responses.

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Genetic technologies

The Royal Society is looking at how genetic technologies can and might be applied in agriculture, in industry, to conserve biodiversity and to improve human health.

Science for Defra conference

Nearly 300 academics, government scientists and policymakers met for an open discussion about how science and technology can best inform environmental, food and rural policy.

Latest from our blog

Our analysis and advice

  • Closing the Gap Conference

    Scientific discussion meeting reporting on innovative science and adoption of novel strategies that open new windows of opportunity for sustainable production intensification.

    Find out about the conference

  • Global Environmental Research Committee (GERC)

    GERC is scanning UK research capability across a range of global issues. This includes what is needed to improve sustainability and build a secure and resilient food system.

    Find out more

  • Modeling Earth's Future

    A report produced with the National Academy of Sciences on integrated assessments of linked human-natural systems.

    Download the report

  • GM plants: questions and answers

    Explore information about genetically modified (GM) plants, with answers to 18 questions by expert independent scientists and an animation on the basic science of GM.

    Find out more

  • Reaping the benefits

    A report which examines the contribution of the biological sciences to food crop production.

    Read the report

  • Observing the earth

    Observing the Earth - Expert views on environmental observation for the UK.

    Read the report

  • People and the Planet

    This project was a major study investigating the links between global population and consumption, and the implications for a finite planet.

    Read more about the project

Also of interest

Fellows working in this area

Professor Sir David Baulcombe

David Baulcombe has diverse interests in plant biology ranging from disease resistance though to epigenetic inheritance. His group discovered a type of small RNA that protects plants against RNA of parasites including viruses and selfish DNA.

He is Regius Professor of Botany and Edward Penley Abraham Royal Society Research Professor in the University of Cambridge. His awards include the Lasker Prize and the Royal Medal, a premier award of the Royal Society.

Professor Ottoline Leyser

Professor Ottoline Leyser aims to understand how plants adjust their growth and development to suit the environmental conditions in which they are growing.

She is Professor of Plant Development at the University of Cambridge and director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge.