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Topics and policy

Agriculture and food

The global population is around 7 billion and growing. In 2015, some 800 million people did not get enough calories to reach their minimum dietary intake, while other parts of the world have seen unprecedented levels of consumption. The factors behind this are undeniably complex, but science has a crucial part to play in alleviating malnutrition and managing the implications for our finite planet.

Find out about the Society’s work examining global population and consumption, food crop production and the genetic modification (GM) of food crops.

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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

  • 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

In Verba blog

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.