18 April 2023 | Muriel Cozier

SCI's Daily Digest: your one-stop shop for all of the day's news in science based industry

In today's Daily Digest, tackling gender inequality in agrifood, the OECD calls for critical materials scale-up, and WHO appoints new Chief Scientist.


A study from Rothamstead Research, University of Reading, and Newcastle University indicates that farmers growing a wider range of produce could offset the negative impacts of variable climate, on food security and farm incomes.

Seeds that were sent into space last year have returned to earth. The experiment is part of joint efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the FAO to develop resilient crops that can help provide food as earth’s climate warms. Aribidopsis and sorghum seeds were launched into space in November 2022.

A report from the FAO, said to be the first of its kind since 2010, indicates that 36% of working women are employed in the global agrifood sector. According to the report, tackling gender inequalities in agrifood systems and empowering women would reduce hunger; boost the global economy by $1 trillion and build resilience to shocks like climate change and covid-19.


A policy paper from the OECD indicates that there is a need for significant scaling up of both production and international trade of critical raw materials to meet projected demand for the green transition and meet global net zero targets.

Other news

Dr Jeremy Farrar is to become the WHO’s new Chief Scientist. Dr Farrar was Director of the Wellcome Trust. He is one of five new appointments to the WHO’s leadership team in Geneva, Switzerland. Other new appointments include Dr Ailan Li who will become Assistant Director for Universal Health Coverage. Dr Li has served as WHO representative to the Kingdom of Cambodia since 2019.

The BioIndustries Association has released a report, said to be the first of its kind, which looks at diversity and inclusion in the UK biotech and life sciences sector. It finds that while there is strong inclusivity and diversity, there are ‘significant diversity gaps across disciplines, management levels and demographic traits which require action at both a company and sector level.’

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