Crop Productivity, Sustainability and Utility

10 Aug 2012

On a wet and cold summer's day, the University of Reading's Whiteknights Campus provided welcome shelter for attendees of the 3rd Annual BioResources Young Researchers' meeting, held on 3 July 2012.

After an introduction from Dr Alan Baylis, who once again spearheaded the event's organisation, Dr Garry Waghorn, who'd come all the way from New Zealand, delivered an inspiring keynote address (link below) on the challenges and rigours of a research career in agriculture - and how to survive them!

This was followed by 12 outstanding presentations from young scientists working to increase the yield, quality and sustainability of cropping systems. The presenters - all PhD students, or in their first post-doc position - shared their experiences from a wide range of international projects carried out across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. An engaged and inquisitive audience sparked much discussion, and made for an interactive and stirring series of talks. Attendees were also treated to over 20 excellent posters, once again covering a huge range of subjects from plant physiology and potatoes to pollinators and plastics.

The end of the day saw an informal wine mixer, and the awarding of cash prizes for the best presentations and the posters, as voted for by the attendees. Runners up in the poster competition were Alexandra Wealleans, and Amanda Livermore, with Bruno Ngala winning for his poster The use of brassica species for the management of potato cyst nematode infestations of potatoes. Whilst Boo Lewis and Momah Turay were the runners up for the oral presentations, with Alexa Varah taking first prize for her fascinating talk Delivering multi-ecosystem services in UK agriculture - can agroforestry do it all?

Once again the meeting provided a wonderful opportunity for researchers across many disciplines to meet and network in a way they may not have had before. Look out for details of next year's meeting as this event continues to grow and attract exceptional participants from the new generation of young scientists.

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