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The Plant Health Summer Conference 2022, hosted online, offered a day full of keynotes, flash talks and discussions from a range of experts, covering cutting-edge research and potential approaches to improve plant health worldwide.

The day began with a keynote delivered by Dr Richard Shaw, senior regional director for Europe and the Americas at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International.


Dr Shaw discussed the successes of the Plantwise initiative – an engaging, multi-faceted project looking to empower farmers to improve their farming whilst collecting real-time data to help improve future practices.

The day closed with another inspiring talk from Professor Richard Buggs CBiol FRSB, senior research leader from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and professor of evolutionary genomics, Queen Mary, University of London.

Professor Buggs discussed his team’s research in understanding more about plant disease and resistance using genomic approaches, including some of the preliminary findings regarding ash, oak, and birch trees.

The day also included a flash talk session for early career researchers, a career overview panel discussion, and a talk on the work of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research.

The Summer Conference followed a talk delivered by UK chief plant health officer Professor Nicola Spence CBE FRSB on plant biosecurity - the first event in the new plant health series funded by Defra and delivered by the Royal Society of Biology.

Professor Jeremy Pritchard, chair of the Plant Health Professional Development Advisory Group, said of the event: “Climate change, biosecurity and food security make the plant health profession more important than it's ever been.

“Plant health is a diverse topic and this conference successfully brought together researchers and practitioners from a range of backgrounds and approaches.

“We will continue to grow our strong network of plant health professionals, and we look forward to future events in the Plant Health series.”

The next event in the plant health series will take place on Wednesday 14th September and a recording of this event will be available on the RSB YouTube channel.