Tag: food

  • Biology week!

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    I was delighted, once again, to join in the Royal Society of Biology’s Biology week celebrations, including the Parliamentary reception and #IAmABiologist Twitter campaign. In whatever way you identify as a biologist, I hope you joined in with the latter and I wonder what your motivation has been for pursuing biology – mine was a fascination with understanding how living organisms ‘worked’.

    Biology Week offers a fantastic opportunity to recognise the breadth of biology and its impacts, and the reception in Parliament was a great way to ensure that our Politicians have an understanding and awareness of this too. […]

  • Extreme weather…and food production

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    Depending on your perspective you may have been relishing the recent spell of unusually hot and dry weather – if, on the other hand, you are one of the many farmers who have been struggling to combat the heat, drought and feed shortages your view is likely to be quite different. Whatever your thoughts on the ‘summer of 2018’, the extreme weather conditions highlight the importance of boosting the resilience of food production systems in the UK to help ensure food supply is maintained. […]

  • Envisioning Harvest 2050 and Beyond

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham
    Scientist working in the field
    Copyright: Rothamsted Research

    On Friday 22 September 2017 the UK officially bid farewell to summer and welcomed in the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ – epitomised by Keats in his poem ‘Ode to Autumn’. The arrival of the new season is signalled by changes in the environment around us – chlorophyll breaking down to reveal the gold and red hues we associate with autumn. And so, with thoughts of harvest in the air, the recent completion of the Hands Free Hectare caught my attention.  This project, a collaboration between Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions, is the first ever in the world to plant, tend and harvest a crop via autonomous vehicles and drones. It provides a glimpse of how innovative technology can transform current approaches to agriculture, including harvesting, and stimulates thoughts on what our food production systems might look like in 2050. […]

  • Food shortages, fungi and the UK Research and Innovation CE

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    Food has been hitting the headlines in the past week or so warning us of shortages in various vegetables – particularly courgettes, iceberg lettuce and peppers – with subsequent jumps in the price of such produce and even rationing by some supermarkets. This example, albeit modest in my book, highlights the fragility of our food supply chains by providing yet another demonstration of how extreme weather events – in this case snow in southern Spain – can impact the supply of food stuffs we take for granted. […]

  • Research advice and food – in Vogue

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    During the past week I have attended the meetings of two groups that make important contributions to BBSRC’s scientific strategies, our Research Advisory Panel and Appointments Board (more on this next week).

    Membership of our Research Advisory Panel is drawn from across our advisory structures and includes the Chairs of our responsive mode, strategic Lola and fellowships committees, strategy advisory panels and members of Council. It helps to ensure BBSRC draws on a diversity of perspectives. We welcomed Jane Silverthorne, from the Bio Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF), as an observer at this meeting. We enjoy excellent relations with the NSF and have partnered with them for a range of funding calls including through a Lead Agency pilot agreement, Ideas Labs and ERA-Nets. […]