The food, fibre and fuel requirements of an ever-increasing population are some of the major challenges facing current society. The UN food and agricultural organisation predicts that the demand for food will grow by 50% by 2030 and is likely to double by 2050. In parallel energy demands are also projected to increase by up to 50% in the next twenty years. This means that there is a clear need for innovation and technology to increase crop productivity in a sustainable way.
Key targets include increasing photosynthetic efficiency, reducing losses caused by pests and diseases, enhancing food safety and quality for better nutrition, minimising waste throughout the food supply chain, and improving the processing of biomass materials for fuels and other plant derived chemicals and materials.
It will be vital that existing and new technologies be applied across the agri-sciences, which are defined in this context as plant, fungal and insect sciences. Multidisciplinary approaches being the drivers enabling this. Chemical Biology through physical science innovation (in e.g. chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering) is able to tackle biological problems on a molecular level and in so doing will lead to the development of novel technologies that will address future agri-science needs.