Rothamsted Research

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Public Dialogue on guiding principles of Rothamsted Research’s work with industry

Rothamsted Research public dialogue

Rothamsted Research conducted a public dialogue on the guiding principles that should underpin its work with industry. The project was independently evaluated and both reports are now published.

Rothamsted Research provides knowledge and innovation to grow more food on the same or less land, using less water, fertiliser and pesticides than historically achieved, while moving towards more sustainable agricultural systems. Rothamsted, a primarily publicly funded research organisation, is now looking to diversify its sources of income. In order to achieve this, Rothamsted will aim to collaborate more with partners that are not publicly-funded. Partnering with SMEs, start-ups and established agribusinesses will help improve Rothamsted’s income portfolio, as well as providing access to the necessary infrastructure, while supporting greater innovation in the farming industry.

Dr Matina Tsalavouta, Acting Head of Communications at Rothamsted Research, said: “We have recently developed our communications and public engagement strategy. We’ve made it a priority to have a more dialogue-driven approach when engaging with the public and our stakeholders. We realise that the public will have a view on how an independent, public-funded research organisation should work with industry, covering issues such as transparency, independence, the ownership of research findings, and the ethics of engaging with different industry types.”

Rothamsted worked with a diverse local public and other stakeholders to discuss the guiding principles that should underpin its collaborations with industrial partners. The outcomes of this dialogue will inform Rothamsted’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialization (KEC) strategy.

The project was funded by Rothamsted Research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Sciencewise, the UK’s national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues. The OPM Group conducted and reported on the dialogue and the independent evaluation process and report was conducted by 3KQ. The dialogue and the evaluation were carried out in accordance with Sciencewise principles.

The public dialogue and its independent evaluation have now been completed and the reports are available to download here:

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research said: “I've been very impressed by the thoughtful suggestions made by the participants. This provides an excellent basis for developing clear principles for our collaboration with the private sector, which is of immense importance because it will enable us to gain more impact with our research."


Notes to Editors

About Sciencewise

Sciencewise is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Sciencewise aims to improve policy making involving science and technology across Government by increasing the effectiveness with which public dialogue is used, and encouraging its wider use where appropriate. It provides a wide range of information, advice, guidance and support services aimed at policy makers and all the different stakeholders involved in science and technology policy making, including the public. Sciencewise also provides co-funding to Government departments and agencies to develop and commission public dialogue activities.

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About Rothamsted Research

We are the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for over 170 years. Our mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.

Our strength lies in the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research in plant, insect and soil science.
Rothamsted Research is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, BBSRC invested £473M in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.