As this landmark year come to an end, our Head of Communications, James Clarke looks back on an eventful 12 months, as well as a peek into what the future might hold for farming.

  • 17
  • DEC
  • 2018

In his forward to this year’s Annual Review, Achim Dobermann, the Institute’s Director and Chief Executive, writes: “Often in life, progress depends on successful evolution…particularly so at times of great change.”

2018 has certainly been a time of great change. Major political schisms, both at home and abroad. Scientific breakthroughs. Regulatory upheavals. Economic uncertainties. Advancing climate change, demographic pressures, biodiversity losses.

New challenges, new opportunities.

As ever, Rothamsted faces this future with determination and optimism – borne from the knowledge of all we have faced and all we have achieved in our first 175 years of our existence.

It is this considerable experience that allows us to look ahead and offer some insights into how science and technology can help farming be done better– for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the planet. You can get a sense of that by watching any one of our 12 ‘Future Farming’ videos.

The Review gives a flavour of just some of what we’ve been up to this year, from an overview of our main research programmes; through a selection of our work in low and middle-income countries; to our industrial partnerships, where discovery science and innovation meet to make practical solutions available to the agricultural community.

It also highlights some of our outreach efforts, such as major news coverage, conversations on social media and, who could forget, this summer’s Festival of Ideas - where the more than 8,000 members of the public got to visit our Harpenden campus and speak with our scientists and staff first hand.

I hope you enjoy reading the Review, and that you have a peaceful and prosperous 2019.

About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
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 £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. 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

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.