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A team of Rothamsted scientists met with Members of Parliament and Peers in Westminster last week to present their latest insights on artificial intelligence (AI) in farming as part of Evidence Week in Parliament

Evidence Week is a unique annual event bringing together the public, parliamentarians and researchers from across the UK to discuss how evidence from frontline research can inform policymaking in Parliament. 

The team presented their findings to, amongst others, Carol Monaghan MP, Caroline Nokes MP, Daniel Zeichner MP, Jo Gideon MP, Luke Pollard MP, Ruth Jones MP and Wendy Chamberlain MP, equipping them with vital information to inform the decisions they make on future policies for AI in agriculture.

Professor Chris Baker, who led the delegation said, “It was a great opportunity for us to interact directly with policymakers and present some of the latest innovations of AI in farming that we are optimizing. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise how we farm and help us deliver on commitments for a sustainable net zero farming system. I hope all the MPs we talked to gained some insight into this exciting and transformative new approach to agriculture.” 

Other Rothamsted scientists attending were Dr Sam Cook, an integrated pest management specialist, geostatistics expert Dr Paul Harris who also manages the North Wyke Farm Platform, bio-informatician Arne De Klerk of Knetminer and our Head of Statistics and Data Science Andrew Mead

 Evidence Week, now in its sixth year, is run by the campaigning charity Sense about Science and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), in partnership with the House of Commons Library, House of Lords Library, Ipsos, the Office for Statistics Regulation and researcher institutions from across the UK. During the week, MPs meet with leading scientists to get the latest insights on pressing issues covering topics as varied as housing, food supplies, energy, health and inequality. It is an opportunity for the public, parliamentarians, and researchers to come together to share knowledge and insights. It empowers legislators to engage with evidence and equips them with the critical tools to handle uncertainty, identify bias and scrutinize underlying assumptions.

Tracey Brown, Director of Sense about Science, said, "From farming to urban traffic, the quality of research and evidence used affects whether policies and laws make sense. We are delighted that MPs have the opportunity to learn from Rothamsted Research about making better use of research evidence at Evidence Week in Parliament. Connections with cutting edge research are important for MPs, who have to pass laws, check up on government and understand the issues that are affecting their constituents.”

According to a representative survey of 1,078 adults in Great Britain by Ipsos and Sense about Science released this week for Evidence Week 2023, only a third or less of people think MPs are equipped to ask the Government the right questions about evidence on critical policy areas including the use of Artificial Intelligence (26% confident versus 60% not confident), energy policy (31% confident versus 60% not confident), healthcare (33% confident versus 59% not confident), the economy (34% confident versus 57% not confident) and climate change (30% confident versus 60% not confident).

Around half of Britons continue to think politicians pay too little attention to evidence (7% too much, 51% too little, 24% about right, 19% don’t know) or to public opinion (15% too much, 54% too little, 20% about right, 12% don’t know), while 1 in 3 think they pay too much attention to what they think is right (35% too much, 25% too little, 24% about right, 16% don’t know).


Prof. Chris Baker

Science Director

Dr Samantha Cook

Behavioural Ecologist

Andrew Mead



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 in areas as diverse as crop management, statistical interpretation and soil health. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative approach to developing innovative farm practice.
Through independent research, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally, with economic impact estimated to exceed £3 bn in annual contribution to the UK economy. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and multiple partnerships.
Rothamsted is home to three unique National Bioscience Research Infrastructures which 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).


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 to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. Through our investments, we build and support a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive community which delivers ground-breaking discoveries and develops bio-based solutions that contribute to tackling global challenges, such as sustainable food production, climate change, and healthy ageing.
As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we not only play a pivotal role in fostering connections that enable the UK’s world-class research and innovation system to flourish – we also have a responsibility to enable the creation of a research culture that is diverse, resilient, and engaged.
BBSRC proudly forges interdisciplinary collaborations where excellent bioscience has a fundamental role. We pioneer approaches that enhance the equality, diversity, and inclusion of talent by investing in people, infrastructure, technologies, and partnerships on a global scale.


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.