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Protecting crops and animals from disease, pests, and weeds is a critical component of sustainable intensification. Biotic threats reduce plant productivity through herbivory, disease, disease vectoring and resource competition. Control is compromised by escalating levels of resistance to insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Hence, future solutions must be based on a sound integration of genetic resistance, agronomic and ecological management, and the smarter use of chemical.

Challenge 3:

How can we understand, monitor and forecast the spread of pests and diseases in real time to target interventions better?

We aim to deliver a new vision for managing crop health. Our integrated solutions seek to limit the incidence, distribution, dispersal, evolution and impact of biotic threats and to maximise the efficacy and sustainability of control interventions.

Challenge 4:

How can we combine genetic, chemical, ecological and agronomic control strategies for smarter management of plant and animal health?

We focus on the scientific foundation and tools to understand pest threats and target them accordingly. We work on real-time monitoring and forecasting techniques that will play a vital role in better targeting research and practical interventions, aiming always to be one step ahead of evolution. We apply a common ‘gene to landscape approach’ in our research on resistance to insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. We expect to make advances in fundamental science relating to plant-pest interactions, the evolution of pests, weeds and diseases, and pest population dynamics that will lead to novel interventions.

Although the primary emphasis of our research is on crop protection, we also conduct research on similar solutions for improving animal and human health.