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Norwich Research Park opens its doors to public to showcase Plants of the Future

20 May 2022

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On Saturday, May 21, Norwich Research Park is holding a free open day event for members of the public to meet its world-leading scientists who will share with them how plants are going to hold the key to our future.

If you want to know more about how plants are going to help humankind in the future, you can find out this weekend when Norwich Research Park holds its Plants of the Future event to celebrate the sixth international Fascination of Plants Day, a worldwide initiative run under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

The aim of the Fascination of Plants events is to get as many people as possible around the world interested in plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and the sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and the production of plant-based non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals.

From 10am-4pm, plant researchers and scientists from The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Earlham Institute and Quadram Institute will be presenting some of their findings and discoveries at a number of exhibitions at their premises. The exhibitions will be interactive with scientists on hand to show visitors how they use technology to learn more about plants.

The Earlham Institute will be demonstrating how technology they have helped to develop can read the DNA of bacteria and other organisms floating around in the air. The Sainsbury Laboratory will have a stand where visitors can act as plant doctors and diagnose the diseases affecting samples of fruit.

The John Innes Centre will be illustrating how scientists are battling climate change in a bid to save our food supplies by developing new crops with improved drought and flood resistance through three key activities for visitors to take part in. And at the Quadram Institute stand, visitors will be able to learn more about hydroponics and have a go at painting with vegetables.

There will be plenty of opportunities for children to get involved in some hands-on activities. Seedlings will be given away for children to take home and grow. And people will be able to explore Norwich Research Park to learn more about the interesting trees there on a self-guided tour.

Parking is free and at Centrum the café will be open serving hot and cold drinks, snacks, sandwiches and pastries.

A plate showing the different stages of citrus cells transformation. This is the method used to grow new plants from plant cells that have been modified in the laboratory – Credit: Phil Robinson

Prof Nick Talbot, executive director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, said: “Plants have an incredible potential to solve many of the global challenges we face today, particularly issues such as food security and climate change. By better understanding them we can develop techniques to make crops with higher yields and disease resistance – growing healthier plants for a healthier planet.

“The scientists at our laboratory are incredibly passionate about plants and can’t wait to inspire more people at this event, especially children, to get curious about the role plants can play in their lives.”

To attend, you just need to register here.

Image: Josie Maidment and Shona Strachan teaching MSc students about global plant health at The Sainsbury Laboratory – Credit: Peter van Esse

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