Some 80 researchers will be housed in the new facility

The University of Warwick has opened a new phytobiology facility, focused on fundamental plant science research for food security.

The building is part of a £5 million investment into food-security research across the whole university.

It features the latest in growing environment technology where scientists will study broccoli, lettuce, onions and carrots among other food crops with the aim of helping ensure sustainable and secure supplies for a growing global population.The building will house some 80 scientists studying resistance to pests and disease, how plants cope with environmental stress and the mechanisms behind plant reproduction.

University of Warwick vice-chancellor and president Professor Nigel Thrift said: “Feeding the world’s growing populations is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. At the University of Warwick, food security is one of our research priorities and this new facility clearly demonstrates our commitment to this area. It will bring together the best minds with the latest technology to ensure that we rise to this global challenge.”

The new facility contains the latest plant sciences equipment. The ground floor contains walk-in growth cabinets and laboratories for the molecular analysis of plants.

The second floor greenhouse suite is GroDome technology from Unigro, which provides a growing environment with natural light and uses the latest energy saving heating and cooling technologies to ensure it is as efficient as possible.
Angus Padfield, development director at Unigro, said: “This has been a challenging and exciting project with the design maximising space by locating the facility on the roof of the new plant sciences research building… Our design incorporates the latest developments in sustainable energy management with accurate and precise environmental control providing the added benefit of cost savings throughout the year.”