Plant Science Research Summit

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Plant Scientists Gather to Prioritize Future Research Efforts

The Plant Science Research Summit Reconvenes

How will plant science research contribute to addressing the societal challenges of today and tomorrow?  What areas of research will facilitate solutions to these challenges? And how will we train the next generation of plant scientists to most effectively meet the needs of the future? These are just a few of the questions tackled at the second phase of the Plant Science Research Summit in January at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Just after ringing in the new year with family and friends, a carefully selected group of sixteen participants – chosen for their diverse expertise across plant science – came together to ring in a new era for plant science research. The meeting served as a follow up to the 2011 Plant Science Research Summit and aimed to build upon the foundational work of that first meeting to develop a compelling set of recommended plant science research priorities aimed at addressing profound and urgent societal challenges. For two days, the participants set aside their personal research interests and worked diligently as representatives of the community to identify key areas of research that would move the field forward most efficiently toward solving grand challenges in agriculture and the environment, and contributing to the economy.

A written report establishing a strategic vision for plant science research over the next decade is expected to be completed in spring of 2013. It is ASPB’s hope that the report will inspire federal and private funding agencies, the scientific community, plant-related industries, commodity groups, and other key stakeholders to pursue a more coordinated research agenda that will span the entire discipline and generate new resources. The report will be shared widely within the plant science research community and we will encourage your feedback.  To stay up to date on Summit related activities, be the first to know when the report is released and easily provide feedback, simply add your email address on our website ( under “Follow Summit Activities via Email” (right), confirm, and choose the frequency for receiving updates.  We look forward to your continued engagement and the upcoming release of the report.


From left to right: Dan Stanzione, Ian Baldwin, Toni Kutchan, April Burke (Lewis-Burke Associates), Sue Hartman (facilitator; the Hartman Group), Sally Mackenzie, Pat Schnable, Ana Caicedo, David Stern, Machi Dilworth, Ray Riley, Rob Horsch, Christoph Benning, Rob Last, and Nick Carpita. Absent from photo: Annie Schmitt, Pam Ronald, and Crispin Taylor (ASPB).

The Plant Science Research Summit has received direct or in kind support from the following sponsors:

  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • National Science Foundation (Award # MCB-1136911)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA Award # 2011-67013-30637)
  • U.S. Department of Energy (Award # DOE-SC0006924)

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Thank you for your input

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit comments to the three questions on the community input page.  The comments were taken under consideration as the agenda for the meeting was developed, and they will remain on the website for further dialog on those topics.

The second meeting of the Plant Science Research Summit will be kicking off on Monday, January 7. There, we will be continuing the conversation on priorities for the future of plant science research.  We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress toward a succinct set of recommendations to guide plant science research over the next decade.