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Global Risks: Why we need to act now

We have a rapidly closing window of time in which to address three critical challenges


HP3: Science-based solutions

The importance of plants to life on Earth is staggering


HP3 in Action

We are uniquely positioned to drive scientific advances that will solve many of the world’s biggest environmental and health challenges


A new UK hub

HP3 is an ambitious, collaborative call to action needed to meet these global challenges

Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet (HP3) is our vision for achieving a safer, healthier and more sustainable future through the power of plant and microbial science.

The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory are at the forefront of efforts to bring this vision to life, but getting there requires a step change in capability, that is only achievable through new ways of working.

We are working with UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to develop the case for investment in our new infrastructure, and are seeking private capital investment alongside public funding to enable us to realise our exciting and ambitious vision.

Here, we lay out the near and very real threats facing humankind and the planet more widely, the potential for plant and microbial science to overcome them, and why a UK hub for plant and microbial science would provide pivotal resource for developing solutions.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a stark demonstration of our collective vulnerability and a reminder that our world is more interconnected than we had ever realised.

Damaging pathogens could just as easily emerge in the form of crop diseases or human infections by bacteria with antimicrobial resistance, putting our food security and health at enormous risk.

The response to the pandemic has also shown us that transformational collaboration at pace is possible. The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory are uniquely positioned to lead the scientific advances needed to solve these era-defining threats.

Our exciting discoveries in plant science, genetics, microbiology and plant-microbe interactions have had a huge impact, but advances in technology, scientific practice and computing mean there is even greater potential to be realised.


We want to establish the very best plant and microbial science laboratory infrastructure anywhere in the world

Working together in a new, collaborative, interdisciplinary and technology-driven way, we aim to tackle and overcome the biggest threats facing the world, making the scientific potential of today meet the global challenges of tomorrow.

With the required attention, collaboration and support, we believe that a revolution in plant and microbial research can be achieved that will help us deal with these era-defining challenges in a sustainable way that protects food security, enhances biodiversity and reduces the risk of future viral threats to humans or plants.

Capital investment in cutting edge future-proofed facilities will create a UK hub for world-leading plant and microbial research that will supercharge national ability to translate scientific knowledge in practical solutions. 

For every £1 invested in the John Innes Centre, £14 is generated for the wider UK economy.

HP3 will boost productivity and efficiency, increasing return on investment.


Professor Dale Sanders FRS
Director, John Innes Centre


Professor Nick Talbot FRS
Executive Director, The Sainsbury Laboratory

Inflitration of Nicotiana benthamiana
The John Innes Centre is an independent, international research centre specialising in plant science and microbiology. It is a registered charity funded by UKRI-BBSRC, the European Research Council and other charitable sources including the John Innes Foundation. The John Innes Centre uses genetic approaches to answer fundamental questions of bioscience, and to translate the answers into environmental and societal benefits.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a world-leading independent research institute that specialises in plant-microbe interactions, funded by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, The University of East Anglia and UKRI-BBSRC. Its work is focused on leading global efforts to reduce crop losses to disease.