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The step-change needed to meet these challenges

Our expertise in plant genetics and disease, cell biology and plant interactions with the environment have made major scientific breakthroughs shaping the world we live in for over a century.

Ensuring the benefits of these breakthroughs are realised for the next century will require a step change in the way we work, utilising cutting-edge technologies, the latest ways of working, and access to the world’s best scientific thinkers.

The core of the current John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory buildings were established in the 1960s. That core facility on this world-leading centre is requiring extensive, day-to-day maintenance for buildings that – for the most part – will have to be demolished within the next decade.

The JIC and TSL site

The gross value-added impacts of our work will be worth over £300 million to the UK across the next decade

We already have commitments from the private and charity sector to fund a new, state-of-the-art estate, but we require further investment to make our vision a reality.

Investment will enable a step change in the way our science is carried out, enabling interdisciplinary research that embraces artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, bio-imaging, and genomic, proteomic and metabolomic platform technologies.

We need to decompartmentalise our working practices to fuel closer collaboration, allowing us to throw everything at our projects from the world of biology, physics, genomics, computing, and data science.

It is through these approaches that new and transformative insights will be made, producing an unprecedented understanding of crop science, nutrition, disease response and food security.

Through this investment the UK will emerge as the global leader in the innovations necessary to feed the world sustainably and protect human health for the next century.

Transforming the UK into an international hub for plant and microbial science

By creating the world’s foremost hub of plant and microbial science – open for business to a global audience – private sector organisations will have access to a one-stop shop housing the field’s greatest scientific minds.

Access to this kind of creativity and expertise will accelerate the discovery and creation of new products and technologies, with far-reaching impacts and commercial value.

Upgraded facilities will also mean that the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory will be accessible to other research and academic institutions.

By extending facilities and field research capabilities to other organisations, the UK’s entire capacity for making critical discoveries in plant and microbial science will be elevated.

Investment will translate into a step change not only for the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory, but also into a fundamental shift in the UK scientific community’s ability to turn its innovation and creativity into solutions that will underpin the way the world eats and protects human health for the next century and beyond.

This vision is closely aligned with the objectives of UKRI as set out in their Strategic Prospectus and Infrastructure Roadmap.

Enabling a new kind of scientific research

Meeting the world’s biggest challenges requires state-of-the-art facilities, designed in a completely new way to support the innovative science of the next century.

Advanced Technology: Enhanced Outputs

The latest technologies will enable us to examine the information housed within plants and microbes with a level of accuracy that will transform our understanding of them.

Our current facilities cannot house this equipment.

The Greatest Minds, Combined

The complexity of current global challenges requires solutions created through not only biology and microbiology, but also data
science, physics and chemistry and many other disciplines.

New facilities will literally break down barriers between these capabilities, allowing us to take a holistic and richer view of scientific challenges and questions, and to analyse and problem-solve at a system level, rather than in isolated contexts

From Reactive to Predictive

Harnessing the power AI and machine learning, and combining this with more advanced imaging capabilities. This, housed with the most powerful computational infrastructure will allow us to model interactions between genes and potential environmental factors.

We will be able to simulate many more environmental scenarios to help us create crops that we know will not only survive, but thrive within them, just as we will be able to ensure we are prepared for the next global health threat.

Open for Business

An expanded physical capacity for research will allow us to be truly open for business, extending our research and field trial capabilities to national and global research institutions and private sector organisations.

An international hub of this kind will catapult the innovation and discovery potential of institutions and organisations across the world, generating huge economic value and even greater agricultural, environmental and social be

Supporting government policy

The UK’s industrial strategy

Investment in a new estate will revolutionise the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory’s capabilities, and therefore the potential benefits of research and private sector partners.

The resultant uplift in collaboration and partnerships will drive greater inward investment into plant and microbial science work while contributing significantly to the fulfilment of the UK Government’s commitment to increasing R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

The boost to inward investment that this will enable will be dramatic, positioning us and the broader Norwich Research Park as the world’s foremost hub for the application of genomics to agriculture and human health.

The UK’s clean growth goals

With the latest technologies and ways of working, we can create even more crops requiring even less inputs, driving the clean growth effort laid out in the Grand Challenges of the Government’s Industrial Strategy by contributing to the UK’s clean growth efforts.

Success in this area will see the agricultural sector’s use of and reliance on fossil fuel-derived chemicals decrease significantly. By exporting these advances internationally, we will see UK-based outputs contributing to global reductions in GHG emissions, with far-reaching environmental and health benefits.

Upgraded facilities will also mean that the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory will be accessible to other research and academic institutions. By extending facilities and field research capabilities to other organisations, the UK’s entire capacity for making critical discoveries in plant and microbial science will be elevated.

Investment will translate into a step change not only for the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory, but also into a fundamental shift in the UK scientific community’s ability to turn its innovation and creativity into solutions that will underpin the way the world eats and protects human health for the next century and beyond.

This vision is closely aligned with the objectives of UKRI as set out in their Strategic Prospectus and Infrastructure Roadmap.

1

Global risks: why we need to act now

We have a rapidly closing window of time in which to address three critical challenges facing society and the planet that sustains us.

2

HP³: science-based solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges

The importance of plants to life on Earth is staggering. We discuss the available solutions.

3

HP³ in action

The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory are uniquely positioned to drive scientific advances that will solve many of the world’s biggest environmental and health challenges.