Research and innovation in Plant Sciences and Agriculture have never been so important. Both are central to the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century.  How do we feed a growing world population which will reach 9 billion by the year 2050? How do we do so sustainably by increasing yields but minimizing the environmental impact of future crops? How can plants contribute to solving the energy crisis and reduce the impact of global warming? These issues were among those selected as the top 10 challenges in plant science research over the coming decade, in a recently published paper in New Phytologist.  

With the opening of UCD Rosemount Environmental Research Station, a new 5 million euro state-of-the-art facility, University College Dublin will actively contribute to finding solutions for these challenges through research and innovation in plants sciences. The facility was officially launched on 27 September, by Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D.  

Speaking at the launch, Dr Jennifer McElwain, Director of PÉAC (Programme for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate) said “The new glasshouse and experimental atmosphere and climate facilities at Rosemount will provide the infrastructure we need to find real solutions to address these important societal issues – we will be able to subject experimental plants to simulated past and future climates in order to better understand the origin of our modern vegetation and agriculture, and predict the future effects of climate change on both”.  

The on-campus research station, which is funded by Marie Curie Framework Programme 6, UCD and HEA PRTLI5 will facilitate cutting edge and multidisciplinary research across two UCD Schools (School of Biology and Environmental Science and School of Agriculture, Food Sciences and Veterinary Medicine) and both national and international collaborators (Teagasc, TCD, UCG, University of Giessen, and University of Essex, John Innes).