skip to content


A networking organisation for plants-related research and impact
As our society and economy needs to wean itself off the reliance on fossil resources, the role of plants in providing security not only of food, but also of energy and materials is becoming increasingly important. CambPlants aims to build on the academic excellence the University of Cambridge has in the disciplines relevant to these challenges, and encourage and facilitate the pull-through of research outputs into real-life solutions with global impact. 
CambPlants is the umbrella organisation for those involved in plant science-related research at the University. It acts as the point of contact for external interested parties and provides support for impact and translation activities – be that public engagement, industry collaboration or informing policy. It helps researchers at the University working in plant science and related fields to build relationships within the University, facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations and assist with engaging with industry.
Acting as a gateway for industry, policymakers and the public to access expertise, CambPlants connects a number of existing initiatives and facilitates research collaborations, outreach, skills development and networking activities. It is hosted by the Department of Plant Sciences and the Sainsbury Laboratory and is partially funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund. Professor Alison Smith and Professor Sir David Baulcombe are directors and its activities are overseen by a cross-disciplinary advisory board.


CambPlants aims to tackle global challenges by harnessing the power of plant science research in Cambridge by bringing into practice findings from fundamental research through interdisciplinary partnerships. to address global challenges in food, energy, health, materials and ecosystem services. Its objectives are as follows:
  • To support large-scale multi-disciplinary funding applications in plant science-related research by leveraging the University’s expertise integrating science, technology and policy research.

  • To develop strategic academic and industrial partnerships with a global reach.

  • To foster and develop synergies with the different initiatives and schools in the University that can lead to funding applications.
  • To engage with stakeholders across business, policy and civil society, to ensure translation of fundamental research into practical applications.

  • To provide the point of coordination and leadership for external interactions with industry, policy makers and the public.

  • To increase the visibility of Plant related research outputs by instigating active dialogue with Industry, policy makers in research councils and government and the general public at a local, regional, national and international levels.
  • To contribute to agenda-setting for future plant related research.

  • To ensure that multidisciplinary, cross-university projects have support and backing from the University leadership and research community to maximise success and impact.

  • To be part of a shared cross-School vision and development plan for building research capacity, partnerships and creating innovation.
  • To promote cross-disciplinary research capacity to address plant-related challenges by inspiring the next generation through public engagement and early-career events.

  • To catalyse the Plant Science impact strategy by providing guidance for pathways to impact and case studies.

  • To create a spirit of awareness of Knowledge Exchange and Entrepreneurship among the Cambridge Plant community.
  • To provide a platform for cross-disciplinary funding applications and generate new funding for innovative research.

  • To work with industry, funding agencies, UK and foreign governments and other sponsors and benefactors to secure funding for research in plant research.

Cambplants Landscape