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A networking organisation for plants-related research and impact

CambPlants operates as an umbrella connecting a number of existing initiatives and acts as a gateway for leadership companies, policy makers and the public to access Cambridge expertise in Plant Sciences, instigating research collaborations, outreach, skills development and networking activities.

CambPlants is hosted by the Department of Plant Sciences and the Sainsbury Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. It is partially funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), with Professor Alison Smith and Professor Sir David Baulcombe as the directors, and with a cross-disciplinary advisory board. You can see the team here.

Whether you are interested in food security, new sources of sustainable energy and materials, health or ecosystem services, we can offer you links to relevant research initiatives, free support, business networks and skills development opportunities. We are always happy to help so contact us to find out more!

Our Mission

Our mission is to tackle global challenges by putting plant research into practice. We aim to harness the power of plant research in Cambridge by bringing into practice findings from fundamental plant research through interdisciplinary partnerships to address global challenges in food, energy, health, materials and eco-system services. 



  • To support large-scale multi-disciplinary funding applications in Plant related research by leveraging the University of Cambridge’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


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 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. A variety of initiatives and networks already operate or are under development, and while informal links between them exist to varying degrees, it is essential to increase collaboration internally, and develop a strategic approach across the board as far as interaction with industry and external stakeholders is concerned.


Cambplants Landscape


Find out more about Cambridge University Strategic Research Initiatives.




All University staff, except those needed for business-critical activity, are now working remotely. Please contact us by email, and find the latest COVID-19 information here

CambPlants is an umbrella organisation for those involved in plant-related research at the University of Cambridge, and the point of contact for external interested parties. We provide support for impact and translation activities – be that public engagement, industry collaboration, or informing policy. We help build relationships within the University, facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations, and assist with engaging with industry. Please contact us if you would like to be included on our mailing list. We will keep you updated about future CambPlants events, and will store your data in a secure University of Cambridge location. We will only contact you as needed.