Organised by SCI’s Agrisciences Group, the 6th Young Researchers event was hosted, and sponsored, by Syngenta on 14 July 2016. The event was aimed at talented early career scientists, combining a multidisciplinary audience with a chance to make connections and enrich networks. With over 50 people attending, the chance for delegates to showcase their current research was clearly very popular.
Alan Baylis, chair of the SCI board of trustees, and James Fontaine, Syngenta, introduced the event, emphasising the great opportunity for knowledge sharing and network building. A careers-orientated keynote talk from Hans Cools of Syngenta then provided a valuable personal insight into scientific career options and progression. Sharing his own experiences, he discussed leading people, leading science and the differences between working in industry and working in academia.
The use of association genetics to successfully protect barley from Rhynchosporium was presented by Lucie Griffe, who described the performance of a genome-wide association study. Anna Tiley’s research into the asexual reproduction of the pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici, which can result in 50% yield loss of wheat, was particularly pertinent, since wheat is one of the top three most produced cereals worldwide. This global outlook was similarly reflected as Camille Lenoir highlighted the major threat that aphids pose to agriculture, through the worldwide transmission of the majority of plant viruses.
Through a lively selection of 5 minute flash presentations, the event rapidly covered a range of important topics from disease management in carrots, strawberry wilt, and aphid sex pheromones, to Diamondback moths and Biokinetics. Delegates were also treated to a tour of Syngenta’s cutting edge facilities at Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre. This encompassed the biggest designated research glasshouse in Europe, and a rain tower with the ability to replicate every type of rain on Earth, from drizzle to tropical rain. The tour also included compound discovery, as the facility screens 50,000 compounds every year, and a chance to see how chemicals are dispensed into assays in the robotics lab.
Closing the successful day on a very positive note, prizes were awarded to celebrate work which demonstrated the highest quality of science and clarity of communication: Oral presentation first prize – Anna Tiley; second prize – Sebastian Eves-van den Akker; Poster presentation first prize – Anna Gonzáles Gil; second prize – Luke Evans; Flash presentation first prize – Kathryn Hales.
Group Photo at SCI Young Researchers in Crop Sciences 2016
Laura Mitchell and Becky Rivers