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Department of Plant Sciences

MPhil Crop Science students in the lab at NIAB

New Cambridge MPhil nurtures future leaders in crop science

Students from seven nations form the inaugural cohort of the new MPhil in Biological Sciences (Crop Science) in the Department of Plant Sciences.

This new and exciting MPhil course is a joint initiative between the Department of Plant Sciences, the Crop Science Centre and NIAB, enabling students to benefit from the world-leading expertise in crop science embedded at these institutions.

The new cohort were welcomed by Professors Ian Henderson and Giles Oldroyd, and Dr Fiona Leigh of NIAB, at the Crop Science Centre in early October [right] and have since been learning about a wide spectrum of cutting-edge crop science, including regenerative agriculture and farming systems, crop transformation and gene editing, seasonal rhythms of crop development, plant mineral nutrition, abiotic stress tolerance, genetics, genomics and biotic interactions.

The challenges facing agriculture are global and we are delighted that our cohort brings together students from a wide range of countries,” said Professor Ian Henderson, course co-coordinator.

The course aims to train future crop scientists to take creative approaches to agricultural systems that improve the sustainability and equitability of global food security initiatives. It takes a broad view of potential solutions to the challenges of global agriculture with an emphasis on practical, scientific approaches, ranging from genetic engineering to regenerative agriculture and provides students with an integrated perspective on food security that spans plant biology, global ecology, conservation and economics. The course covers four themes - the future of sustainable agriculture; crop development; metabolism and physiology; plant-biotic interactions and crop improvement.

Our course spans new technologies, such as gene editing and genomics, together with examining farming systems. The aim is to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they will need to drive forward advances in crop science,’ said Professor Henderson.

The students have now decided upon, and are preparing for, their eight-month research project that will start in the new year. They will engage in primary research spanning a range of topics in crop science, working with groups in the Department of Plant Sciences, the Crop Science Centre, the Sainsbury Laboratory and NIAB. We are excited to see how their student projects develop and the scientific discoveries that they will make.


More info and to apply:

Find out more about the MPhil Biological Sciences (Crop Science) course for 2024 entry here

Find out more about postgraduate courses in the Department of Plant Sciences here



Top - The students on a recent visit to NIAB learning about crop transformation (courtesy of Kevin Middleton/NIAB)

Centre - Professor Ian Handerson gives a welcome presentation at the Crop Science Centre

Bottom - The first ever cohort of MPhil Biological Sciences (Crop Science) students gather on the Departtment of Plant Sciences steps