Rothamsted International

Mission Statement

The mission of Rothamsted Research is to be recognised internationally as a primary source of first-class scientific research and new knowledge that addresses stakeholder requirements for innovative policies, products and practices to enhance the economic, environmental and societal value of agricultural land.

Rothamsted Research is a centre of international multidisciplinary scientific excellence primarily (although not exclusively) of relevance to: crops and products from crops; crop and soil management practices; and the diverse interactions that occur between crops, other organisms and the physical environment. Rothamsted Research is the only institute in the UK that integrates mathematics, physics, chemistry, ecology and crop sciences (including: genetics, pathology, entomology and soil science) to contribute predictive understanding and scientifically-sound options for the maintenance of economically and environmentally sustainable systems of exploiting arable land. Additionally, some areas of Rothamsted Research research are relevant to livestock disease, human health and the global environment. Rothamsted Research generates new knowledge and understanding of biological systems that will maintain or increase productivity of agricultural land in parallel with enhanced economic, social and environmental benefits. Rothamsted Research makes significant contributions to the introduction of new policies and practices based on innovative ecological and environmental sciences together with novel products based on high quality biomolecular sciences. Rothamsted Research contributes to the definition and implementation of “Best Practice” in the arable land-use sector through provision of: a predictive understanding of managed ecosystems; sustainable crops and crop products; high-efficiency, low-input crop management practices.

Rothamsted Research actively seeks collaboration with scientific partners, nationally and internationally, and with organisations with whom partnership will lead to the effective translation of science into practice.  More than 150 students and visitors spend time at Rothamsted each year.  Accommodation is available for students and visiting workers, either on the Rothamsted site, or within easy walking distance.

Rothamsted International
Rothamsted International (RI) acts as the interface for Rothamsted Research with the developing world.  It facilitates the work of Rothamsted Research around the globe and as a result Rothamsted currently has 85 ongoing research projects working with partners outside Europe.

Rothamsted International:
· provides advice on funding opportunities, and proposal development to Rothamsted scientists,

· manages and co-ordinates international projects involving partners from Rothamsted and elsewhere

· manages two Fellowship programmes for placement of scientists from the developing world not only at Rothamsted, but at centres of research excellence across Europe.

Rothamsted is based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire in England, approximately 30 miles north of central London.  It is within 10 minutes walk from a mainline train station, providing access into central London in 30minutes.  London Heathrow, London Luton, and London Gatwick airports are all easily accessible.  London Stansted airport is approximately one hour’s drive away.

Rothamsted Research has a wide range of laboratory and field facilities that are unique in the UK. Since 2000 there has been a continuous programme of re-development in which around £50 million has been invested. The Centenary building,  in which molecular sciences research is carried out, was opened in 2003, and contains multi-user laboratories dedicated to plant biochemistry and molecular biology, invertebrate biochemistry and molecular biology, synthetic/analytical chemistry and molecular plant pathology. Other specialised facilities include:–

·         State-of-the-art analytical instrumentation and facilities, including a high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer and mass spectrometry instrumentation, for natural product structure elucidation.

·         The latest facilities for studying insect behaviour and neurophysiology.

·         A new building, to be opened in 2008, which will provide high level containment facilities for genetically modified plant pathogens and viruses and also large scale soil research provision.

·         The National Centre for Plant and Microbial Metabolomics, equipped with a suite of NMR and mass spectrometry instrumentation

·         The Bioimaging Suite, re-equipped in 2003 with three new electron microscopes, confocal microscopy and other cell biological facilities

·         A plant transformation  laboratory with specialist skills in cereal crop transformation

·         Over 1000m2 of independently, electronically-controlled glasshouse compartments,

·         Controlled environment facility with walk-in rooms,

·         Quarantine standard insect rearing facilities in the insectary,

·         165 year archive  of preserved crop  and soil samples

·         Four experimental farms across the country covering 580 hectares, a variety of soil types and different farming systems.

·         Library with around 2500 journal titles plus electronic access.

·         A purpose built conference centre with main lecture hall and associated meeting rooms and catering facilities.

·         A Visual Communications Unit providing expert photographic and graphic design services for scientists.

For more information see

Fields of Science
·         The Biological Chemistry Department is well known for its development of the synthetic pyrethroids. New approaches have also brought the Department to international prominence in the field of chemical ecology, with first identifications of a range of semiochemicals, including aphid, mosquito and sandfly pheromones. Pioneering work on the molecular mechanisms by which insects resist pesticides continues.

·         The Biomathematics and Bioinformatics Department researches and develops mathematical, statistical and computational solutions to biological problems at all levels of biological scale. Our aim is to complement laboratory, field and landscape studies with theoretical and in-silico models that can be used to plan and interpret these experiments.

·         The Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Department studies the biodiversity of organisms in agricultural habitats, including the genetics and spatio-temporal dynamics of weeds, invertebrates and their arthropod and microbial natural enemies. The Department also investigates integrated pest management strategies, enhancement of natural biological control through habitat manipulation. Its work on the evolution of pesticide resistance is internationally recognised.

·         The Plant Pathology and Microbiology Department aims to develop effective, durable, economic and environmentally sound strategies for the control of crop diseases through an improved understanding of the interactions between plants, pathogenic agents and the environment. The research ranges from fundamental work on how pathogens cause disease, using the latest genomic approaches to identify genes and processes involved in pathogenicity, to applied projects on the diagnosis and practical management.

·         The Plant Science Department focuses on the application of plant science to understanding and improving arable crops. Current interests include grain structure and development, metabolic signalling and regulation, the hormonal control of plant development, and metabolic engineering to produce high value components (nutraceutical fatty acids and terpenoids).

·         The Soil Science Department has internationally-acknowledged expertise in nutrient cycling in soils and crop plants, soil protection and remediation and carbon dynamics.

Experience with Research Attachments
Rothamsted has extensive experience in hosting international scientists, with more than 150 students and visitors spending time at Rothamsted each year. In addition two Fellowship programmes are managed here by Rothamsted International for placement of scientists from the developing world not only at Rothamsted, but at centres of research excellence across Europe.  One specifically focuses on African scientists.  Under these two Fellowship programmes two hundred Fellows have been placed at Rothamsted and across Europe.

Rothamsted has accommodation available for students and visiting workers, on the Rothamsted site, and within easy walking distance.  Confidential mentoring and counselling is provided.

Expectations for Hosting an AWARD Placement
·         Research placements are considered to be partnerships for the mutual benefit of those involved, and both partners should approach the collaboration with mutual respect.

·         Candidates are expected to return to the country of origin in order to apply and disseminate knowledge gained during their Fellowship for the benefit of their own country.

·         Candidates are expected to speak and write well in English

·         Candidates are expected to abide by the rules of Rothamsted Research.


%d bloggers like this: