Public Good Plant Breeding (PGPB) Research Group

Who we are and what we do

Our research focuses on the potential of genetic improvement, using advanced scientific approaches, to support multifunctional land-use and alleviate environmental impacts as well as coping with problems associated with climate change. The Group includes scientists and plant breeders developing new varieties of forage and amenity species, cereals and energy crops.

The group develops innovative grass, clover, oat and miscanthus varieties that have a significant impact in the market and on end use. By combining conventional and molecular approaches to plant breeding with high throughput phenotyping the group aims to develop improved plant varieties that are marketed by our commercial partners.


The current focus of the breeding programmes is to maintain performance but to emphasise the contribution that new varieties can make to reduce the environmental footprint of UK agriculture. In particular, productive new grass and legume varieties are being produced that can help to reduce diffuse pollution to air and water by increasing the efficiency of nitrogen and phosphorus use through the soil-plant –animal system.

Oat varieties are being developed that are appropriate for the milling industry, as a high energy livestock feed and as a source of industrial platform chemicals and Miscanthus is being developed as a high value energy feedstock.


Our research is funded by Defra, BBSRC, Technology Strategy Board and Industry and has an outstandingly successful record of achievement in variety production promoted by well-established links with seed companies who ensure that novel varieties get through to the market place, Germinal for forages (grasses and clovers) and also turf grasses; and Senova Ltd for oats.

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