19 August 1997

Long-term R&D fund demand

GOVERNMENT should increase funding for essential long-term agricultural research, said Prof Trevor Lewis, at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Leeds.

Solutions to many problems facing farmers and the industry needed detailed information stemming from long-term research.

Although financial pressures favoured quick-fix answers, long-term studies were essential. Scientists needed the assurance that resources would be available, he said.

Funding for extended research could come only from government or benevolent organisations.

Prof Lewis, from the Institute of Arable Crops Research at Roth-amsted, also criticised the current trend to award three-year contracts to research staff. He insisted that it took away a career structure for young scientists and could result only in falling research quality.