As a crop scientist working at the interface of academia and industry Alison’s research is focussed on the translation of fundamental scientific breakthroughs into tangible impacts for the agri-food sector. Alison is the Director of Genetics and Breeding at NIAB (https://www.niab.com/about/people/professor-alison-bentley) leading a team of scientists to deliver tools and technologies to improve plant breeding in the UK and internationally. Her research is challenge-led and addresses two major questions facing crop production: how can crops be adapted to fluctuating and changing climates to ensure food security, and how crops can be produced with reliable yield and product quality whilst limiting their environmental and economic cost. Addressing these two applied research questions requires a breadth and scale of scientific research and reflecting this, Alison’s current work spans the targeting of specific genes regulating plant processes to the development of an environmental “dashboard” for quantifying nitrogen fertiliser impacts at village scales. Her work is highly collaborative spanning science disciplines from fundamental molecular biology through to computational modelling, ecology and agronomy and her current partnerships include UK and international academic research and the agricultural industry across primary producers, plant breeders and the agro-chemical industry.
Alison is a Visiting Professor at The University of East Anglia and a member of the UK Plant Sciences Federation, Genetics Society and Society of Experimental Biology (Plant Section) committees. She is also a member of the Independent Steering Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas.