Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

17 MAY 2016



Harpenden's world leading plant scientists at Rothamsted have spelled out the case for science in Europe to a top MEP. The leading Conservative MEP Vicky Ford visited the world's oldest agricultural research centre on Tuesday.

With over 200 scientists working at the cutting edge of crop science and biotechnology, Rothamsted has benefited from EU grants and has led many international research projects which help to ensure its status as a global centre for science.

Cambridge-based Vicky Ford was the UK lead negotiator on Europe's £70 billion fund for research, known as the Horizon 2020 program. During the five year negotiations she worked with Rothamsted and other expert organisations across Britain to prioritise areas like plant science, medical research and next generation transport: all areas where the UK excels.

"Science and research is key to driving innovation and economic growth and jobs, as well as to solving some of our biggest problems such as how to grow new crops that can adapt to developing disease and drought. It is vital that our scientists in Britain can work easily with others all across the world and that we do not walk away from European neighbours in this referendum", said Mrs Ford.

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research commented: "The sustainability, food security and nutrition challenges we are facing are global. Providing solutions for those challenges requires coordinated international efforts. Science can only thrive through collaborative endeavours that enable sharing if know-how, data and resources. Researchers need wide access to international science collaboration mechanisms as well as funding and there must be easy movement of people across countries. Remaining in the EU and working towards even more efficient ways of collaboration will greatly benefit science and innovation and thus also agricultural businesses and consumers in the UK".

This week's visit was the fourth time Mrs Ford has visited the company in the past six years. Last month 150 of Britain's leading Royal Society scientists, including Stephen Hawking, warned that voting to leave the EU would cut ties to funding and damage Britain's global status as a hub for knowledge and innovation.

Pic: Vicky with Dr Jonathan Storkey and Prof Achim Dobermann (Director of Rothamsted).


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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.