16 January 2023

One hundred important questions for plant science – reflecting on a decade of plant research

Emily R Larson, Emily May Armstrong, Helen Harper, Sandra Knapp, Keith J Edwards, Don Grierson, Guy Poppy, Mark W Chase, Jonathan D G Jones, Ruth Bastow, Graham Jellis, Steve Barnes, Paul Temple, Matthew Clarke, Giles Oldroyd, Claire S Grierson - The New phytologist, 2023


In 2011, we published 100 important questions for plant science research pertaining to (A) society, (B) environment and adaptation, (C) species interactions, (D) understanding and utilising plant cells, and (E) diversity (Grierson et al., 2011). The original publication became one of the most read articles in New Phytologist, demonstrating wide interest in identifying priorities for plant research. Here, we reflect on developments in plant science since our 2011 paper, with our original questions in mind. Horizon scanning can identify and prioritise gaps in knowledge, but both researchers and funders are interested in how predictable this research can be. Looking back as well as forward can illuminate the trajectory of our field. It also provides context for a new paper identifying the current most important 100 questions in plant science research (Armstrong et al., 2023).

Our questions in 2011 were not designed to enable a quantitative study of research predictability/outcomes and space constraints mean that it is not possible to mention all the excellent work that contributed to advancing plant science in the past decade. Connections between our five categories mean cross-referencing between sections is unavoidable. A full list of questions with their descriptions from Grierson et al. (2011) is provided as supplementary data. Questions are referenced (A6) where A is section A and 6 is question 6.

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