In DepthPlant Biology

Research at Kew overhauled for leaner times

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Science  27 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6225, pp. 936
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6225.936

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The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the world's largest collections of plants and fungi, has shrunk its scientific workforce by 18% and undergone a major reorganization. Recent independent reviews had urged Kew to focus its research program. The organization also faced budget cuts, compounded by significant bills for maintenance of its historic grounds and buildings. A new strategy, described in a 5-year plan released this week, emphasizes collections-based research, particularly in fungi and plant health. The plan sets research targets, such as charting the evolutionary relatedness of plant and fungal species by 2020, and lists several new communication products. A new website, for example, will offer information on traits, distributions, and evolutionary relationships of plants and fungi. An annual report, called the State of the World's Plants, will identify important issues in plant health and conservation.