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Plant Health Research Development  

Our Plant Health Research and Development Plan supports Defra’s delivery of the plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain (2023 to 2028) published in January 2023, particularly outcome 4: An enhanced technical capability. It will also support delivery of Defra’s tree health resilience strategy (2018), which is planned for refresh later in 2023.

The plan identifies and aims to deliver 4 plant health research and development strategic objectives. These strategic objectives aim to:

  • enhance our understanding and knowledge of plant health issues and solutions to protect us from threats
  • provide evidence on which to develop risk-based policy approaches, and to enable our delivery partners and practitioners to make robust decisions and take action
  • develop and deploy innovation and new technologies in support of our plant health policy objectives
  • provide world class plant health research capability

We have organised the plant health research and development needs into 6 research themes. Each theme is divided into focal areas with indicative research questions to help describe our current priorities:

  • theme 1: risk assessment and horizon scanning
  • theme 2: inspections, diagnostics, and surveillance
  • theme 3: management of pests and diseases
  • theme 4: resilience and adaptation
  • theme 5: plant health related behaviours
  • theme 6: evaluation

Finally, the plan outlines our intended approach to deliver our strategic objectives through:

  • collaborative working
  • co-design, knowledge transfer and exchange
  • facilitating innovation
  • supporting a research skills infrastructure

We then describe how we manage projects throughout the project cycle to provide the highest quality outputs and outcomes.

The Defra Plant Health Evidence and Analysis team co-ordinates Plant Health R&D activities with a range of policy and operational customers and other evidence teams, with oversight provided by the Defra Central Science Division If you wish to contact the Defra Plant Health Evidence & Analysis Team, please email: 



Latest Research

We are committed to making our publicly funded evidence and analysis open and transparent. Our latest highlighted R&D publications are featured here:

Latest Research