Peter Gregory is a soil scientist by profession with degrees from the universities of Reading (BSc) and Nottingham (PhD), and is currently Emeritus Professor of Global Food Security at the University of Reading. He is Chair of the Board of Crops For the Future UK – a company that promotes international research into the increased use of currently underutilised crops in food systems. Peter was Chief Executive of the Scottish Crop Research Institute from 2005 to 2011 and then of East Malling Research from 2011 to 2015. He has a range of experience in developing research strategies for research institutes and was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading from 1998 to 2004.

His research interests are in the growth and functioning of root systems in soil and the mechanisms by which roots influence soil properties. Peter has been publishing research with an emphasis on roots since the 1970’s and is known for his seminal text “Plant Roots Growth, Activity and Interactions with the Soil” published in 2006, with a second edition due to be published soon.

Peter is an Honorary Life President of the International Society of Root Research



Employing roots effectively for societal well-being
Peter J Gregory

Human societies in different places have used roots for a variety of purposes including food, medicines, controlling weeds and engineering. In the context of this symposium with its focus on societal responses to climate change, biodiversity loss, and food security, I will draw on research that demonstrates how improved knowledge of root growth and activity permits more sustainable agricultural practices and land use for diverse purposes. Our better understanding of the interactions at the root-soil interface has opened exciting prospects for responding to current societal concerns and for the development of new root-based industries bringing economic and environmental benefits. Finally, roots provide artistic expression of humanity’s links to each other and the natural world.

International Society of Root Research 12th International Symposium

Roots [& Roads] to a sustainable future     12 ISRR 2024

UFZ | Leipziger KUBUS

2–7 June 2024

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