Annals of Applied Biology (2017) 170, 4-44
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The history of the Nematology Department at Rothamsted
Annals of Applied Biology 170 (1), 4-44
Abstract: This is a review of the activities of what rapidly became the leading plant nematology department in the world, based in what was at that time not only the most important but also the most distinguished agricultural research station in the world. We first briefly review the research done in the period under each head of department before recording in more detail some of the long-term research programmes, including work on potato cyst nematode hatching factors, chemical control and biological control. These strong research activities flourished until the radical funding constraints that were introduced nationally following release of the Rothschild Report in 1973 forced the adoption of various management actions at research stations. The changed pattern of research funding systems, which evolved gradually from 1973 onwards, resulted in a different style of research collaboration and changes in research focus by institutes and their staff. It became fashionable for institutes to have mission statements and these were changed frequently by directors due to the need to respond to funding possibilities. Successive severe and progressive reductions in staffing and, inevitably, outputs culminated in the complete cessation of nematology research at Rothamsted in 2013, even though cutting edge work on biological control and molecular interactions between nematodes and their plant hosts was still being carried out.
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