UK Plant Phenomics 2023 Conference
The inaugural UK Plant Phenomics Conference will be held at the University of Warwick on
Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th September 2023.

Our keynote speakers


Keynote Speaker, Dr Susie Robinson


Title: Designing a national infrastructure to achieve step-change impact for Australia

The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is Australia’s landmark programme, investing in nationally-significant infrastructure to support research and innovation.

Decisions around future infrastructures are done in two phases: first, the development and publication of an Australian National Research Infrastructure Roadmap; followed by subsequent Research Infrastructure Investment Plans that outline the specific investments to be made.

For the period 2021-2023, the Australian plant phenomics community came together to mount a case for renewed and expanded funding into the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF). This effort was spearheaded by the existing APPF national office with significant support from the APPF Board, and involved a range of global horizon-scanning, design and prioritisation exercises.

This presentation will outline the process undertaken, unpack the expectations of government and other investors when it comes to major investments into research infrastructure, and will share the exciting new proposals for the next generation of Australian plant phenomics infrastructure.


Keynote speaker, Dr Ravi Valluru


Title: 3D Models in Service of Crop Improvement

Three-dimensional (3D) models of plants have routinely been used in plant science. Both single-plant and canopy-level 3D models have been used to dissect numerous complex traits. Plant morphology and architectural traits at the canopy level are complex to derive and pose numerous challenges due to the leaf angles and leaf distributions. Here, we used a field-based robotic phenotyping platform equipped with dual-multispectral 3D laser sensors to understand the genetic variation of canopy architectural traits across winter and spring wheat growth habits.



Keynote speaker, Dr Simon W. Breeden


Title: Technician Commitment Sector Update

  • The Technician Commitment is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering board of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Foundation. The Commitment aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines. Universities and research institutes are invited to become signatories of the Technician Commitment and pledge action against the key challenges affecting their technical staff.
  • The update will give the background to, and impact of, the Technician Commitment alongside an overview of sector level reports and initiatives to celebrate and support the work of Technicians. There will also be an update on recent activities highlighting in particular the launch of the UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy based at the University of Nottingham


Keynote Speaker, Dr Rob Hancock

Title: The Advanced Plant Growth Centre at the James Hutton Institute: A Platform for Controlled Environment High-Throughput Phenotyping

  • The Advanced Plant Growth Centre, a £27M capital investment in controlled environment growing systems, vertical farming, crop phenotyping and post-harvest research facilities is funded by the Scottish and UK governments via the Tay Cities Region Deal. It has been designed to allow the growth of a wide range of crop and model plants in four fully controlled environment rooms with light, temperature, humidity and CO2 control with the objective of having the capacity to simulate current and projected environmental conditions in global crop growing regions. Rooms are connected via conveyors to imaging platforms including RGB, hyperspectral and chlorophyl fluorescence as well as an in line weighing and watering system. The platform has been designed to provide maximum flexibility with different plant tray configurations providing the ability to grow 60 large plants (60 cm width, 1.2 m height, e.g. potato), 240 smaller plants (e.g. wheat, barley) or many hundreds of model plants (e.g. Arabidopsis) in each room providing capacity to phenotype mapping populations and association panels. The centre has an additional four identical rooms for pant production and four rooms with eight channel LED lighting providing opportunities for photobiology research.
  • The presentation will an overview of the technical details of the platform and will offer a vision for the research programmes of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre that is expected to open in summer 2024


UK Plant Phenomics 2023 will take place over two days, from late morning September 4th to early afternoon September 5th. The conference will be single track, comprising sessions mixing formal presentations with Town Hall style discussion.

Detailed plans for each session will made available following the paper submission deadline, but they will be designed to

Cover the topics being addressed by the UKRI Infrastructure Scoping Project


Present the work of and discuss issues raised by the UK phenomics community


Formal sessions will supported by poster and industrial exhibitions. A small number of satellite meetings, focussed on particular issues and/or communities will be held on the evening of the 4th and afternoon of the 5th.

Satellite meetings current planned are:

  • Early career researchers forum
  • Phenotyping and urban agriculture

Proposals for additional meeting may be submitted via Microsoft CMT


    • Monday September 4th

    • Meeting Opens

    • 10.30 Arrival and Coffee
    • 11.00-11.30 Welcome and UKPCPI Scoping Project Update
    • 11.30- 12.00 3D Models in Service of Crop Improvement  – Ravi Valluru, University of Lincoln ( Keynote)
    • 12.00-12.15 Exacting morphological metrics of wheat spikes using high resolution 3D surface scanning – Latifa Greche, Francesca Aloisi, Parul Sehrawat, Andrew Riche, Nicolas Virlet, Malcolm J. Hawkesford.
    • 12.15-12.30 Phenotyping photosynthetic diversity – Samuel Taylor
    • 12.30 – 1.30 Lunch, Industrial Exhibition
    • Phenotyping Platforms and Facilities
    • 1.30 – 2.00 The Advanced Plant Growth Centre at James Hutton Insitute: A Platform for Controlled Environment High-Throughput Phenotyping – Rob Hancock and Derek Stewart, James Hutton Insitute (Keynote)
    • 2.00 – 2.30 Technician Commitment Sector Update – Simon Breeden, The Technician Commitment (Keynote)
    • 2.30 – 3.30 Summary of exisiting facilities/survey pilot launch and discussion – Tracy Lawson and Stephen Rolfe, PhenomUK
    • 3.30 – 4.00 tea/coffee
    • Data management and Analysis
    • 4.00 – 4.15 Data discoverability: Linking accessions with research data at the UK Vegetable Genebank – Sarah Trinder, Nick Fenby, Charlotte Allender
    • 4.15 – 4.30 Diffussion-based synthesis of training data for neural networks – Zane Hartley and Andrew French
    • 4.30 – 4.45 Adapting vision foundation models for plant phenotyping – Feng Chen, Sotos Tsaftaris and Valerio Giuffrida
    • 4.45 – 5.30 Strand 2 ( Didgital Infrastructure) update and discussion of next steps – Sotos Tsaftaris and Valerio Giuffrida, PhenomUK
    • 5.30 – 6.30 Satellite Meetings/Working Groups
    • Tuesday September 5th

    • Phenotyping Technologies and Infrastructure
    • 9.00-9.30 Designing a national infrastructure to achieve step-change impact for Australia – Susie Robinson
    • 9.30-9.45 Thermal imaging segmentation using night-time imaging with the Field Scanalyzer –  Nicolas Virlet, Latifa Greche, Pouria Sadeghi, Andrew Riche, March Castle, Clare Lister, Simon Griffith, Malcolm J. Hawkesford
    • 9.45-10.00 Low-cost, open-source, and high-throughput phenotyping of root parasites. – Sebastian Eves-van den Akker and Ji Zhou
    • 10.0-10.15 PhenomUK Affordable Phenotyping Pilot Launch – Darren Wells and Jon Atkinson, PhenomUK
    • 10.15 – 11.00 Strand 3 update and discussion of next steps – Bruce Grieve and Darren Wells, PhenomUK
    • 11.00-11.30 Tea/Coffee
    • Building a European Infrastructure
    • 11.30-12.00 EMPHASIS structure and proposed services – Tony Pridmore, Darren Wells, Richard Traini (BBSRC)
    • 12.00-1.00Open Discussion: EMPHASIS and the UK Node
      ○ Which services would the UK use/not use?
      ○ Which services could we offer to EMPHASIS?
      ○ Should other services be added?
    • 1.00-2.00 Lunch
    • 2.00-3.00Satellite Meetings/Working Groups
    • 3.00 Meeting Closes