Tribute to Berkshire research centre

27 November 2007

The Royal Society of Chemistry has paid tribute to a British international scientific research centre that has influenced worldwide crop protection and production over eighty years.

The 44,000-member society honoured Syngenta Jealott's Hill International Research Centre last week.

During its long history Jealott's Hill International Research Centre near Bracknell has been globally recognised as a focal point for the creation of new ideas and products in fertilisers and crop protection.

Since 1928 scientists at Jealott's Hill have discovered and developed products that helped to feed, clothe and protect the health of countless people around the world.

To mark that achievement the RSC, on Friday 23 November, unveiled a plaque in front of the site's 800 staff. 

The RSC Historic Chemical Landmark plaque is the latest in a series that the organisation has placed around Britain in recent years.

Landmark plaques have been established at the birthplaces of polythene near Manchester, of synthetic dyes in West London, and of Liquid Crystal Displays at Hull.

The Jealott's Hill plaque is a record of pioneering work carried out by scientists that "led to global developments in agriculture which has helped feed people and improve their quality of life." 

Jealott's Hill has been engaged in some of the greatest advances in agricultural science. In the early years studies into the effects of fertiliser application to grasses and cereals demonstrated how substantial yields could be gained from changing farming practices.

The centre went on to play a vital role during the Second World War and in its austere aftermath by development of methods to help feed the nation, and in the 1950s globally significant herbicides were developed there.

Advances in the following decades kept it firmly on the international scientific map and even led to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev touring the site in 1984 at the peak of his power and influence.

"Research and development at Jealott's Hill is leading edge," said RSC President Prof Jim Feast. "We are celebrating not just a great history but also the globally significant work carried out there today. Their work ensures that farmers can feed a growing world population in a sustainable and safe way which benefits people now and in the future."

Site Head Dr Mike Bushell said: "On behalf of all our people I would like to thank the RSC for this great honour. Jealott's Hill has a great team of people who all passionately believe in sustainable agriculture and are proud of the part they play in global food production."

The plaque's unveiling was performed by Professor Feast accompanied by Dr Dave Lawrence, head of research and development at Syngenta.

Professor Jim Feast and Dr Dave Lawrence with blue plaque

Professor Jim Feast and Dr Dave Lawrence unveil plaque

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