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From Collection to Cultivation


The research of project staff and affiliates ranges widely across the history of twentieth and twenty-first century agricultural science and development. You can learn more by following the links through to different topics below, or learn more about what each researcher is interested in via the researcher profile pages.

To find publications arising from these research projects, visit our Resources page.

Agricultural Virology in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain: From the Potato Virus Research Station to the Virus Research Unit


Doctoral research project by João Rocha Joaquim

Keywords: agricultural science, organisms as tools, biotechnology, spaces of science

Read more here.

Armed and Arable: The Greening of a Cold-War Archipelago (1942–2022)

Doctoral research project by Zsuzsanna Ihar

Keywords: military, agricultural science, Hebrides, crop revitalisation, Scotland, scientific expertise

Read more here.

Conservation and Flavour: The case of Chile (Capsicum spp.) Conservation Efforts in Mexico from the 1980s until the Twenty-First Century


Doctoral research project by Daniela Sclavo.

Keywords: Chile, pepper, conservation, science, flavour

Read more here.

Endangered Maize


Researcher: Helen Anne Curry

This project, which was supported from 2017–2020 by Helen Curry's CRASSH ProFutura Scientia Fellowship, pursues the history of an unlikely conservation concern: that of Zea mays, also known as corn or maize.

Read more here.

The Global History of Seed Banks


Researcher: Helen Anne Curry

This project investigates the history of seed banking as a global conservation practice and human health imperative. It was launched in 2016 with support from a Wellcome Trust Seed Award and continues as a strand of 'From Collection to Cultivation.'

Read more here.

Harvesting Diversity: Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and the Politics of International Agricultural Research, 1960–2000

Doctoral research project by Leo Chu.

Keywords: Vegetables, diversity, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Cold War

Read more here.

Historical Perspectives on the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)


An ongoing project exploring the influences and legacies of the CGIAR, 50 years after its founding.

Organised by Helen Anne Curry (University of Cambridge) and Timothy Lorek (College of St Scholastica)

Read more here.

Peanut Traces: Crop Collections, Industrial Processing, and Intellectual Property in the 20th Century


Post-doctoral research project by Tad Brown

Keywords: Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Social Theory, Law

Read more here.

Planting the Seeds of Resistance: Uncovering the History of Seed Sovereignty and Peasant-friendly Farming


Doctoral research project by Hitesh Pant.

Keywords: landworkers’ alliance, la via campesina, seed sovereignty, food security, governance

Read more here.

Predicting Pests: Building Global Networks to Anticipate Plant Pest Invasions, 1950–2020

Doctoral research project by Erinn Campbell.

Keywords: invasive species, plant quarantine, pesticides 

Read more here.