August 2013 marked the meeting of the 10th International Congress of Plant Pathology. A travel grant awarded by the British Society of Plant Pathology enabled me to join these researchers and get involved in a pre-congress workshop on Phythophora, Pythium and related genera. Many researchers, all with an important message, flocked to Beijing International Conference Centre to share experiences and ideas.
Beijing formed the heart of the Olympics in 2008 and still takes pride in the notion of ‘one world, and one dream’ the melody of which bursts out of speakers across the Olympic Village. In essence this ideal was encompassed in the talks which focussed on biosecurity, food safety, and plant pathology in a globalised economy. It was also reflected in the coming together of delegates from around the world whom all have a core belief in their research. One plant pathologist remarked, that upon being asked ‘so, what do you do?’ she eluded that she helps feed the world. This may seem a grandiose statement; however, looking at the research completed globally, this declaration is valid.
The Congress itself provided a good mixture of topics with a variety of informative talks about current research. My individual focus was given to specific topic areas from which one can grasp the scope of work that plant pathologists are involved with. Investigations into: forestry pathology, fruit trees, food safety, biosecurity, and protected crops, ensures the provision of harvestable produce and timber, with proactive identification and analysis into emerging diseases and potential threats in the future.
The Workshop and Congress lent themselves well to better versing me in the broader context of my own research into the treatment of Specific Replant Disease on Sorbus aucuparia with a novel green manure, allowing me to consider new avenues of investigation. It also provided a platform for disseminating my own work in poster sessions, and networking with people with similar research interests.
In summary, the opportunity to travel and participate in this experience has opened my eyes to new possibilities and raised my awareness of the global importance of plant pathology. Meanwhile it has given me an insight into a culture that is enlightening and diverse. The trip allowed me to interact with the welcoming people of China, as well as network with many passionate and dedicated Congress delegates from around the World.