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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


Howard Griffiths is the Professor of Plant Ecology at Cambridge University and Fellow of Clare College. Griffiths is passionate about communicating the importance of plants, with over 150 primary research papers exploring their physiological ecology and associated molecular processes. His research integrates molecular methods, laboratory experimentation and fieldwork to define the distribution of natural vegetation, crop productivity and water use. His particular interest includes the enzyme Rubisco, fundamental for life on earth, and the requirement for carbon concentrating mechanisms such as the C4 and CAM pathways, and the algal CCM, to improve the efficiency of carbon assimilation. His Physiological Ecology Research Group has been investigating the impact of climate change on past and present plant distribution, with an emphasis on polar bryophytes and tropical epiphytes in Trinidad. They are also working on research into the molecular basis of algal photosynthesis, and the potential to increase crop productivity. He is the principal investigator on the UKRI GCRF-Growing research capacity TIGR2ESS and MillNETi programmes, funded to strengthen capacity for research in agricultural technologies in UK, India and key partners in Africa, focussing on health, nutrition and equal opportunities. He is currently Co-Chair of the University of Cambridge Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre, and has helped to establish Cambridge as a major centre for crop sciences, in collaboration with NIAB. He has been a regular visitor to India as part of ongoing collaborative programmes, and acts as an advisor to the Vice Chancellor at the University of Cambridge on developing strategic partnerships with India.


Key publications: 

Professor Griffiths's lab investigates plant molecular, physiological and environmental processes which regulate productivity and CO2 sequestration, and aim to improve the operating efficiency of the primary carboxylase, Rubisco, and match water availability to use. Stable isotope methods are used to evaluate the origins and regulation of diverse photosynthetic carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCM). The research carried out at the lab translates via fieldwork into food security and biomass crop productivity, as well as natural community diversity.

Google Scholar citations

Co-Chair of Cambridge Global Food Security IRC
Professor of Plant Ecology, Department of Plant Sciences
Fellow of Clare College.

Contact Details

Not available for consultancy


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CO2 sequestration