Oilseed Rape field By James Mason-Hudson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Employer: Syngenta

The Challenge

The population of the world is growing. To make sure everyone has enough food to eat, we need to be able to grow nutritious food and make sure it gets to where it’s needed. However, factors such as climate change, environmental damage and the increase in the number and size of cities mean it’s getting harder for farmers to grow sufficient food.

Who are Syngenta?

Syngenta is a biotechnology company based in Switzerland, with sites across the UK, including in Grangemouth, Manchester and Huddersfield. They sell seeds, and also develop pesticides – chemical compounds which protect crops from weeds, insects and disease, which hence help to improve crop yields and reduce the proportion of crops which are destroyed. They also use selective breeding to create varieties of plants and seeds that are naturally resistant to disease and insects, or that are better at coping with the effects of heat or cold.

“One third of all pansies in the world are Syngenta pansies”

They also sell turf, ornamental plants and flowers. Flowering plants aren’t just pretty to look at: they can help promote biodiversity by sustaining pollinating insects.

Syngenta researcher Dr Melloney Morris was filmed for the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Faces of Chemistry project. Three short films were produced:

(You’ll find other films here and here. They cover similar topics, but with slightly simpler and more A-level language respectively).

This resource was produced as part of the FutureMe project.

Careers

Syngenta is a very large company, with a wide range of different career routes:

  • environmental scientists
  • ecotoxicologists
  • bioscientists
  • biologists
  • toxicologists
  • plant pathologists
  • microbiologists
  • chemists
  • formulation chemists
  • process engineers
  • chemical engineers
  • construction and maintenance staff
  • Civil and infrastructure engineers
  • data analysts
  • mathematical modellers
  • Accountants and financial planners
  • IT specialists including software engineers
  • Sales and customer support

Science and Maths links

Topics in science and maths that link to Syngenta and what the company does:

  • plant reproduction
  • biodiversity
  • ecosystems
  • photosynthesis
  • respiration
  • plant cells
  • eutrophication
  • nutrition
  • genetics