Throughout August the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in Scotland organized a virtual Tea & Talk series, that invited the wider public to enjoy a cup of tea while engaging with experts on the topics of health and wellbeing, innovation and invention and the planet.

CIRCLES partner Dr Senga Robertson-Albertyn held two of these sessions with the title “Can We Get to the Root of Things?”. She talked about her work on microbiomes in the food system, especially on soil microbiomes, and she got the chance to share her journey in academia to help reduce some of the preconceived ideas that can be held about scientists and their backgrounds. During the talks Senga discussed the use of microbial tools for the soil microbiome to facilitate plant fitness and to reduce the requirement of human made soil inputs. Further, she focussed on the potential of breeding programmes to help plants to recruit their own beneficial microbiota more efficiently.

“Chatting about the work being done as part of CIRCLES around the development of microbial tools to improve food systems and sustainability was met with great interest and participation from attendees. The conversations generated during this event were highly engaging and it was clear that participants share the same view on the importance of the work we are conducting in relation to food sustainability”, commented Senga Robertson-Albertyn.

Not only did these sessions stimulate continually flowing knowledge exchange, there have also been multiple external requests for more information regarding CIRCLES and invitations to participate in further events to discuss the work that we do. “From these sessions it is clear that the work we are doing is relevant, important and very much in the public interest.”, said Senga.

Whilst we explore further opportunities to engage with the public, what is it that you would want to ask Senga, if you had a chance to meet her? Let us know in the comments.