From field data to global indicators

Investigating how plant data can be efficiently and reliably linked across data infrastructures around the world


A key task for data science is to develop systems through which diverse types of data can be aligned to provide common ground for discovery. These systems determine how data is incorporated into machine learning algorithms and whose perspective is incorporated or excluded from data-driven knowledge systems. Through sustained engagement with stakeholders involved in the development and use of plant data infrastructures, the project investigates current models and future prospects for managing environmental and biological data collected from experiments and field trials around the world.

Explaining the science

The intersection of historically and sociologically informed philosophy of science and data science, including existing work on bio-ontologies and data visualisation tools, is uniquely equipped to provide understanding of both the technical and social conditions under which data can be mined and reused. This approach will help to develop semantics for the dissemination and linkage of phenotypic data that support a global, context-sensitive and sustainable knowledge base for research on food security and related environmental challenges. The overarching goal of the project will be achieved in the following three ways.

Building an international collaborative network

Facilitating innovative thinking and the pursuit of both technical and regulatory solutions to effective data linkage. The network would bring together data scientists at the Turing with experts in numerous other fields, including:

  • Plant scientists and bioinformaticians at the Earlham Institute and other key biology institutes in the UK, as well as in CGIAR centres for research in tropical agriculture (such as the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria), will provide understanding of specific data resources and local variations in data sharing and reuse.
  • Data curators responsible for the development of the key global infrastructures for the sharing and mining of plant data, such as the Crop Ontology, can provide an overarching view of the challenges involved in setting up data linkage strategies and tools.
  • Representatives of international agencies such as the United Nations (through the Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the CGIAR Big Data Platform, which are responsible for the governance of data semantic systems, can help to relate the technical challenges of data linkage to the overarching social, economic and political challenges of increasing food security in sustainable ways.

Identifying salient differences between existing initiatives

Providing a preliminary analysis of the conceptual, historical and sociological reasons for those differences, so as to develop an understanding of the current state of play that can inform analysis and technical solutions.

Developing a framework

A framework for data linkage in this area that can be applied to produce innovative technical solutions for improving current data linkage strategies and tools.

Project aims

The project aims to provide the building blocks towards investigating the conditions under which plant data can be efficiently and reliably linked across data platforms and infrastructures around the world, in ways that could serve the development of global indicators for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (particularly SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing; SDG 10: Reduce Inequalities and SDG 15: Life on Land).  


Having usable, meaningful and reliable ways to link plant data from different sources, species and approaches is essential to data analysis and interpretation, and thus to the development of evidence-based agriculture and governance strategies for food security, as well as to an improved translation between basic and applied research in the plant sciences.  

The project will thus benefit agricultural and farming policies, farming practices, biotechnology R&D, the development of policy over the international transfer and conservation of biological materials and related data, and research addressing food security challenges within the plant sciences. 


Williamson, H. and Leonelli, S. (eds.) (2022) Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Data Challenges for Agricultural Research and Development. Cham: Springer Open Access. 

Williamson, H. and Leonelli, S. (2022) Cultivating Responsible Plant Breeding Strategies: Conceptual and Normative Commitments in Data-Intensive Agriculture. In: Williamson, H. and Leonelli, S. (ed.) Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage. Springer.

Leonelli, S. and Williamson, H. (2022) Introduction: Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage. In: Williamson, H. and Leonelli, S. (eds.) Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage. Springer.

Leonelli, S and Williamson, H. (2023, in press) Artificial Intelligence in Plant and Agricultural Research. In: Choudhary A, Fox G and Hey T (ed.) AI for Science. World Scientific Publishers.

Leonelli, S. (2022) Process-Sensitive Naming: Trait Descriptors and the Shifting Semantics of Plant (Data) Science. Philosophy, Theory and Practice in Biology 

Williamson, H. and Leonelli, S. (2022) Accelerating Agriculture: Data-Intensive Plant Breeding and the Use of Genetic Gain as An Indicator for Agricultural Research and Development. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 95: 167-176.

Dupré, J and Leonelli, S (2022) Process Epistemology in the COVID Era: Rethinking the Research Process to Avoid Dangerous Forms of Reification. European Journal for the Philosophy of Science 12:20

Canali, S and Leonelli, S. (2022) Reframing the Environment in Data-Intensive Health Sciences. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 93: 203-214. 

Leonelli, S. (2022) “Scaling Up: The Radical Challenge of Democratic Data Governance.” Frontiers Policy Labs.

Leonelli, S (2022) Open Science and Epistemic Pluralism: Friends or Foes? Philosophy of Science.

Council of Canadian Academies (2022). Leaps and Boundaries, Ottawa (ON). The Expert Panel on Artificial Intelligence for Science and Engineering, Council of Canadian Academies (released March 2022). [SL was a member of this expert panel]

Welch E, Louafi S, Carroll SR, Hudson M, IJsselmuiden C, Kane N, Leonelli S, Marin A, Özdemir V, Reichman JH, Tuberosa R, Ubalijoro E, Wesseler J (2021) Post COVID-19 Implications on Genetic Diversity and Genomics Research & Innovation: A Call for Governance and Research Capacity. White Paper (released 6 July 2021).

Leonelli, Sabina, Bezuidenhout, Louise, Schuster, Doug, & Stall, Shelley. (2021, October 1). Democratization of Data. Zenodo.

Leonelli, S. (2021) Protecting High-Quality Scholarship through Fair Open Access: Reflections on the Diamond OA Study. Coalition S Blog.

Leonelli, S. (2021, published online: 8 September 2021) Apriti, Scienza! In: Wired Italia, Spring edition, pp. 48-53.

Williamson H, Brettschnedier J, Caccamo M, Davey R, Goble C, Kersey PJ, May S, Morris RJ, Ostler R, Pridmore T, Rawlings C, Studholme D, Tsaftaris S and Leonelli S.* Data management challenges for artificial intelligence in plant and agricultural research. F1000Research 2021, 10:324 (1

Leonelli, S. (2022, in press) How Data Cross Borders: Globalising Plant Knowledge through Transnational Data Management and Its Epistemic Economy. In: Krige, J (ed) Writing the Transnational History of Knowledge Flows in a Global Age. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 

Beaulieu, A. and Leonelli, S. (in press, 2021) Data and Society: A Critical Introduction. London, UK: SAGE.    

The Alan Turing Institute (2021) Report “Data science and AI in the age of COVID-19  

Leonelli S, Lovell B, Fleming L, Wheeler B and Williams H. (2021) From FAIR data to fair data use: Methodological data fairness in health-related social media research. Big Data and Society 8 (1) DOI: 10.1177/20539517211010310      

Krige, J and Leonelli, S (2021) Mobilizing the Translational History of Knowledge Flows: COVID-19 and the Politics of Knowledge at the Borders. History and Technology.

Leonelli, S. (2021) Data Science in Times of Pan(dem)ic. Harvard Data Science Review.

Arnaud E, Laporte MA, Kim S, Aubert C, Leonelli S, Cooper L, Jaiswal P, Kruseman G, Shrestha R, Buttigieg PL, Mungall C, Pietragalla J, Agbona A, Muliro J, Detras J, Hualla V, Rathore A, Das R, Dieng I, King B (2020) The Ontologies Community of Practice: An Initiative by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. Patterns 1: 100105

Geraint P, Yoselin BA, Gibbs D, Grant M, Harper A, Harrison J, Kaiserli E, Leonelli S, May S, McKim S, Spoel S, Turnbull C, van der Hoorn R, Murray J (2020) How to Build an Effective Research Network: Lessons from Twenty Years of the GARNet Plant Science Community. Journal of Experimental Botany, eraa307,

DATA TOGETHER (2020) Open Science for a Global Transformation. Data Together Response to UNESCO Consultation on Open Science. 29 pages.

Leonelli, S (2020) Scientific Research and Big Data. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

Leonelli, S. (2019) Data – From Objects to Assets. Nature 574, 317-321. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-019-03062-w

Leonelli, S. (2019) Data Governance is Key to Interpretation: Reconceptualising Data in Data Science. Harvard Data Science Review, inaugural issue.

Leonelli, Sabina (2020) big data; plurality; neutrality; AI; Coronavirus; pandemic; relativism; open science. In: The Index of Evidence, 61

Leonelli, Sabina. (2020). Opening the Research Process: From Publications to Data, and Back Again. Zenodo.

Cousins T, Leonelli S, Pentacost M, Rajan KS. (2020) Situating the Biology of COVID-19: A Conversation on Disease and Democracy. The India Forum  

Leonelli S and Williamson H. (2020) Intelligent plant data linkage: A view from history, philosophy and social studies of science.F1000Research 2020, 9:260


Leonelli, Invited Roundtable Speaker SMARTFOREST meeting, Cambridge, 27 October 2022: “The Challenges of Datafying Plants”.

Leonelli, Keynote, International Conference “Beyond Quantity”, Paris, October 21-22 2022: “The Qualitative Side of Automation: Lessons from the Reproducibility Debate”.

Leonell, Invited talk, Les jeudis de l’histoire et de la philosophie de la science, Paris, October 20 2022: “Globalising local knowledge beyond extractive epistemologies: Lessons from crop data science”

Leonelli, Invited talk, International Workshop “Scientific Knowledge Across Jurisdictions: Traceability, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), and Scientific Policy in a Multicultural World”, University of Edinburgh, October 11 2022: “Whither transnational science? Moving research data across communities and borders”

Leonelli, Keynote, International Conference “Engaging Ethics and Epistemology of Science” (EES 2022), University of Hannover, September 28-29 2022: ‘The Ethics of Empiricism’

Leonelli, Invited talk, Workshop “Science and its Others: Histories of ethno-science from the 18th century to the present-day”, University of Cambridge, September 19-20 2022: “Globalising local plant knowledge: Cassava research in 21th century crop science”.

Leonelli, Invited Enabling Openness in Australian Stem Cell Research (EOAR) seminar, University of Adelaide, September 14 2022: “Big and Open Data: Mind the Gaps”.

Leonelli, Invited talk, European Advanced School for Philosophy of the Life Sciences, University of Bordeaux, September 5-9 2022: “Handling biological, social and scientific complexity: Reflections on crop science”

Leonelli, Keynote & Anchor Teacher, WTMC Summer School 2022 “Opening Up Diversity”, August 22-26 2022: Five lectures delivered under the school theme.

Leonelli, Invited talk, Joint PHIL_OS/ISEED Roundtable “Good Science Across Diversity of Research Environments”, Università Cà Foscari, Venice, July 7 2022: “Citizen Science, Openness and the Diversity of Research Environments”

Leonelli, Contributed talk, Society for the Philosophy of Science in Practice 2022, University of Ghent, July 2-4: “Openness as Disruption: Epistemic Injustice in Crop Data Linkage”

Leonelli, Invited talk, University of Hannover, 17-18 June 2022: “Does Open Science Need Philosophy?”

Leonelli, Invited talk, Technische Universität Berlin, 13 June 2022: “Data Absence and the Failures of Big Data Empiricism”

Leonelli, Invited talk, International Conference “The Philosophy of Data Science: Data Science Governance”, Centre for Human and Machine Intelligence, University of Frankfurt, 10-11 June 2022: “Governing Data Circulation: An Underrated Concern for Scientific Inquiry”

Leonelli, Keynote, Reproducibility Conference, Belgian Royal Academy of Science, Brussels, June 1 2022: “The Many Faces of Reproducibility”.

Leonelli, Invited talk, Department of Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin, 18 May 2022: “Datafication and Scientific Discovery: From Presence to Absence”

Leonelli, Keynote, STS Conference Graz 2022 “Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies”, May 2-4 2022: “Open Science Beyond ‘Sharing”video

Leonelli, Invited seminar, Digital Humanities Centre Series, Freie Universität Berlin, April 27 2022: “Datafication and the Practice of Discovery” (cancelled due to surgery)

Leonelli, Invited lecture, Seminar Series “Taming the Machines”, Research Group “Ethics in IT”, University of Hamburg, April 6 2022: “Trouble in the (big) data house” 

Leonelli, Invited seminar, Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), University of Michigan, April 4 2022: “Beyond Access: Framing the Use of Big and Open Data for Research”

Invited seminar, Deutsche Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftforschung (DZHW), 30 March 2022: “What is the Trouble with Open Science?”

Leonelli, Keynote, International Conference Development Counts: Data Skills for International Development Careers”, 16 March 2022: “Big and open data for development: Mind the gaps”

Leonelli, Invited seminar, Colloquium Series of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, March 15 2022: “Wither Open Science?”

Leonelli, Invited talk, Westminster Higher Education Forum Policy Conference ‘Next steps for the Research Excellence Framework’, March 11 2022: “Open Science from Theory to Practice”

Williamson and Leonelli, Invited speakers, DivSeek Annual General Meeting, January 19 2022: “Globalising Plant Knowledge through Transnational Data Management” (with Hugh Williamson, presenting).

Leonelli, Panellist on The Vision for Data Spaces, High Level Panel on Future Data Space, FAIR Digital Objects Forum, January 19 2022. (400 audience)

Leonelli, Invited speaker, KLI seminar “Seeing Through COVID-19”, Austria (remote), January 13 2022: “Responses to the pandemic within history and philosophy of biology”.

Leonelli, Invited talk, Joint Centre for Environmental Intelligence Conference, University of Exeter, December 16-17 2021: “Steps Towards Intelligent Openness”

Leonelli, Invited talk, GEOS Seminar, University of Wageningen, 9 December 2021: “The Dilemmas of Openness: Sharing Knowledge Across Research Environments”

Leonelli, Keynote, Conference on Statistics, Data and Scientific Integrity, Flemish Interuniversity Council, VUB Brussels, 29 November 2021: “Research Integrity, Data Quality and Fair FAIR Data” 

Leonelli, Invited panelist, High Level Workshop “Research Culture in the ERA: Ensuring the Attractiveness of the Research Sector for Current and Future Generations”, Science Europe, Luxemburg, 24 November 2021:

Leonelli, Keynote, 1st International TRIPLE Conference “Empowering Discovery in Open Social Science and Humanities”, Polish Academy of Sciences, 22 November 2021: “Openness in the social sciences and humanities: lessons to and from the natural sciences”

Leonelli, Invited panelist, History of Science Society Conference (HSS 2021), Panel “The Future of Open Access in the History of Science, Technology and Society”, November 19 2021.

Leonelli, Contributed talk, Symposium “Opening Up Open Science”, Philosophy of Science Association 2020 meeting in Baltimore, November 15 2021: “Open Science and Epistemic Diversity: Friends or Foes?” (postponed from 2020)

Leonelli, Invited seminar, College de France, November 12 2021: “COVID research in a transnational perspective”

Leonelli, Invited talk at VolkswagenStiftung Symposium for Breakthroughs in the Social Science and Humanities (as a Winner in that category), Falling Walls Conference 2021, November 8: “Breaking Walls for Understanding Data”

Leonelli, Invited talk at Informal Advisory Group on Digital Sequence Information informing negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework (Convention for Biological Diversity COP 15), October 2021: “Intelligent Data Sharing”

Leonelli, Invited Panellist for Ada Lovelace Institute Webinar Series “Data for the Public Good”, October 14 2021: “Lessons Learnt from COVID-19: How should data usage during the pandemic shape the future?” Evidence Base of Artificial Intelligence: Supporting Data Fairness to Enhance Research Quality”

Invited speaker, “Data Democratization”, Data Sharing Seminar Series for Societies, 1 October, video

Invited seminar, History and Philosophy of Science Department at University of Indiana Bloomington, September 30: “Can – and should – philosophy help to “open” science?”

Keynote, Annual Conference (Jahresversammlung) of the Leopoldina “Biodiversität und die Zukunft der Vielfalt”, German National Academy of Sciences, Halle, September 23-24: “Reframing Biodiversity from the Data Up: Challenges from Plant Data Semantics” (postponed from 2020)

Invited talk, Symposium “Science Policies, Research Funding, and the Future of the University,” Biennial Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA 2021), Torino, September 18: “Research Excellence”.

Invited commentary, Symposium ‘Scientific Evidence and Expertise in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond”, Biennial Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA 2021), Torino, September 17.

Keynote, UK Association for Studies of Innovation, Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK) 2021 Conference “Infrastructures, Institutions and Cultures: New Relations and New Challenges”, September 9-10: “The Open Data Challenge: Cultural, Institutional and Infrastructural Dilemmas of Data Sharing”

Keynote, Conference “Giornate di Epidemiologia Carlo Corchia”, University of Florence, September 9: “Open Science”

Leonelli, Keynote, INGSA2021 International Conference ‘Building Back Wiser: Knowledge, Policy and Publics in Dialogue’, August 30 – September 2. Q&A Plenary with Daniel Sarewitz: “Evidence and Democracy”.

Leonelli, Contributed talk, ISHPSSB 2021, July 15: “From philosophy of plant data to international science policy and back”.

Leonelli, Keynote, Plenary Session “Open science, data sharing and solidarity: who benefits?”, ISHPSSB 2021, July 14.

Leonelli, Keynote, Annual meeting of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, July 7 2021: “Data and the Quest for Facts”.

Leonelli, Keynote, Joint CEPE/IACAP 2021 Conference: The Philosophy and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence organised by International Association of Computing and Philosophy and the International Society of Ethics and Information Technology, University of Hamburg, July 5 2021: “Pandemic Data Science: What Have We Learnt?”

Williamson, Invited seminar, ‘From Field to Byte: Digging into the Plant Science Data Landscape, Digital Humanities Lab seminar series, University of Exeter, 17 November 2021

Williamson, ‘Post-Genomic Plant Breeding: Shifting Expertise and Agricultural Knowledge in a Data-Driven Regime.’ Presentation at Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) conference, ‘Expert/Knowledge Politics in Food and Agriculture’ panel, 9 October 2021 (virtual).

Williamson, ‘Consolidating Plant Breeding Databases: Molecular Breeding and the Integration of International Agricultural Research.’ Invited presentation, Trajectories of Big Data Platforms workshop. University of Edinburgh, 14 September 2021.

Williamson, ‘Mapping Plant Data Communities: Challenges for Engaging Scientists and Policymakers’. Presentation at International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) conference, ‘Plant data science between policy and technology’ panel. July 14 2021.

Leonelli, Contributed talk, Conference Historical Perspectives on the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), University of Cambridge, June 28: ”Describing Crops in the CGIAR Era” (with Helen Curry).

Leonelli, Keynote, Research Ethics Conference, Exeter, June 25 2021: "Where Is Ethics in Research Practice?"

Leonelli, Invited panellist, Panel on Open Access, Launch Event of “Basic Research Programme”, National Science Centre, Poland, June 17 2021.

Leonelli, Invited speaker, Data Science & AI Day: Green Futures Conference, G7 Meeting in Cornwall, June 11 2021: “What do the data say about.. open and responsible science to cope with a changing planet?”

Leonelli, Invited seminar, POLICY AID Final Conference, University of Copenhagen, June 4 2021: “Data Linkage in Times of Pan(dem)ic: Towards Socially Robust Interventions”

Leonelli, Invited speaker, Edinburgh Futures Institute Seminar Series, University of Edinburgh, May 27 2021: “Big Data and the Nature of Scientific Inquiry”

Invited speaker, Conference on Agricultural Rights and Open Science, University of Trento, May 22: “Aprire I Campi? La Gestione Trasnazionale Dei Dati per l’Agricoltura di Precisione” (Opening the fields? The Transnational Governance of Data for Precision Agriculture).

Leonell, IRSA Distinguished Lecture, Conference “Big Data and Reproducibility”, Institute for Research on Statistics and its Applications and Minnesota Centre for the Philosophy of Science, May 6-8 2021: “Reproducing Reproducibility: The Role of Research Environments”.

Leonelli, Contributed talk, Conference “Philosophy of Plant Science”, Egenis, Exeter, May 5-7 2021: “Process-Sensitive Naming: Crop Descriptors and the Shifting Semantics of Plant (Data) Science”.

Williamson, Contributed talk, ‘Putting Markers in Their Place: Population Construction and Improvement in Contemporary Plant Breeding’. Paper presented at Philosophy of Plant Biology workshop. University of Exeter, 5 May 2021.

Leonelli and Williamson, Invited speaker, GODAN Webinar, April 28 2021: “Making Crop Data Sharing Responsible and Reliable:  How Social Intelligence Fuels Ethical Data Management Strategies for Precision Agriculture”

Leonell, Keynote, Boston University Graduate Student Philosophy Conference, April 23 2021: “Where to Go with the Philosophy of Data?”

Leonelli, Invited panellist, Festival dei Diritti Umani 2021 (Italian Festival of Human Rights) on “Algoritmocrazia” (Algorithmocracy), April 21.

Leonelli, Invited speaker, Symposium “A Critical Analysis of the Scientific Reform Movement” organised by the Centre for Open Science, April 20: “The Scientific and Social Implications of Implementing Open Science Policies and Procedures”.

Williamson and Leonelli, Contributed talk, Conference on Responsible Data Linkage, The Alan Turing Institute & University of Exeter, March 26: “Responsibility Beyond Ethics and Infrastructures”

Leonell, Invited talk, Session “Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation”, AI UK 2021, March 24: “Making Data Work for the Planet”.

Leonelli, Keynote, International Conference “Digital Studies of Digital Science”, University of Louvain, March 15-17 2021: “Rethinking HPS through Digital Studies of Science", Video

Leonelli, Invited panellist, Symposium ”Data, Society, and Open Science III: Challenges for data management and data-based research”, European Open Science Cloud seminar series, March 1 2021.

Leonelli, Invited talk, University of British Columbia, STS Seminar series, February 24 2021 (online lecture): "Data Science in Times of Pan(dem)ic" 

Leonelli, Invited panellist, Conversation on Covid and Global Health, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, 12 February 2021: "Beyond Global Health? Diasporic Perspectives on Health and Social Justice" (delivered remotely)

Leonelli, Invited talk, Seminar series of the Institute for Science in Society of Radboud University, January 26 2021: ”Reproducibility Rewired: The Dangers of Technical Fixes in Times of Pan(dem)ic”

Leonelli, Invited panellist, Symposium on Open Access in Philosophy of Science, January 13 2021 (online seminar): ”Why Open Access Matters”

Leonelli, Invited talk, GCRF Blue Communities Seminar Series, January 11 2021: ”How data governance supports good science” (online seminar, 120 participants)

Sabina Leonelli, Contributed talk at IGAD Seminar, Research Data Alliance, Helsinki, October 22-25 2019: “Intelligent Plant Data Linkage: A View from History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science”

Sabina Leonelli, Invited panellist at Springer/Wellcome Trust Conference “Better Science through Better Data 2019” (#scidata19), panel “Who is afraid of data misuse?”, London, November 6 2019.

Sabina Leonelli, Invited speaker at Sawyer Seminar "Information Ecosystems: Creating Data (and Absence) From the Quantitative to the Digital Age”, Humanities Centre, University of Pittsburgh, November 14 2019: “Data In and Out of Information Ecosystems: Lessons from the Study of Data Journeys”  

Sabina Leonelli, Keynote at Cidacs anniversary celebration, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, December 6 2019: “Placing AI at the service of public health: The role of data management and linkage” 

Hugh Williamson and Sabina Leonelli, Invited talk at International Plant and Animal Genome conference (PAG) 2020, Workshop on “Challenges and Opportunities in Plant Science Data Management”, January 11-15 2020, San Diego: “Tracking data linkage for intelligent and responsible reuse”

Sabina Leonelli, Invited speaker at Francis Bacon Conference “Transnational Transactions: Negotiating the Movement of Knowledge Across Borders”, Caltech, Pasadena, February 19-22: “How Data Cross Borders: Globalising Plant Knowledge through Transnational Data Management”

Sabina Leonelli and Hugh Williamson, Invited Webinar, Webinar Series on Agriculture, Research Data Alliance (RDA) & Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), April 9: “Intelligent Plant Data Linkage: A View from History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science”. URL:

Hugh Williamson and Sabina Leonelli, Invited talk, The CogX Global Leadership Summit and Festival of AI & Breakthrough Technology 2020, Session Data Science for Science: “Plant and Agricultural Science”, June 11 (with Hugh Williamson)

Sabina Leonelli, Keynote, Advances in Data Science Conference, University of Manchester, June 22-23 2020: “Intelligent Data Linkage and Distributed Semantics for (Big) Data Interpretation

Sabina Leonelli, Invited speaker, Synthace industry webinarThe Metadata Responsibility”, 25 August 2020: “Understanding Data Science through Data Journeys”

Sabina Leonelli, Keynote, Opening Plenary SymposiumScience at the Speed of a Pandemic”, 2020 (Virtual) FORCE11, Scholarly Communications Institute, August 3 2020.

Hugh Williamson and Sabina Leonelli, Contributed talk, Political Ecology Network Conference POLLEN 2020, September 23 2020: “Speed, Statistics and Speed: Implications of Focusing Plant Breeding on Genetic Gain”.

Invited speaker, Falling Walls Circle Table “The Understanding of the Scientific Method in the 21st Century”, organised by the European Research Council for the World Science Forum, November 5 2020

Sabina Leonelli and Gavin Shaddick, Keynote, Conference “UK-China Tech for Global Good Roundtable: Climate, Clean and Green Tech”, British Embassy in Beijing, October 28 2020: “AI for the Green Agenda: What Data Landscape Do We Need?” 

Sabina Leonelli Keynote, Society for Computation in Psychology, virtual annual conference, November 19 2020: ”Prospects for the Automation of Research: Reproducibility and Human Agency”.

Sabina Leonelli, Invited lecture, Data Ethics Webinar Series, University of Oregon, December 9: “Data Science in Times of Pan(dem)ic: From FAIR Data to Fair Data Use” (delivered remotely)

Hugh Williamson and Sabina Leonelli, Contributed talk, International FAIR Convergence Symposium, Session “Plant Data Semantics and Food Security: Incorporating Local Imperatives into FAIR Data Linkage Tools”, Paris, November 30 2020: “FAIR Data and Climate-Adaptive Plant Breeding”

Recent updates

December 2019

16 December: AI between Plant and Agricultural Science: Green Paths towards Environmental Intelligence

This one-day workshop will bring together experts in the plant and agricultural sciences who are working with complex datasets spanning genomic, physiological and environmental data and computational methods of analysis with data scientists interested in the application of cutting-edge technologies to this field. The workshop aims to map future directions for:

  1. Developing and consolidating the Turing Institute’s capabilities in the area of data science for plant science
  2. Integrating plant science within emerging networks of Environmental Intelligence.

Particular emphasis will be given to mapping the current needs of the plant and agricultural science community, in order to establish a guiding framework for the efficient and responsive deployment of data science and artificial intelligence resources in those fields. Short research presentations will be followed by an extended discussion format, which will provide a forum for identifying possible collaborations and developing proposals for project applications.

Download the detailed agenda here

November 2020

Plant Data Semantics and Food Security: Incorporating Local Imperatives into FAIR Data Linkage Tools at the International FAIR Convergence Symposium,  November 30 2020: “FAIR Data and Climate-Adaptive Plant Breeding” 

March 2021

Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: This workshop series brought together leading researchers from the plant and agricultural sciences with scholars from the history, philosophy and social studies of science to discuss the challenges of plant data linkage. More information and video of workshop presentations can be accessed at our website. Proceedings will be collected into an edited volume for publication in 2022.

Researchers and collaborators

Contact info

[email protected]