Dear Colleagues,

The NSF-funded[1] Plant Science Research Network (PSRN), which comprises fourteen diverse professional societies and organizations, is pleased to provide you with a document describing 20-year scenarios for plant science. The report is the outcome of a September 2016 PSRN workshop held at HHMI, and it is intended to provide a broad-based, plant science-oriented resource for planning research, education and training activities. Read the scenarios: Imagining Science in 2035.

Scenarios are different than typical projections, in that they offer alternative stories about the future that are used collectively to develop strategies. The PSRN, building on the 2013 Decadal Vision for plant science, has used the scenarios to support workshops on cyberinfrastructure[3] and postgraduate training. They could equally be applied to academic structures, science policy, public-private partnerships, and more. Scenarios can sometimes appear to be extreme, which is a deliberate method to stretch thinking. Even so, we believe that some elements of the various scenarios are beginning to be realized. Whether we like the future or not, we need to prepare for it.

Because scenario thinking is a relatively new tool distinct from strategic planning, the PSRN has created a collection to support the community in use of the scenarios, and where users of the scenarios can report their experiences. PSRN leadership is also available to discuss our own experience, and how scenarios might be employed. We are already aware of several follow-on uses.

I hope that you will find this document of interest, and I invite you to pass it on to anyone who you believe might find it useful or inspirational. I believe that whatever challenges science may face, it is appropriate that the plant community build consensus and exhibit leadership in meeting those challenges.

On behalf of the PSRN leadership:

David Stern (PI), Crispin Taylor (co-PI), Vanessa Greenlee (Broadening Participation Coordinator), Natalie Henkhaus (Executive Coordinator)

[1] The Plant Science Research Network receives funding from National Science Foundation award #IOS-1514765

[2] Resulting conclusions were submitted to NSF CI 2030 RFI