The importance of
the rice crop for global food security cannot be overstated
: it is consumed daily by around half of the world’s population for whom it is an essential source of calories. Most of these consumers reside in Asia where population is increasing and availability of land for rice production is diminishing. There is a clear need to improve yield per hectare  dramatically on existing land and
to improve responses to challenges posed by the changing climate, for example the increasing severity and unpredictability of stressful events such as drought flooding and heatwaves (IPCC, 2007).

Rice is vulnerable to abiotic stress events that reduce grain yield. For example heat stress can increase sterility, impose a reduction in growth rate and reduce photosynthetic rate. There is currently great interest in sustaining growth and developmental of rice during these events as shown by existing programmes in photosynthesis of rice (www.c4rice.irri.org). Protection of photosynthesis during abiotic stress can be achieved by a plethora of physiological processes that act to reduce the generation of damaging oxygen radicals and prevent photoinhibition.

An integrated approach is required so that new traits for stress tolerance can be discovered.

This workshop will bring together rice scientists from Thailand with experts on stress physiology and genetics from the UK and elsewhere. A fruitful exchange of expertise will occur and it is expected that projects and funding will develop from the meeting that can improve (a) our understanding of oxidative stress in rice and (b) the rate of trait discovery and the generation of rice lines tolerant to a wide range of abiotic stress (c) disseminate useful techniques that can be used in the area of phenomics. We propose the formation of  a new “Rice oxidative stress consortium”.