Grand challenges in entomology: Priorities for action in the coming decades

Sarah H. Luke*, Helen E. Roy, Chris D. Thomas, Luke A.N. Tilley, Simon Ward, Allan Watt, Manuela Carnaghi, Coline C. Jaworski, Maximillian P.T.G. Tercel, Charlie Woodrow, Susmita Aown, Jennifer A. Banfield-Zanin, Sarah L. Barnsley, Iris Berger, Mark J.F. Brown, James C. Bull, Heather Campbell, Ruth A.B. Carter, Magda Charalambous, Lorna J. ColeMartin J. Ebejer, Rachel A. Farrow, Rajendra S. Fartyal, Miriam Grace, Fiona Highet, Jane K. Hill, Amelia S.C. Hood, Eleanor S. Kent, Frank Thorsten Krell, Simon R. Leather, Daniel J. Leybourne, Nick A. Littlewood, Ashley Lyons, Graham Matthews, Louise Mc Namara, Rosa Menéndez, Peter Merrett, Sajidha Mohammed, Archie K. Murchie, Michael Noble, Maria Rosa Paiva, Michael J. Pannell, Chooi Khim Phon, Gordon Port, Charlotte Powell, Stewart Rosell, Francisca Sconce, Chris R. Shortall, Eleanor M. Slade, Jamie P. Sutherland, Lynn Dicks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Entomology is key to understanding terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems at a time of unprecedented anthropogenic environmental change and offers substantial untapped potential to benefit humanity in a variety of ways, from improving agricultural practices to managing vector-borne diseases and inspiring technological advances. We identified high priority challenges for entomology using an inclusive, open, and democratic four-stage prioritisation approach, conducted among the membership and affiliates (hereafter ‘members’) of the UK-based Royal Entomological Society (RES). A list of 710 challenges was gathered from 189 RES members. Thematic analysis was used to group suggestions, followed by an online vote to determine initial priorities, which were subsequently ranked during an online workshop involving 37 participants. The outcome was a set of 61 priority challenges within four groupings of related themes: (i) ‘Fundamental Research’ (themes: Taxonomy, ‘Blue Skies’ [defined as research ideas without immediate practical application], Methods and Techniques); (ii) ‘Anthropogenic Impacts and Conservation’ (themes: Anthropogenic Impacts, Conservation Options); (iii) ‘Uses, Ecosystem Services and Disservices’ (themes: Ecosystem Benefits, Technology and Resources [use of insects as a resource, or as inspiration], Pests); (iv) ‘Collaboration, Engagement and Training’ (themes: Knowledge Access, Training and Collaboration, Societal Engagement). Priority challenges encompass research questions, funding objectives, new technologies, and priorities for outreach and engagement. Examples include training taxonomists, establishing a global network of insect monitoring sites, understanding the extent of insect declines, exploring roles of cultivated insects in food supply chains, and connecting professional with amateur entomologists. Responses to different challenges could be led by amateur and professional entomologists, at all career stages. Overall, the challenges provide a diverse array of options to inspire and initiate entomological activities and reveal the potential of entomology to contribute to addressing global challenges related to human health and well-being, and environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-189
Number of pages17
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Issue number2
Early online date20 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2023


  • climate change
  • conservation
  • disease vector
  • ecosystem services
  • education
  • funding and research priorities
  • insect biodiversity
  • insect taxonomy
  • land use
  • pest control


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