Tag Archives: agriculture

TSB: Engineering solutions to enhance agri-food production

The Technology Strategy Board, together with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and Scottish Government, is offering up to £13m for businesses to develop engineering solutions across the agri-food supply chain.

This competition will draw on all facets of engineering science to advance the sustainable intensification of primary agriculture, and raise product quality and process efficiency in food manufacturing. We are particularly keen to encourage engagement with sectors such as space, ICT and electronics sensors & photonics, which may not have fully recognised opportunities that exist for applying technologies throughout the agri-food supply chain.

Project proposals must be business-led and collaborative. The TSB is primarily seeking to fund industrial research, with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). The TSB expects most projects to range in size from £500k to £1.5m, with the maximum total project size being around £2m.

The CR&D competition is a two-stage process and opens on 23 September 2013. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is at noon on 6 November 2013.

For more details, please visit the competition’s website, or contact Research & Income Generation Support at Research & Enterprise.

Wellcome Trust: Sustaining Health

Humanity faces profound questions about how our planet can sustain nine billion people by 2050. With the trend of urbanisation, the majority of the world’s population now live in cities. There is a global nutrition crisis, with dual problems of undernutrition and obesity. Meanwhile, environmental and population changes have major implications for issues including food and nutrition security, access to clean water and sanitation, and natural disasters. In meeting these challenges and delivering culturally, socially and economically appropriate solutions, research has a critical role to play.

The Wellcome Trust are pleased to launch our Sustaining Health awards scheme, with a call for proposals for pilot research projects in this broad area. This call supports small awards in the order of £250 000 (exceptionally up to £500 000) for up to two years.

Aims of the awards

  • These small awards are designed to open up research avenues that will ultimately lead to work with a significant impact on human health. Pilot projects may address any aspect of the interplay between health, environment and nutrition, but a focus on health is key. Projects are not required to cover issues related to both environment and nutrition.
  • Our scoping work highlighted the explosion of data in the public and private domains, and the importance of harnessing its value for society. In recognition of this, we would particularly like to see proposals with the potential to unlock the power of data by making it more relevant, available, accessible and useful (e.g. by formatting to permit inter-linkage). The size of these awards makes them well suited to projects that exploit existing datasets or pilot novel approaches to data collection and exploration.
  • Projects outside of this theme, but relevant to the Sustaining Health area in other ways, are also welcomed.

We expect these awards to stimulate collaborations and build capacity for interdisciplinary research. We believe that high-quality research in this area requires the development of new interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships, particularly between biomedical (including public health) researchers and those working in social, economic, environmental, climate, agricultural, development and computer sciences.

For more information, or to apply, please visit Wellcome’s website or contact Research and Income Generation Support at Research & Enterprise.

Horizon 2020: Presentations Available from Seminar on Food Security and Agriculture Research

Following a recent UKRO update on food security, agriculture, biotechnology and marine research in Horizon 2020, presentations from a recent Brussels event on this subject have been made available.

The presentations, some of which were delivered by representatives of different European Commission DGs, can be consulted in tandem with the previous UKRO article indicated below. 

They cover topics including:

  • The role of the Joint Research Centre in supporting global food security into the future
  • Horizon 2020 and the Bioeconomy Strategy: policy, initiatives and participants
  • Agricultural research and food security in Horizon 2020
  • The environmental perspective on food security research
  • Plant science contribution to agricultural research and food security
Additional Information

New BBSRC Call: Crop-Improvement Research Club

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has announced a new £7.06M, 5-year partnership “aimed at supporting innovative and excellent research to underpin the development of improved crop varieties.” This is a collaborative venture between the BBSRC, the Scottish Government and leading companies, including BASF Plant Science Company, Monsanto, and Limagrain UK:

BBSRC: Crop-Improvement Research Club

Worldwide food security is becoming an increasingly important issue and is a major strategic priority for BBSRC. An increasing global population combined with global climate change, the potential spread of newly emerging diseases of livestock and crops, and economic issues such as the volatility of oil prices threaten global food security and an urgent response is required. To coordinate research efforts in this area we are leading the development of a food security programme together with other funders.

As a result of discussion with industry and direction from our Bioscience for Industry Strategy Panel, crop improvement has been identified as an area where increased investment in research activity would underpin the needs of the crop production and processing industry to address the challenges of climate change and food security.

To bring together industry and the research community to support research in the area of crop improvement BBSRC, the Scottish Government and industry have launched a Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC). CIRC will support research on oilseed rape,barley and wheat and their uses in food production for humans and animals.

Focus areas for CIRC include:

  • Increasing nutrient use efficiency
  • Combating pests and diseases
  • Increasing yield potential
  • Seed structure and composition
  • Germination properties
  • Spoilage factors

This call will specifically target:

  • Wheat quality
  • Towards a step-change redesign of crops
  • Crop-soil interactions
  • Crop protection

Further information is given at the link above. In particular any potential applicants must read the Second Call Detailed information Document thoroughly to understand the specific areas to be addressed in this call.

Funding is for up to five years and significant collaboration with relevant industrial and research institutions would be expected.

This call has a two-stage application process. The deadline for outline applications is 29th June 2011 and those who are invited to submit full applications must do so by 9th November 2011.

UK Launches Major Food Research Strategy

food2030-logoThe food research strategy, unveiled by the UK Chief Scientific Adviser John Beddington,  involves collaboration between government departments, research councils (particularly BBSRC), industry and charities. The strategy aims to establish an “integrated community of researchers” across the UK to tackle food security and related research topics.

UK Cross-Government Food Research Strategy (PDF)

Relevant initiatives include:

  • a new multi-partner food security research programme, co-ordinated by BBSRC and delivered jointly with relevant Research Councils and government departments, and including close engagement with industry and the third sector. Key aims include strengthening research coordination and partnerships, building a more integrated community of researchers, funders and users that extends across disciplines, organisations and sectors, to provide multi-disciplinary research to ensure a sustainable and secure food system; [Section 6.6]
  • a new Technology Strategy Board led Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform, co-funded by Defra and BBSRC with up to £90M over 5 years, to fund innovative technological research and development in areas such as crop productivity, sustainable livestock production, waste reduction and management, and greenhouse gas reduction; [Section 6.6]
  • to exploit opportunities in the European Research Area through co-ordination mechanisms such as ERA-NETs and Joint Programmes, and collaboration through the Research and Technology Development (RTD) Framework Programme more generally; [Section 6.6]
  • a new BBSRC Advanced Training Partnership scheme to provide a range of specialist high level training (masters, professional doctorate and continuous professional development) to meet industry needs in partnership with the higher and further education sectors; [Section 7.4]