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.