Funding awarded for research projects

Other work is under way after the BBSRC, along with the Natural Environment Research Council, and 12 industry partners agreed to fund six research projects to improve the sustainability of UK farming.  Among the funded studies is work to improve the drought tolerance of wheat, research to determine the best foodstuffs for ruminant animal health and production, and a project focused on optimising the use of buffer strips to enhance water quality. Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation and Skills, said: “These studies will help address important challenges for the UK’s farming industry, which is worth billions to our economy, and help progress towards sustainable agricultural systems for the future.”

Iain Gillespie, NERC Director of Science and Innovation, said: “In the 21st Century the global food system faces significant pressures, not least from world population growth and climate change. These projects will help equip the agriculture industry with the knowledge and expertise it needs to find sustainable and affordable ways of meeting these challenges. “By working with industry to identify big scientific questions and translate research into practical solutions, we can help ensure our world-leading science continues to deliver tangible benefits for our economy and society.”

The funded projects are:

• Increasing wheat drought tolerance and recovery throughout the life cycle through regulation of plant growth mechanisms – Professor Matthew Paul, Rothamsted Research

• Future-proofing our breeding goals – Breeding for climate resilience in UK dairy systems – Professor Eileen Wall, Scotland’s Rural College

• Magnesium Network (MAG-NET): Integrating Soil-Crop-Animal Pathways to Improve Ruminant Health – Professor Martin Broadley, The University of Nottingham working with colleagues at Aberystwyth University and NERC British Geological Survey

• Impacts of different vegetation in riparian buffer strips on hydrology and water quality – Professor Adrian Collins, Rothamsted Research

• Reduced Stomatal Density Wheat: New Prospects for Drought and Pathogen Resistance – Professor Julie Gray, The University of Sheffield working with colleagues at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany

• Diverse forage mixtures to optimise ruminant animal production, nutrient use efficiency, environmental impact, biodiversity, and resilience – Professor Chris Reynolds, University of Reading, working with colleagues at Rothamsted Research