Warwick Crop Centre director Dr Rosemary Collier told Grower: "We will certainly be applying. We are already well used to working with industry through the HortLINK and Industry Partnership Awards programme, and are set up for both the practical research funded by the Horticultural Development Company and the more fundamental science that the BBSRC usually funds. In the past though, there has been a funding gap between these two."
Dr Nigel Kerby, managing director of Mylnefield Research Services, a partner of the James Hutton Institute, added: "This funding is a great opportunity to work with industry and to understand and address its needs and challenges. We will be making applications to fund research in partnership with industry."
Stockbridge Technology chief executive Centre Graham Ward said: "It's welcome news. The BBSRC has listened and is willing to try a different method of distributing research. Usually it would assess researchers by academic output, but they must have technology transfer arrangements in place - that's what they're under pressure from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills to do. Normally the funding doesn't reach muddy-boots people like us."
International plant science research is to be better coordinated internationally with the launch of ERA-CAPS, a new EU-funded network of 26 partners from 23 countries who will pool resources and expertise to address global challenges such as food security.
The network will be coordinated by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and is expected to fund two calls for collaborative research projects, each to involve researchers in three or more of the partner nations, as well as organising workshops and data sharing among partners.