BBSRC welcomes £7 million research boost

New industry-focussed research funding will help foster collaboration between researchers and industry with a view to producing bigger yields of high quality food products, according to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

An AHDB statement said the £7m in funding announced by the Biotechnology & Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) last week represented an opportunity for industry to work with leading researchers to "bridge the gap between basic science and crop production systems to sustainably deliver increased productivity and consistent, high quality food products".

The funding will be available for research related to horticulture and potatoes and requires projects that have scientific importance and industry relevance.

The BBSRC is asking companies to contribute 10 per cent, of which five per cent must be in cash.

Chief executive of the AHDB Tom Taylor said collaboration between researchers and industry is essential for the development of "practical business solutions".

"This BBSRC initiative will help focus the research and development community towards addressing real cross sector opportunities and challenges," he said.

"At AHDB our specialist teams are then well placed to help maximise the uptake of the research outcomes to improve the efficiency and productivity of agricultural and horticultural businesses."

Potato Council head of R&D Mike Storey said: "Topic areas such as soils, pest, pathogens and resource use efficiency are relevant to industry, and levy payer engagement in this initiative will ensure that new knowledge is harnessed for maximum benefit"

Horticultural Development Company head of R&D Jon Knight said the funding offered a "fundamental mechanism to deliver real impact to industry through excellent science."

BBSRC will be holding a "consortia-building" workshop on 28 February to bring together interested companies and researchers to discuss potential project proposals.

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