Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CPPS News April 2011

News from within the Partnership:

Funding received for improving photosynthesis to increase food and fuel production

Scientists in the UK (including from Plant Sciences Cambridge, Rothamsted and John Innes) and USA have been awarded £6.11M of funding to improve the process of photosynthesis. Four transatlantic research teams will look into ways to overcome limitations in photosynthesis which could then lead to ways of significantly increasing the yield of important crops for food production or sustainable bioenergy. Read more.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics publishes Report

Biofuels: ethical issues

The latest report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Biofuels: ethical issues, can be accessed at: .

The report considers the ethical, social and policy issues raised by biofuels. The rapid adoption of biofuels has been driven by targets and other policy instruments, but first generation biofuels have been widely criticised. There are ongoing efforts to develop new biofuels that aim to avoid the problems of the past, and research into these new approaches should be supported. The report concludes that many biofuels policies fail to take account of important ethical principles, such as protecting human rights, environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, just reward, and equitable distribution of costs and benefits. It sets out an ethical framework for both current and future biofuels production and makes a number of recommendations to policy makers.

Plant scientists to train in entrepreneurial skills for food security

The Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) - a business plan competition for early career researchers - is pleased to announce a brand new workshop for plant, microbial and environmental scientists entering the scheme. These researchers will acquire the necessary skills to develop research in a commercial setting such that their science can be translated into products, processes and policies that will help avoid a future food security crisis and improve sustainability in the context of a changing environment.

The workshop will be run at Syngenta's Jealott's Hill International Research Centre near Bracknell and is a partnership between the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Syngenta.

Applications close on 27 May 2011 and the workshop will be held in October. For more information, visit http://www.biotechnologyyes.co.uk/.

If you have any events, news or advertisements you would like to see included in the next newsletter please email bgs21@cam.ac.uk (deadline for inclusion in next newsletter is 10am on 16 May 2011).

Funding Opportunities

TSB Sustainable Agriculture Call

Closes: 11 May 2011

The call has two interrelated core themes:

* Increasing domestic supply of sustainably produced vegetable protein for farmed animals (including land and marine based aquaculture)
* Increasing production efficiency and sustainability of domestically supplied animal and fish protein for food, and reducing waste in the food chain to the point of retail sale.

The projects should be business-led and seek to develop new products or processes. Most of the funding is expected to be allocated to proposals in the applied R&D (attracting up to 50% funding) or experimental development (up to 25% funding) categories.

For further information see: http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/sustainable-protein-production.ashx

TSB Nutrition for Life Call

This call aims to stimulate innovation in the food and drink sector.

Opens: 9 May 2011 - Closes: 29 June 2011

£6.25m will be available to support feasibility and collaborative R&D projects that enable the development of innovative technologies and processes, with an emphasis on the provision of 'healthy' and 'safe' foods. Proposals should be business led and must clearly present the benefits to business.

Up to £500k is available for small-scale technical feasibility studies in early stage, high risk, applied research, with each project attracting up to £25k funding. Projects may be undertaken by a single business or with one other entity (either business or academia), and are expected to last three to six months.

Up to £5.75m is available for collaborative R&D projects that are led by a business of any size and undertaken by consortia comprising at least two partners (either business or academia). Total project costs will be £100k – £500k and they are likely to last between one and three years.

For further information see: http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/nutrition-for-life.ashx.