Monday, December 17, 2012

Vacancy at NIAB

Research & SME liaison officer at NIAB

Closing date: 31/01/2013

Job details

NIAB Innovation Farm is a high profile project, with funding from ERDF and UK industry. The postholder will interact with UK Researchers and Innovators and identify and interact with small and medium sized companies based in the East of England to promote knowledge exchange, research collaboration and business growth. You will contribute to the achievement of ERDF targets and help develop the remit of Innovation Farm. You must be a self–starter, capable of working independently, with good interpersonal and communication skills and a flexible approach to work.

You should hold a first degree in a relevant subject with post-graduate experience/qualification in plant or crop sciences. A full driving licence or access to independent means of transport is essential.

Starting salary in the range £22,000-£28,000, dependent on skills, experience and qualifications. Company benefits include Group Income Protection, Stakeholder pension, generous holidays and free car parking. Initially, this will be a fixed term contract until 31 March 2015.

More information

Friday, December 7, 2012

Undergraduate placement opportunities in Germany

The BES Agricultural Ecology Specialist Group are involved with an international collaboration (funded by BiodivERsA) to do multi-taxa work on effects of farmland heterogeneity. Their German partners (Teja Tscharntke's group in Göttingen) have asked them to circulate the following, which involves fieldwork related to and as part of the international project:

We have the possibility to fund students from Canada, UK (and USA) for doing an internship. The funds come from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). We are looking for 2 undergraduate students to participate in the FarmLand field work in Göttingen. Our offers can be found in the DAAD database. The title of our offers: "Biodiversity and biological control in agricultural landscapes"” and "Pollinator diversity and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes".

The BiodivERsA project has a website.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cambridge University Farms Potato Agronomy Unit to transfer to NIAB

The Potato Agronomy Unit at Cambridge University Farms (CUF) is set to become part of NIAB in a move which strengthens the future of world-leading potato agronomy research at the Cambridge-based Unit, while opening up promising new areas of collaborative research to meet the future needs of UK potato growers and their customers.

Read the full news article

Monday, December 3, 2012

Events: November

Partner Events

2nd international fascination of plants day: 18 may 2013

UK Plant Sciences Federation calls for event organizers
We want to share the amazing world of plants with a wider audience, and engage in discussions about how plant sciences are helping to address global challenges - from food security to protecting biodiversity. We hope that the Fascination of Plants Day will inspire people to appreciate the importance of plants and to understand the relationship between the world of diverse plant life and a healthy population.
Events can include hands-on activities, talks, debates, nature walks and visits to farms or research facilities. Examples from last year can be found on the FoPD website Those unable to organise anything for 18 May can run events between 12 – 24 May.
CPPS plans to hold activities in Cambridge - if you are interested in participating, please get in touch with Bea
Further information
Useful Links:
The Society of Biology
The UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF)
The European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO)

NIAB Innovation Farm: Key Challenge Events 2013

Climate change: Growing whatever the weather - Wed, 26 June
Health and nutrition: Bio-fortification and dietary choice - Tue, 2 July
Sustainable resources: Growing more with less - Fri, 12 July
Food security: Meeting future energy and food demands - Thu, 18 July
If you would like to participate in any or all of these events but have not yet offered a contribution, this is your invitation to do so. You can contribute in a number of different ways:
• Give a talk or present a poster
• Supply us with demonstration materials for the Visitor centre and / or literature for visitors to take away
• Use the Innovation Farm for a specialist meeting organised and/or run by you
• Exhibit a relevant demonstration in our field or glasshouse and present it during one of our workshops
• Those of you who already have exhibits with us in 2013 may wish to select a particular topic/event at which you want to come and demonstrate in person.
Contact: or
Events are open to all.
Further information

General Events

UK PlantSci 2013: The annual conference of the UK Plant Sciences Federation

16 -17th April 2013 Dundee
UK PlantSci 2013 has been established to showcase the wealth of plants science undertaken in the UK.
The meeting will provide a unique arena for all those interested and working in the plant science sector e.g. cell biologists, industrialists, physiologists, ecologists, plant breeders, soil scientists and agriculturists to come together and share their knowledge and expertise.
Further information

News: November

Partner News

NIAB: Funding opens up NIAB wheat transformation resource to plant research community

NIAB has been awarded £620,000 to provide a community resource for wheat transformation.
The five-year project is funded by the BBSRC’s Biological and Bioinformatic Resources fund (BBR) and will give UK plant scientists free access to the most efficient public wheat transformation system currently available anywhere in the world.
Further information

JIC: Plant interaction with friendly bacteria gives pathogens their break

In two papers to be published in Current Biology, researchers from JIC and The Sainsbury Laboratory on the Norwich Research Park, and Rothamsted Research and the University of York identify genes that help plants interact with microbes in the soil.
Further information

RRes: Rothamsted Wheat Trial: Second generation GM technology to emulate natural plant defence mechanisms

Scientists from Rothamsted Research are conducting a controlled experiment, combining modern genetic engineering with their knowledge of natural plant defences to test whether wheat that can repel aphid attack works in the field.
Further information

ADAS: Testing the concept of sustainable intensification

The project on sustainable intensification (SI) was carried out by John Elliott of ADAS and Professor Les Firbank. It was commissioned by the inter-agency Land Use Policy Group (LUPG), a UK network of statutory environment and conservation agencies interested in the interplay between farming and the environment within the context of the concept of ecosystem services.
The LUPG SI project will contribute to the evidence base on SI and should help to inform the development of policy.
Further information

ADAS: Farmer engagement is key to improving water quality

Catchment management specialist David Johnson says water companies can make cost-effective improvements to water quality by targeted engagement with farmers to reduce diffuse pollution at source.
In a number of catchments ADAS is currently helping water companies work with farmers to implement practical mitigation strategies and subsequently gather evidence to determine the efficacy of stewardship and the length of time it takes to yield detectable improvements.
Further information

BSPB - Plant Breeding Matters - Autumn edition

"Defra’s Green Food Project is a significant step towards a more inclusive and strategic approach to food policy."
"Field to Market – New metrics for sustainable agriculture."
"BSPB has donated £10,000 to support the charitable work of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) in helping farmers, farm-workers and their families in time of financial need."
"Quality seed production – a farmer’s view."
Full edition (pdf)

General News


Call for Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Synthetic Biology
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) would like jointly to invite expressions of interest to establish an IKC in Synthetic Biology.
Led by academic institutions, IKCs are intended to accelerate the commercialisation of world class science and emerging technologies into new products, processes or services. Designed to foster collaboration and deliver competitive advantage to the businesses with whom they interact, IKCs possess expert knowledge and understanding of core science and technologies.
The UK Roadmap for Synthetic Biology (pdf) recommended that an IKC be established in synthetic biology to provide the important function of academic / business integration. This call will provide up to £10M of funding over an initial 5 years to help commercialise synthetic biology technologies in a responsible way.
Deadline: 20 December 2012
Further information

BBSRC: £20M investment for UK synthetic biology research

In a move that could potentially revolutionise major UK industries and help meet serious social and environmental challenges, BBSRC has announced an unprecedented £20M worth of synthetic biology projects. The funding was announced by the Chancellor George Osborne. The six projects focus on biotechnology and advanced bioenergy and will use synthetic biology to investigate major global challenges, such as producing low-carbon fuel and reducing the cost of industrial raw materials. The funding will also help to build a world-leading synthetic biology research community in the UK.
Further information

Funding & Jobs: November

Funding Opportunities

BBSRC: International Scientific Interchange Scheme (ISIS)

The aim of this award is to help scientists add an international dimension to their BBSRC funded research by making and establishing new contacts with international counterparts
Funding is available for: Short Term Travel Award; Long Term Travel Award and Access Award.
Funding is limited to travel and subsistence costs only, and does not usually exceed ~£5k.
Deadline: apply at any time but at least 6 weeks before travel
Further information

Biosciences KTN - SPARK Awards

Do you have a bright idea for a new collaborative project?
Are you part of an small or medium sized enterprise (SME) or University/Research Institute?
If so then our SPARK Award funding competition could be perfect for you. Up to 10 SPARK Awards are up for grabs as a means to encourage new collaborations between the research community and industry.
How it works
• The grants, which are of a fixed value of £5,000 (plus any applicable VAT), are awarded to the research partner to tackle a problem relevant to the SME.
• Projects must be in one of the four market sectors addressed by the Biosciences KTN, namely Domestic Animal Bioscience, Food Technology and Manufacture, Industrial Bioscience, and Plants & Crops.
• The scheme is designed to provide quick approval with minimal bureaucracy.
For more information and to download the application form, please go to the SPARK Awards group
Deadline: Midnight 14 December
If you would like assistance finding a collaboration partner or would like to discuss the SPARK Awards in more detail please contact the KTN office on 0131 651 7332 or email

Partner Jobs

British Society for Plant Breeders: Trials Coordinator, Variety evaluation - Ely
The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) is the national association for the UK’s agricultural plant breeding industry.
An exciting opportunity exists for an enthusiastic and committed individual to join the Society as the Variety Trials Coordinator who will organise and administer BSPB’s programme of trials and provide technical support to BSPB crop groups on issues relating to variety evaluation.
Understanding of, or experience in, crop variety trials and/or a degree in agriculture or related subject would be an advantage but are not essential if you have enthusiasm and an aptitude for learning.
Apply with CV and covering letter explaining your suitability to: BSPB Ltd, Woolpack Chambers, Market Street, Ely, Cambs CB7 4ND or by e-mail to by 14 December.
For further information call 01353 653200.

KWS: Openings at the KWS Breeders Academy
KWS are currently accepting applications for immediate openings at the KWS Breeders Academy. The Breeders Academy is an entry level professional development programme in KWS’ plant breeding department specifically geared towards professionals.
If you are interested in taking part in the KWS Breeders Academy, please send your application to:
Further information

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge: Teaching Associate
Closing date: 17 December
Further information


KWS: Now accepting applications for summer placements
Further information

JIC: Undergraduate and postgraduate opportunities available
Further information

Syngenta: Graduate opportunities in Germany, Switzerland and Spain
Further information

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Events: October

CPPS Lecture

Cereal Genomics: Sequencing/genotyping the wheat genome

Keith Edwards, Bristol University
1-2pm, Thursday, 25 October 2012
Sainsbury Laboratory, Bateman Street, Cambridge, CB2 1L
Further information

Partner Events

InCrops / RRes: Green business workshop

25th October 2012, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden AL5 2JQ
InCrops, Rothamsted Research and the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry have teamed up to organise a series of FREE workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups businesses and Small and Medium-size Enterprises in the bio-renewables, agri-biotech and green sectors.
Morning session: Managing innovation and IP
Afternoon session: Funding innovation
To book: email Julia O'Rourke, InCrops Events Co-ordinator, or call on 1603 591765
Further information

ADAS / SYNGENTA: Potato Conference and Exhibition

22 November 2012, Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire
Progressive potato farming: management for healthy tubers, increased yield and resource stewardship.
Further information

General Events

The Biorefinery for Food, Fuel and Materials symposium

7-10 April 2013, Hof van Wageningen, The Netherlands.
1 November 2012 - Deadline forabstracts and oral presentations
Further information

Symposium - National Agri-Science Chemical Biology Postgraduate Symposium (AgriNet)

1st- 2nd of November 2012, Imperial College London,
This meeting is for PhD students and Early Career Researchers undertaking Chemical Biology research in areas related to the agri-science and will provide attendees with the opportunity to present their work in a friendly, constructive environment to a knowledgeable audience.
Registration is free and includes the conference dinner.
Further information

Conference - Processing Lignocellulosic Biomass, SCI

8 November 2012, CPI Wilton Centre, Teesside
The conference will focus on the UK role for biomass conversion, and the business and commercial implications of the technologies being developed.
There is also an excellent article on the future for biomass processing at
Further information and to register

UEA Water Security/ICID Seminar: Irrigation policy in a time of drought and high food prices (part of the NERC Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme)

9 November 2012. 9.30 am to 5:00 pm ICE, Central London
This seminar, organised by ICID.UK and the UEA Water Security Research Centre (with support from NERC Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme and the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network ) will examine global and local irrigation policy in the context of drought and high food prices. The 2012 droughts in the UK, the US and Indo-Gangetic Plain plus current high food prices provide the background to this seminar. The broad question that guides the seminar is:
"In a time of climate change and food scarcity, can better irrigation policies reduce food vulnerabilities?"
Further information or

Conference - Realizing the value of plant natural products - from metabolic engineering to biorefining (chaired by Rob Edwards)

16 November, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (within the GSK complex)
The meeting will be chaired by Professor Rob Edwards (University of York and FERA). Presenters include Professor Johnathan Napier (Rothamsted Research), Professor John Ward (UCL), Professor Gary Loake (Edinburgh), Professor Ian Graham (University of York) and Professor Anne Osbourn (JIC).
Further information

Funding News: October

TSB Funding Call – sustainable high value chemical manufacture through industrial biotechnology

The call text for the 4th TSB call in sustainable high value chemical manufacture through industrial biotechnology is attached. The competition has recently opened. Applicants must register by noon on 7th November 2012 and submit their full proposals by noon 14th November 2012. Applicants will be informed of the outcome on 18th December 2012.
Further information

BBSRC Competition – Innovator of the Year

This competition recognises and rewards individuals and small teams who have harnessed the potential of their excellent research. The competition has three categories: Commercial , Social and Most promising.
We are inviting nominations and applications by 14th November 2012.
Further information

EPSRC Funding Call - Bioenergy

The EPSRC call for proposals for the Bioenergy Challenge has now been launched with a closing date of 21 November 2012.
Further information

TSB Funding Call - EUREKA’s Eurostars for SMEs

The EUREKA's Eurostars Programme is the first European funding and support programme to be specifically dedicated to SMEs.
Eurostars is open to all sectors. The 2012 closing date has passed, but the 2013 Call Closing Date is 4th April 2013.
Further information

News & Jobs: October

General News

Shaping a UK agri-tech strategy: call for evidence

This call for evidence invites you to submit views and information that will help shape a Government strategy to promote UK economic growth and international development by making best use of the science and technologies relevant to agriculture.
To respond to the survey visit
Closing date: 22 Nov 2012

BIA organised UK Bioscience Forum

The report on the BIA organised UK Bioscience Forum (held on 4th Oct) including discussions on Accessing the innovation in academia, Drugs and diagnostic and The Future of Pharma has been released on Storify.
View report

Partner Jobs

University of Cambridge, Department of Plant Sciences

Research Associate and Chief Technician vacancies at the Department of Plant Sciences.
Research Group Leader, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University
Further information

Exciting Group Leader Vacancies at the John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is looking to recruit Group Leaders focused on plant or microbial systems who will complement their ongoing science and run internationally excellent and innovative research programmes.
In particular, they are seeking to recruit individuals to join their efforts focused on plant response to the environment and cell and developmental biology as well as in the field of molecular microbiology, especially in the Streptomyces area in which JIC has long maintained a world-leading position. Full details on these roles and how to apply can be found on the JIC current vacancies page.
Further information

International vacancies at Syngenta

Further information


John Innes Centre International Undergraduate Summer Research Training Programme 2013

This programme is open for undegraduates from any scientific discipline who wish to gain research experience in plant and microbial sciences.
Closing date for applications: 8th February 2013.
Further information

KWS UK Summer Work Placements

Applications are accepted now for a number of Harvest Assistant posts available from June until November 2013. There are also positions within the Seed Plant.
Short-term work may may be available for SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.
Further information

Friday, September 28, 2012

Funding News: September


The BBSRC invites applications for its Partnering Awards, which seek to set up partnership links between UK and overseas laboratories; promote the exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists; and promote access to facilities.
Brazil Partnering Awards: These awards are run as a joint call with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) of Brazil. UK and Brazilian partners must submit separate applications to their respective funding bodies. Although there are no restrictions on the scientific area for applications; priority will be given to the areas of Food Security and Bionergy and Industrial Biotechnology.
The BBSRC will provide up to £50,000 for applications by single researchers and up to £100,000 for projects with multiple partners or consortia. The scheme is open to current BBSRC research grant holders and researchers employed at BBSRC institutes who are in receipt of BBSRC research funding (BBSRC grants must not have expired before the start of the award). Consortia of academics may also apply, with one person acting as the lead.
Deadline: 14 November 2012 (17:00)
Further information


This call aims to fund workshops that stimulate joint working in topics important to BBSRC’s strategy and match scientists from the UK with other countries to identify areas of commonality and explore the potential for international collaboration. Workshops can be held overseas or in the UK. Around 8 awards are available each year, or approximately £10,000 each.
The scheme is open to current BBSRC research grant holders and researchers employed at BBSRC-sponsored institutes who are in receipt of BBSRC research funding. Consortia of academics may also apply, with one person acting as the lead. Although applications may be for collaborations with any country, collaborations with the US, Canada, Brazil, EU member states, Japan, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand are particularly encouraged.
Deadline: 14 November 2012 (17:00) 
Further information

Partner News: September

Rothamsted scientists identify growing threat to cereal crops 

Scientists at the Rothamsted Research have identified a growing threat from the grain aphid (Sitobion avenae), a major crop pest that can reduce farmers' yields by damaging cereal crops and spreading plant diseases, most notably the Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).
Further information

Sir David Baulcombe, Head of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, is the recipient of the 2012 Balzan Prize 

"For his fundamental contribution to the understanding of epigenetics and its role in cell and tissue development under normal and stressful conditions". The Prize will be presented during the award ceremony to be held in Rome on November 14.
Further information

NIAB New flexible agri-food training programme launches at Livestock 2012 

The Advanced Training Partnership for Sustainable and Efficient Food Production (ATP Pasture) launched its flexible training programme at Livestock 2012 on the 4th September. The partnership consists of three institutions: the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Bangor University and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB).
Further information

Events September


CPPS Lecture: 

Cereal Genomics 25 October 2012
Speaker: Keith Edwards, Bristol University
Venue: Sainsbury Laboratory, 1pm (note change in time)
The lecture will be followed by Networking.

We are trying to increase the efficiency of networking, so if you are planning to come, could you send a brief paragraph about your R&D interests to This would allow pre-meeting 'match-making' with other attendees. 



John Innes:

FRI 28 SEPT 2012 
Pervasive transcription, lessons from budding yeast In the Merton Auditorium, 11:30 Dr Antonin Morillon , Institut Curie-CNRS, Paris, France Hosted/Organised by Caroline Dean
Further information



Fodder and oilseeds crop inspectors course NIAB Cambridge
Further information


Rothamsted Research: 

Delivering Sustainable Systems RRA Workshop Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ , 12:45 - 4:30 PM
Further information




Advance notice:

CropWorld 2012 CropWorld Global, part sponsored by BBSRC, provides an unparalleled international platform to discuss and debate the critical issues surrounding the crop production industry.
Further information


SCI Bioresources Group

Advance notices:

Sustainable Intensification - Growth from Research and Technology Syngenta, Jealott's Hill International Research Centre, Bracknell, UK
Book now

Uptake Across the Leaf Cuticle and Skin SCI HQ, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London, UK
Book now

More Crop per Drop - Raising Water Use Efficiency SCI HQ, 14/15 Belgrve Square, London, UK
Book now

Friday, September 21, 2012

Workshops 12 & 15 October


InCrops, Rothamsted Research and the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry have teamed up to organise a series of FREE workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups businesses and Small and Medium-size Enterprises in the bio-renewables, agri-biotech and green sectors.
The workshops provide an overview of the key considerations that need to be taken into account when setting up and running a business that provides consultancy and research services. Delegates may register for the morning or / and afternoon sessions separately depending on their needs:
Friday 12th October
Morning session: How to start a business
Afternoon session: Finding clients and closing deals

Thursday 25th October
Morning session: Managing innovation and IP
Afternoon session: Funding innovation
An excellent group of experts on entrepreneurship, marketing and innovation have been lined up as speakers. Please download the flyer of the workshops here (for full details). Business support organisations will be present at the workshops, which will be hosted at Rothamsted Research.
If you are considering the possibility of setting up a business, have recently set up a business or are looking for funding to innovate and grow, reserve your place today by contacting Julia O’Rourke, InCrops Events Co-ordinator, by email or call on 1603 591765.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Delivering sustainable business - 12 September

InCrops invites you to attend ‘Delivering sustainable business – Rio+20 and beyond’; a networking meeting to discuss the role of industry in maintaining ‘Natural Capital’. The event, featuring presentations from the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), will take place on 12 September, 15:00 -18:00 at Wolfson Court, University of Cambridge, CB3 OHD.

In June, world leaders and stakeholders met in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), 20 years after the Rio Earth Summit that produced a series of high-level commitments to sustainable development that have shaped the biodiversity and development agendas.

The high level of business engagement at the Conference and the number of business-related commitments in the Rio+20 outcomes document serve as a reminder of the central role that business plays in delivering sustainability and in safeguarding our planet’s ‘Natural Capital’.

This FREE event is aimed at anyone interested in

  • hearing more about the outcomes from Rio+20 and what they mean for business
  • finding out about
    • commitments announced by business at Rio+20 (i.e. the Natural Capital Declaration; the Natural Capital Leadership Compact)
    • outcomes from the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum and the Business Action for Sustainable Development Rio+20 Business Day
    • the launch of new public-private partnerships for sustainable development
  • discussing with other business leaders what we can do here and now, in the East of England, to grow a sustainable economy

Registration will open at 15:00, presentations and discussion will start at 15:30, and the event will close at 18:00.

To register to attend this event please email or call 01603 591765

Friday, July 20, 2012

Events: July

Renewable Energy, Royal Welsh Show – 23-26 July, ADAS

ADAS will do an initial assessment of a farm’s potential for renewable energy projects for free. If the site is suitable they will develop and manage everything at no cost or risk to the farmer.
Come and see ADAS at stand CCA790 at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss their renewable energy development offers.
Further information

Diversity into industry – 26th July, NIAB-TAG

An interactive event focussing on sources of genetic diversity in cereals for exploitation in industry.
Further information

Funding & Jobs July


Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7): 2013 Calls for Proposals

As part of a €10.8 billion budget for research and innovation, the European Commission has announced a €8.1 billion package of calls for proposals for 2013 under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). This is the final and largest ever package of FP7 calls and includes 52 calls for proposals covering the Cooperation, Ideas (ERC), People (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) and Capacities pillars.
The majority of the funding (€4.8 billion) will continue to be invested in FP7’s thematic areas: health; food, agriculture and fisheries; biotechnology; information and communications technologies; nano-sciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; energy; environment; transport; socio-economic sciences and the humanities; space; and security.
For 2013 there will also be nine cross-cutting thematic priorities, relevant to CPPS are:

  • Oceans of the Future: supporting sustainable growth in marine and maritime sectors.
  • Water: supporting innovative solutions for managing fresh water resources.
  • Raw materials: maintaining a sustainable supply of raw materials for the EU.
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy: to develop new green energy technologies and decrease dependency on energy imports.
  • Bioresource efficiency: promoting efficiency in the processing of biological resources, ensuring a safe and plentiful food supply and supporting sustainable primary production from land, forests and oceans, while reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
FP7 funding will also continue to attract world-class researchers to Europe through individual grants from the European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions for research training and mobility, as well as funding capacity-building, nuclear energy research, joint programmes between member states and collaboration with industry (including €1.2 billion to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to participate).
Further information on the 2013 calls and themes.
Browse current calls and download application materials

Capturing cropland and grassland management impacts on soil carbon in the UK land use, land use change and forestry inventory

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), GB
Research is required to develop a framework for capturing cropland and grassland management impacts on soil carbon in the UK LULUCF inventory and to populate this framework. The project is to start 10 September 2012 and last for 18 months ending 28 February 2014.
Award amount max: Not specified Closing date: 31 Jul 12
Further information

Darwin initiative - main projects

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), GB
The Darwin initiative aims to help safeguard the world's biodiversity by drawing on UK biodiversity expertise to work with local partners in countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources. Defra would normally expect to fund projects in the range of £80,000 to £300,000 over three years.
Award amount max: Not specified Closing date: 13 Aug 12
Further information

DEFRA – Further calls

Honey bee health: mapping, analysis and improved understanding of stakeholder groups to help sustain honey bee health.
Closing date: 28 August 2012

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)-PES pilot research projects services (2012-13)
Closing date: 13 August 2012


BSPB: Administrator Vacancy

The candidate will carry out a broad range of administrative and accounting work relating to the collection of seed royalties. This will include database inputting, checking invoices and other documents, chasing declarations and payments, investigative work, dealing with enquiries and helping with office IT support. The candidate must have excellent communication skills and be confident in, and comfortable with, a large amount of telephone work. They must be numerate and organised, have good attention to detail, with IT skills in MS Office applications. Experience in accounts work, in the agricultural supply industry or a farm office environment and an understanding of IT systems would be an advantage. Apply with CV and a covering letter explaining your suitability for the role, including current salary details, to BSPB Ltd,Woolpack Chambers, Market Street, Ely, Cambs CB7 4ND or by e-mail to by 10 August 2012. For further information call Grahame Stephens on 07920 238252.
Further information

Elsoms: Vegetable Seeds Crop Manager Vacancy
Download pdf with further details

News: July

Partner News

NIAB-TAG: Soil management project to support sustainability

A four-year, £644,000 research project commissioned by the HGCA and carried out by the James Hutton Institute and NIAB TAG will establish best practice for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production. Key objectives are increased cereal yields for UK farmers and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Further information

John Innes Centre: Major investment to persuade bacteria to help cereals self-fertilise

The John Innes Centre will lead a $9.8m research project to investigate whether it is possible to initiate a symbiosis between cereal crops and bacteria. The symbiosis could help cereals access nitrogen from the air to improve yields. The five-year research project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, could have most immediate benefit for subsistence farmers.
Further information

Anglia Farmers Limited (AF): Waitrose Farming Partnership - AF membership launched

Waitrose Farming Partnership – AF membership, is open to all Waitrose UK-based farmers, giving them access to significant savings on all farm supplies. Clarke Willis, CEO of the AF Group said: "This new initiative extends our range of professional buying services to members of the Waitrose Farming Partnership and provides a cost effective membership to farmers supplying Waitrose. We are able to provide procurement expertise and combine volumes to deliver significant savings on farm supplies and services and look forward to working with producers who are part of the Waitrose Farming Partnership to reduce their costs".
Further information

General News

Bioenergy Strategy

Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a bioenergy strategy that sets out a framework for ensuring that biomass powering our homes, businesses and transport delivers benefits to businesses and consumers in a drive to meet the UK's low carbon objectives.
Further information

BBSRC NSF Ideas Lab: Nitrogen: improving on nature

BBSRC and NSF have launched a joint Ideas Lab and are particularly keen to have Chemists participate in a five-day Ideas Lab to develop innovative and transformative ways to reduce inputs of nitrogen fertilizers to non-leguminous crops whilst maintaining or increasing yield, through a multidisciplinary approach.
The Ideas Lab will develop outline proposals that will subsequently be developed into full proposals and submitted for consideration by the funding agencies and a team of mentors. Successful proposals developed through the Ideas Lab will be jointly funded by BBSRC and NSF, and up to $12M ($6M or equivalent each from the US and the UK) is available subject to proposals.
Further information

Monday, July 16, 2012

Algal technologies workshop 23 July Cambridge

InCrops, PatentYogi and Basck invite you to attend ‘Cost effective IP Protection’; a workshop to discuss how best to capture innovation in algal technologies. The event will take place on Monday 23 July 15:00 -18:00 in the Seminar Room of the Sanger Building, Department of Biochemistry, 80 Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1GA.

This FREE event is aimed at anyone interested in commercialisation opportunities in the algae sector.


15:00       Registration & coffee

15:15       Commercialisation potential of algal technologies in the UK– Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, InCrops

15:30       Trends in the IP landscape and innovation tools – Christian Bunke, PatentYogi

  • Understanding the technology landscape
  • What are your competitors up to?
  • Innovation Management and how to capture your inventions
  • Protecting inventions, designs and brands

15:50       Effective IP protection and commercialisation – Tim Norris, BASCK

  • Best practice in strong IP protection
  • Protecting Algae and Plant technologies
  • Patent Box lowers your tax
  • Licensing IPR

16:10       Discussion

16:30       Optional 1:1 surgeries for participants with PatentYogi and BASCK; networking

18:00       Close

Registration - please contact Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, InCrops Business Innovation Manager, before 19 July 2012, by email or call 01223 333956.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bioenergy Seminar: 10 July 2012, 2-4pm

Attlee Suite, Portcullis House

Bioenergy is the use of renewable natural material for electricity, heat and liquid fuels. Currently, the UK sources approximately 3% of its primary energy from bioenergy feedstocks. Its relative cost-effectiveness compared with other renewable technologies makes it an attractive option for contributing towards the delivery of renewable energy targets, such as those set by the EU Renewable Energy Directive. However, growth of bioenergy both in the UK and abroad is reliant on the availability of affordable, sustainably-sourced biomass, as well as the development and uptake of second generation technologies. Sustainable approaches to producing bioenergy on existing cropland include using waste, by-products and dedicated energy crops. Intensification of agriculture and changes to forestry practice can also yield the necessary biomass, but may have negative impacts if not appropriately regulated to ensure sustainability, such as a net gain in greenhouse gas emissions from land use change. This seminar will look at developments in the recent science behind sustainability criteria and consider the opportunities and challenges anticipated as bioenergy markets and technologies grow.

More information.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dr Ray Elliott, Syngenta- Book of Condolences

Dear CPPS members

Many of you will have heard about the sad news of Dr Ray Elliott's death earlier this month. Ray has been very supportive of the aims of CPPS, and has been a conduit of information between the CPPS research base and Syngenta. BBSRC are collating a book of condolences, for which I will provide an entry from CPPS, but if you would like to add a person message, please follow the instructions in below.

Best wishes, Beatrix

You may well already have heard, but Dr Ray Elliott of Syngenta died unexpectedly in his sleep when in the USA earlier this month.

Ray was passionate about bioscience and played an active role in many BBSRC activities and initiatives, both on the ground and at a high level. His involvement with the IBTI Club, PMS Peer Review Committee, Young Entrepreneurs Scheme and Innovator of the Year highlights just some of the many ways he contributed to the breadth of our work and community. He has worked closely with many of us at BBSRC and his support has been very much valued and appreciated. Our condolences go to his friends, family and colleagues. He will be greatly missed.

Whilst some of you may prefer to contact colleagues at Syngenta directly, my executive assistant, Romy Thackeray, is currently coordinating messages and comments to be included in a condolences book. It you would like to include a message, please submit it to Romy by 5th July:

Dr Celia Caulcott
Director, Innovation and Skills, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Swindon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

General events: June 2012

TUE 17th JULY 2012 - Speed dating with scientists

JIC Conference Centre Open to Public - start 18:30

Further information

News: June 2012

Partner News

Rothamsted Research: Providing solutions for food security - Rothamsted Research launches "20:20 Wheat ®"

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have launched a new 20:20 Wheat ® Programme at the UK Cereals 2012 event on 13 June, aiming to provide the knowledge base and tools to increase potential wheat yields in the UK to 20 tonnes per hectare within the next 20 years. It is hoped that this could bring significant economic benefit to UK farmers as every 1 tonne per hectare increase in yield is estimated to be worth £318M per year at the farm gate.

Further information

Partner News

UK PlantSci 2012 Talks now online

Did you miss out on the inagural UK Plant Sciences Federation conference, UK PlantSci 2012? If so don't worry many of the talks are now available online.

Further information


On Monday 14 May 2012, the new National Plant Phenomics Centre, which features the most advanced research greenhouse in the UK, was formally opened at Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. The new Centre is a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) supported national facility and has been developed at a cost of £6.8M.

Further information


On May 24th, during a visit to the Babraham Research Campus, near Cambridge, Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has announced substantial funding that will ensure the UK's bioscience research base remains globally competitive and at the forefront of meeting the grand challenges faced by society in the coming decades.

Further information


A new wheat research information resource was launched on 18th June in a bid to help coordinate worldwide research efforts in the fields of wheat genetics, genomics, physiology, breeding and agronomy. The new website provides a central hub for the Wheat Initiative which aims to coordinate wheat research programmes and contribute to food security across the globe.

View the website

Funding news: June 2012

British Ecological Society: Research Grants

These grants support scientific ecological research where there are limited alternative sources of funding. Small projects can be awarded up to £5,000 and early career ecologists can apply for funding up to £20,000.

Further information

BBSRC: Industrial CASE Studentships

Proposal deadline: 26 July 2012, 4pm. Funding for 90 4-year studentships is available.
CASE studentships (formerly known as 'Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering') are collaborative training grants that provide students with a first-rate challenging research training experience, allowing top quality bioscience graduates to undertake research, leading to a PhD, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations.

Further information

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

‘AD and Algae: Closing the Loop’

InCrops and EnAlgae host 'AD and Algae: Closing the Loop'; a networking meeting to introduce opportunities and challenges for coupling AD with growing microalgae. The event will take place on Wednesday 18 July 14:00 -17:30 at Db Conference Rooms, Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 7AR.

Why couple AD with algae?

  • AD produces liquid digestate, CO2 and, if coupled to CHP, low grade heat.
  • All these are needed to grow algae.
  • Growing algae for feed, chemicals and/or energy applications could add value to AD operations.
  • Currently demand for algae outstrips supply, and new business opportunities are emerging.

This FREE event is aimed at anyone interested in either growing algae, or in exploring options for adding value to AD.

It will

  • give an overview of the synergies that exist between AD operations and growth of algal biomass
  • discuss challenges involved with the recovery and utilisation of AD digester products and the potential benefits if applied to microalgae production
  • discuss the practical implications of scaling up the integration of algae production into an AD system
  • introduce the variety of commercial and legal aspects that need to be considered
  • facilitate building links between AD and algae experts
  • showcase the work of the newly launched INTERREG NW Europe Strategic Initiative 'EnAlgae', of which InCrops is a partner

Registration - please contact Julia O'Rourke, InCrops Events Co-ordinator, before 10 July 2012, by email or call 01603 591765.

More information.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Event news: May 2012

CPPS-sponsored events:

EPSO "Plant Power" event – summary

On Sat, 19th MAY, CPPS led event, Fascination of plants – Plant power was held at the University Botanical Gardens.

Several hundred visitors of all ages came through on the day and were engaged, educated and entertained with a variety of hands-on activities and displays organised by CPPS members. Visitor participation was high and there is a notable interest from exhibitors in running similar events in the future. A more detailed summary including photographs from the day will be published on the CPPS website in due course.

Next CPPS-sponsored events:

THU 28th JUNE: Breakthrough technology: crops for the future

NIAB Innovation farm, 9:30 – 16:30

This joint NIAB Innovation Farm - CPPS event will explore the contribution of new technology such as hybrids and C4 photosynthesis. The morning session will consist of presentations and single slide poster pitches before heading out to view NIAB Innovation Farm field and glasshouse exhibits.

To find out more visit To book visit ONLY £36 (inc VAT).

If you are interested in presenting a one-slide pitch, have material that you would like to display at the workshop or have ideas for inclusion in the 2013 programme please contact

General events:

WED & THUR 13th & 14th JUNE – Cereals event

Boothby Graffoe, near Leadenham, Lincolnshire
Many CPPS members will be exhibiting at Cereals which is the leading technical event for the UK arable industry with over 64ha of stands and live demonstrations by over 470 leading suppliers and up to 30,000 visitors.
Further information

TUE 19th JUNE - Cultivating food quality (Sponsored by PBL & Seminis)

Visitor centre, NIAB, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0LE, 10.00-16.00
Find out how demand for crops with a range of end-use properties is driving breeders to explore inherent quality traits such as protein type, starch quality, high milling yield and resistance to pre-harvest sprouting.
Further information
To book a place at this event:
NIAB Innovation Farm is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), industry and academic partners.

TUE 19th JUNE - ADAS Rosemaund Open Day - Focus on Weed Control & Identification

Burnt House Grain Store, Gatsford, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7QW (on A449 not far from Ross), 12:00-16:00
FREE event/Hog Roast
Further information

TUE 26th JUNE – Insect Supersense

Rothamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, start 19:30
'How insects use odours to find mates and food and how we can make use of this.' Part of 'National Insect Week'.
Further information

Partner news: May 2012

Science and industry club together to deliver better crops

Three CPPS members have new industry-relevant crop science projects funded as part of the Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC)

The research is aimed at delivering improvements to the main UK cereal crops - oilseed rape, barley and wheat - so boosting efforts to ensure food security. Nine projects were funded overall - together, they represent an investment of over £4M by BBSRC, the Scottish Government and 14 companies including plant breeders, farmers and food processors.

The three projects by CPPS members are:

  • Professor Andy Greenland, NIAB - Production of wheat lacking B-type starch granules
  • Professor Peter Shewry, Rothamsted Research - The role of lipids in determining gas bubble retention in wheat dough
  • Dr Richard Whalley, Rothamsted Research - Phenotyping root function in wheat

Further information

JOHN INNES CENTRE: Fine mapping wheat genes

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have shown how next generation sequencing techniques can be used in mapping genes more quickly and efficiently than has been possible before.
Further information

ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH: Launch of globally unique farm research platform

A new 'Farm Platform', launched at Rothamsted Research North Wyke in Devon, aims to help farmers to optimise productivity in ways that are sustainable, whilst at the same time understanding the impact of farming methods on the environment. It will bring together scientists from across disciplines and countries to spark new ideas to meet the food security challenge.
Further information

RREs: Plant perfumes woo beneficial bacterial

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have discovered that maize crops emit chemical signals which attract growth-promoting microbes to live amongst their roots. This is the first chemical signal that has been shown to attract beneficial bacteria to the maize root environment. By deepening our understanding of how cereals interact with microorganisms in the soil their research aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to increase cereal yields sustainably to feed a growing world population.
Further information

RRes: Attack on Aphid-resistant wheat trial

An intruder attempted to break into RREs experimental trial on Sunday, 20th May, causing property damage but failing to disrupt the experiment. The individual responsible has been arrested and charged by Police.
Further information

Friday, April 27, 2012

Funding April 2012

Two TSB / DEFRA competitions

Innovation for growth in agriculture, food and drink

Open date: 16 April 2012
Registration close date: 23 May 2012
Close date: 30 May 2012

The Technology Strategy Board and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are to invest up to £500k to help stimulate and promote innovation in the agriculture and the food and drink sectors. This feasibility competition is specifically targeted at micro, small and medium-sized companies and aims to encourage better and more cost effective systems and processes and delivery of better products and services.

Grants will be available to support the rapid development of an innovative idea and demonstrate its practical feasibility in the agricultural (including horticulture) and food and drink sectors.

This competition is open to micro, and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Projects must be business-led and may be undertaken by the business alone or with one other business. Projects should last between three and six months. Grants will be available for up to 100% of the cost and will not exceed £25k.

The application process includes a two-minute video submission and a written submission.

For details see

Food processing and manufacturing efficiency

Open date: 11 June 2012
Registration close date: 11 July 2012
Close date: 18 July 2012

The Technology Strategy Board, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Government are to invest up to £15m in collaborative research and development to encourage an increase in efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness in the food processing and manufacturing sector.

Rising costs and increased regulation around greenhouse gas emissions and waste pose a significant challenge to the industry. This competition aims to encourage more efficient food processing, packaging and distribution in retail and food service sectors and the efficient recycling of manufacturing by-products and waste.

Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. Successful projects will generally attract up to 50% public funding. We are likely to award grants of between £100k and £2.5m, although projects larger than this are eligible to apply.

For full details see

Partner News April 2012

British Society of Plant Breeders £50,000 donation to transform farmers' lives in Kenya

The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) is donating £50,000 to FARM-Africa to support a two-year project in Kenya. The project will work with 1500 local farmers to improve the quality and supply of drought tolerant seeds. This in turn will boost local food security and the incomes for farmers’ families, benefitting 9000 people.

BSPB chief executive Dr Penny Maplestone explained that the decision to support the project was made possible by the success of last year’s International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed Congress, which was hosted by BSPB in Belfast.

"The ISF World Seed Congress 2011 offered a unique opportunity to welcome the world's seed industry to the UK, and the record attendance in Belfast reflects a growing recognition that innovation in the plant breeding and seeds sector will be a key factor in addressing the global challenges of food security and climate change. We are therefore delighted that surplus revenue from the Congress has enabled BSPB to support the vital work of FARM-Africa in helping smallholder farmers to access the benefits of improved varieties and better quality seeds," said Dr Maplestone.

Read the full story at

Rothamsted Research: Aphid-resistant wheat trial begins

Scientists from Rothamsted Research are conducting a controlled experiment, combining modern genetic engineering with their knowledge of natural plant defences, to test whether wheat that can repel aphids works in a farm setting. Aphids are unwelcome visitors that drain sap from plants. They cause significant damage to agriculture and reduce farmers' yields by damaging crops and spreading plant diseases.

Prof Maurice Moloney, Head of Rothamsted Research, says: "This is a critical experiment to begin Rothamsted's investigation of second generation GM technologies which focus upon naturally occurring deterrents of pests and diseases. We believe that using GM as a tool to emulate natural defence mechanisms provides a unique and world-leading approach that will also benefit the environment."

Read the full story at

Breakthrough technology: crops for the future 28 June

NIAB Innovation farm, 9:30 – 16:30

In collaboration with the Cambridge Partnership for Plant Sciences (CPPS) this workshop will explore the contribution of new technology such as hybrids and C4 photosynthesis. The morning session will consist of four presentations and single slide speed pitches from researchers. If you are interested in delivering a speed pitch, please contact Claire Pumfrey:

To book your place visit; for more details visit

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bioenergy Meeting 27 April

All welcome: please contact Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley if attending so we have an idea of numbers

External Speaker: Dr Calliope Panoutsou, Research Fellow at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College (

Biomass value chains for energy and materials: policy, economics & logistics

The talk will provide an outline of recent policies at EU27 (and a recent assessment for the NREAP bio-targets, which countries will and which will not reach them and why), as well as a detailed analysis of economics and logistics and how they can affect the biomass integration into heat, electricity and transport sectors (which are the key cost areas).

Internal Speaker: Dr Xiaoyu Yan, PDRA Energy Group (head: Adam Boies), Dept of Engineering (

UK biofuels – friend or foe?

The uncertainty in carbon intensity of UK wheat ethanol

Biofuels are frequently cited to save the day when all other technical options combined look insufficient to bring about the desired emission reduction in the transport sector. However, numerous and often significant sources of uncertainties exist in biofuel life cycles. How confident are we in estimating the emission reduction potentials of different biofuels given these uncertainties? Using UK wheat ethanol as a case study, we illustrate the quantification of uncertainties in life cycle emissions via stochastic modelling and compare the results with those from traditional deterministic life cycle analyses.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Plant power, 19 May

To kill and to cure, to make and to mend, to bewitch and beware, discover
The Power of Plants
as the Botanic Garden hosts first Fascination of Plants Day on
Saturday 19 May 2012

Plants have a unique talent: the ability to gather energy from the sun’s rays travelling through space to synthesise their own food. This is the foundation of all other life on earth, from the oxygen in our lungs to the medicines that keep us healthy. They’re also some of the most stunning organisms on the planet, and the most varied, adapted to every ecological niche across every continent.

On Saturday 19 May, plant scientists, biochemists, horticulturists and representatives from the plant science industries will gather at the Botanic Garden to share with visitors the power of plants for the first international Fascination of Plants Day. Demonstrations and activities will run from 10.30am: science experiments will include balloons inflated by gases released by fermenting plants, children can dress up as bees to collect nectar from giant flowers to learn about pollination and there’ll be quizzes to match the product to the plant. Plus the chance to test a laser remote sensing system – the latest tool in forest conservation.

The living world is a rich source of chemicals with many medicines, dyes, flavourings and foodstuffs having their origins in compounds produced by plants. Ampika Ltd, an ethical enterprise spinout of the University of Cambridge, will be bringing a display about medicinal plants, including a new anaesthetic gel derived from a plant found in the Peruvian rainforest, which is currently under trial as a pain-relief treatment for toothache. The Botanic Garden and Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre will also be launching a new Chemicals in Plants trail that identifies some of the poisonous, beneficial (and occasionally both!) chemicals produced by plants.

Launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation, the Fascination of Plants Day held at the Botanic Garden on 19 May will be a day of interactive plant fun and demos that will also highlight the critical role plant science plays in the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future. The event is co-organised by the Cambridge Partnership for Plant Science, a consortium that connects cutting-edge research undertaken in the region with the business community that develops plants for application in food, energy and other material uses.

More information

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March news: Funding

BBSRC: Horticulture and Potato Initiative

Outline application deadline: 25 April 2012

As part of its portfolio of activities related to food security, BBSRC are launching a new collaborative funding activity to support excellent quality, industrially relevant research projects on potato and edible horticulture crops.

Up to £7M will be invested through two calls. The Scottish Government and Natural Environment Research Council are also contributing to this initiative. The first call is open and information can be found on the apply for funding page.

Through discussions with companies from the sector BBSRC have identified 6 key areas where research is necessary to help improve food security:

* Changing seasons
* Crop maturity and spoilage
* Soil
* Pests and pathogens
* Seed quality and vigour
* Resource use efficiency

All of these areas are within scope for the first call. Further details can be found in the full call text (download from

Two TSB / DEFRA competitions

On 14 March Jim Paice, Food and Farming Minister, launched a £15 million programme to stimulate innovation and growth in the food industry at the Farming, Food and Drink Innovate for Growth Summit. This programme comprises of two funding competitions.

The competitions

* The Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with Defra and BBSRC, will invest up to £15 million in major R&D projects that increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of the food processing and manufacturing sector, focussing on increasing efficiency and reducing supply chain waste. Applications open in June 2012.

* Defra and the Technology Strategy Board are also launching the Innovate for Growth competition, providing up to twenty £25k grants for innovative SMEs across the farming, food and drink industries. This funding will support the rapid development of an innovative idea and demonstrate its practical feasibility. The competition will open in April, with results announced in the summer.

To access the competition documents, please make sure you are a member of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform group on connect.

Next CPPS sponsored event 19th May

Fascination of plants - Plant power

Cambridge University Botanic gardens – Just turn up on the day.
Launched under the European Plant Sciences Organisation umbrella ( We are joining together with several scientific organisations based in Cambridge to enthuse visitors about plants and the importance of plant science. This open day is interactive and open to a public audience of all ages.

Invitation to nominate speakers for future CPPS Lectures

CPPS Lectures, such as that delivered by Prof Julian Ma in Feb on 'Molecular Pharming', are an excellent way for CPPS from academia and industry to build further links and network. The process for choosing next year’s speakers is under way – all of you are invited to nominate speakers and topics which are of particular interest to you. Please email with any suggestions in the next few weeks.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

NIAB innovation Farm events

NIAB Innovation Farm is a commercial hub linking science and industry. It showcases industry wide plant genetic innovation with the aim of transferring market ready innovations into commercial reality as efficiently as possible. Our events offer a mix of seminars, discussions and a guided tour of NIAB Innovation Farm exhibits, they are designed to connect and assist small businesses, researchers and innovators.


Producing quality rapeseed
In this BASF sponsored event we will be exploring the contributions made at each stage of the value chain, from early stage research through to marketing of the grain. This will include an overview from BASF on innovations in canopy management, their Clearfield production system and how these influence the production of quality rapeseed.


Fascination of plants – Plant power
Cambridge University Botanic gardens – Just turn up on the day.
Launched under the European Plant Sciences Organisation (EPSO) umbrella. We are joining together with several scientific organisations based in Cambridge to enthuse visitors about plants and the importance of plant science. This open day is interactive and open to a public audience of all ages.


Cultivating food quality
Demonstrating how the demand for ingredients with a range of end-use properties are driving breeders to explore inherent quality traits such as protein type, starch quality, high milling yield and resistance to pre- harvest sprouting and those effected by environmental factors. In other crops traits are being manipulated through breeding to produce products with improved properties such as Beneforte broccoli that has added nutritional benefits from increased anti-oxidants levels.


NIAB Open day – Cambridge
Unlocking the crop genetic potential of plants now and tomorrow. Featuring crop demonstrations, variety interaction plots, NIAB Innovation Farm tour, hog roast and technical seminars from Tina Barsby, Bill Clark and Stuart Knight . Booking is advised see for details.


Breakthrough technology: crops for the future
In collaboration with the Cambridge Partnership for Plant Sciences (CPPS) this workshop will explore the contribution of new technology such as hybrids and C4 photosynthesis. The morning session will consist of four presentations and single slide speed pitches from researchers.


Managing habitats for improved biodiversity
In partnership with the British Ecological Society (BES) this event will focus on how research is influencing the content of environmental margins and how sowing species targeted seed mixes combined with appropriate management will encourage a wider range of wildlife on the farm.


Diversity into industry
An interactive event focussing on sources of genetic diversity in cereals for exploitation in industry


Fodder and Forage
Highlighting the range of species used within the fodder and forage markets, a review of the limiting factors in sourcing good quality forage and presenting the hybridisation work that is being undertaken at Institute of Biological, environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)


GM- Is it time for public good programme?
How GM technology could be used to respond to the challenges facing the agricultural industry and discussions relating to barriers to its adoption, how we move forward and whether we can shape a public good GM programme

To book your place visit

For more details visit or follow us on twitter @innovationfarm1

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vacancies: Plant Breeder, Dundee; UK Plant Sciences Federation Executive Officer

Plant Breeder, Dundee

Up to £45k per annum (plus non-contributory pension)
Mylnefield Research Services Ltd (MRS) a commercial affiliate of the James Hutton Institute is looking to recruit a Plant Breeder to support its commercial plant breeding programmes and in particular potato breeding. This is a unique opportunity to translate the latest scientific knowledge into superior plant varieties.

The successful candidate will be working as part of a team developing superior plant varieties through trialling on and off-station. Duties will include developing and implementing breeding strategies and selection methods particularly in potato breeding. As well as liaising with scientists at JHI to integrate and capitalise on its scientific knowledge and technology in plant breeding and managing contracts with commercial partners. The successful candidate must have excellent leadership, motivation, planning, organisational and communication skills. The post will involve travel and working outdoors at certain times of the year eg planting and harvest.

Candidates must possess a first degree in genetics, plant science or agriculture, with some component of the degree consisting of plant breeding and statistics. The successful candidate should also hold a MSc in genetics and/or plant breeding. A PhD and experience of commercial plant breeding is desirable. A full UK driving licence would be advantageous.

Please forward your letter of application together with a CV and names of two referees by 23 March 2012 to HR Office, The James Hutton Institute, Errol Road, Invergowrie, Dundee, DD2 5DA.

UK Plant Sciences Federation Executive Officer

Reports to: Head of Science Policy
Overall purpose: to manage the UK Plant Sciences Federation1 and its outputs, to
represent the UKPSF at all levels, and to ensure that the UKPSF is an effective and
efficient organisation.

Contract: Full time (Three month probationary period)
Hours: Full-time (35 hours per week with some evening work and travel required)
Salary: £30-35k depending upon experience
Location: Society of Biology’s London Office
Closes: 9th March

Download more information as a pdf

February news: Miscellaneous

Funding secured for NIAB Innovation Farm

NIAB Innovation Farm has been awarded a £2.7 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with additional match-funding coming from industry and academic partners, including CPPS.

The new funding will help develop an interactive commercial hub linking science and industry, highlighting developments in plant research and transferring market ready innovations into commercial reality as rapidly as possible. The project will also benefit from the building of new glasshouse and sustainable low-carbon visitor centre.

The ERDF funding aims to improve productivity in the East of England, by supporting industry, especially small to medium enterprises to move innovation forward in the market place and by improving links between companies which in turn will create and safeguard jobs.

NIAB Innovation Farm will continue to demonstrate the power of plant genetic innovation through field and glasshouse exhibits and a range of events held throughout the year. Visit for more information.

Bioenergy Research at Cambridge / Rothamsted Research:

Breeding better grasses for food and fuel

Researchers from the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC) have discovered a family of genes that are important in the development of the fibrous, woody parts of grasses. This could help us breed grasses with improved properties for diet and bioenergy. The research was carried out by a team from the University of Cambridge and Rothamsted Research headed by Paul Dupree, Biochemistry Cambridge, and Rowan Mitchell, Plant Science RRes. For more information click here.

Invitation to nominate speakers for future CPPS Lectures

CPPS Lectures, such as that delivered by Prof Julian Ma last Thu on ‘Molecular Pharming’, are an excellent way for CPPS members from academia and industry to build further links and network. The process for choosing next year’s speakers is under way – all of you are invited to nominate speakers and topics which are of particular interest to you. Please email with any suggestions in the next few weeks.

International workshop 2nd May, Edinburgh

The Biosciences KTN is organizing an International Workshop ‘Advanced breeding programmes for suitable crop and livestock production’ which will be held on May 2nd at The Roslin Institute, Edinburgh. This workshop will bring together leading international animal breeding companies and academic scientists to discuss research challenges and recent advances in high-throughput genomic technologies in animal and plant breeding.

Registration for the workshop is now open. For further information please follow this link:

Five BBSRC Industrial CASE PhD Studentships via Biosciences KTN

Biosciences KTN has secured five CASE studentships to start in academic year 2012/13 which will be allocated out across the Food, Industrial Bioscience and Plants and Crops Sectors. This call is only open to registered members of the Biosciences KTN _connect website. The competition scope encompasses any original research project in the field of bioscience relevant to the BBSRC's strategic priorities.

CASE (Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering) studentships involve post-graduate students studying for a PhD through research with both an academic institution and a commercial company.

The deadline for applications is Midnight 30th March 2012. Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications by Wednesday 9th May and the student would need to start anytime in the 2012/13 academic year.

How to access the call document on the Biosciences KTN website

Register/log on to the website to access the call documents and application forms by clicking on
Once logged in, go to the "Groups" tab and select the "Biosciences KTN Industrial CASE Awards" group and click "Join this group".
To access the call document, please go to the Document Library.

If you have any events, news or advertisements you would like to see included please email

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vacancies at Limagrain

Senior Wheat Breeder

Location: Paris, France
Limagrain Europe is an international agricultural co-operative group specialized in field seeds, vegetable seeds and cereal products. Founded and managed by French farmers, the Group is the largest European seed company and fourth largest seed company in the world. Its Fields Seeds Division operates from over 30 centres, covering 8 crop species. The aim of our research is to breed new varieties and the application of innovative biotechnology. The group is the largest supplier of wheat varieties in France.

Limagrain is seeking a highly qualified Plant Breeder for Wheat, based at Verneuil l’étang, Paris, France. The position requires who understands recent advances in modern genetics and with the skill to apply these in plant breeding. Reporting to the Senior Wheat Breeder in Western Europe, the successful candidate will be responsible for the management of a competitive program aimed principally at developing varieties for the French market.

The core responsibilities of the role are to:

* implement the breeding strategy and manage the selection program
* manage a large team and substantial research resources
* propose and manage the program budget
* contribute strongly to the development of innovative plant breeding tools
* register competitive varieties and support their commercial development.

The preferred candidate profile includes:

* MSc or PhD in a plant science, agronomy, or a similar discipline
* previous experience and success in a managerial capacity
* strong knowledge of genetics and plant breeding
* computing and statistical ability
* the ability to manage a team
* a team worker
* fluency in English and French

Please send a covering letter and CV to

SeedQuest reference number: 23028

Senior Wheat Breeder

Location: Woolpit, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Limagrain UK is the local agricultural seeds operating company of Limagrain Europe, the largest plant breeder and seed company in Europe. We breed and market agricultural seeds for the UK market under the established brand LG. Offering the UK’s strongest and widest offer of agricultural and amenity seeds Limagrain UK has extensive portfolios of varieties in cereals, oilseeds, pulses, maize, and grasses and fodder crops.

Limagrain is seeking a highly qualified and motivated manager to work as a Senior Breeder for Wheat, based at Woolpit, Suffolk, UK and responsible for breeding wheat varieties for North West European markets. We require an individual well versed in the recent advances of molecular genetics, with the ability to translate these into the development of varieties and new breeding techniques.

Plant breeding encompasses a wide range of disciplines: agronomy, pathology, analytical chemistry, molecular biology, statistics, mathematical modelling and genetics. The successful applicant will have the ability to manage a team with multiple skills in a logistically complex programme. The position is a senior technical appointment and the successful applicant will be a member of the Limagrain Wheat Research and Development Management Team.

Applicants should have a strong knowledge of plant science and genetics and be able to demonstrate managerial competence. Post Graduate training would be an advantage as would experience of plant breeding.

The position is rewarded with an attractive remuneration and employment package.

Please send a covering letter and CV to

SeedQuest reference number: 23027