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.

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