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