Tuesday, January 22, 2013

News & Funding: Jan 2013

News highlights

New PVR trademark launched to promote plant breeding and seed innovation.

New PVR trademark launched to promote plant breeding and seed innovation A new information campaign to highlight the critical role of plant breeding innovation and quality seed moved a step closer when participating seed companies and plant breeders unveiled the new EU-registered PVR trademark for the first time at the LAMMA event in Lincolnshire.

Initiated jointly by BSPB and AIC on behalf of the UK plant breeding and seeds sector, the campaign will focus on the importance of Plant Variety Rights (PVR) as a unique form of intellectual property to protect, stimulate and reward progress in crop improvement.

The PVR trademark will soon start appearing across the seed industry on seed bags, stationery, invoices, websites, variety boards and marketing material. Supporting information about Plant Variety Rights, plant breeding and seed production will be provided through a dedicated campaign website and literature, as part of a wider drive to highlight the vital contribution of our plant breeding and seeds sector.

BSPB chief executive Dr Penny Maplestone said: “Access to genetic innovation, delivered to the market through high-performing varieties and quality seed, is the foundation for successful crop production. Faced with the global challenges of food security, climate change and sustainable development, recent reports from Foresight and the Royal Society have highlighted the urgent need for continued progress in crop genetic improvement as the single most important factor in improving the yield, climate resilience and production efficiency of our major food crops.”

“The PVR campaign will highlight the critical role of IP protection in supporting a dedicated process of investment, innovation and independent evaluation within the plant breeding and seeds sector, and the enormous benefits this brings to farmers, food producers and their customers.”

AIC Seed Sector chairman Paul Taylor said: “Companies and organisations licensed to use the trademark are demonstrating their commitment to providing the best product, backed by science and delivered to the market through proven testing procedures. Users of the trademark are investors in R&D, committed to supplying high quality, innovative products to their customers.”

“The PVR trademark will serve as a prominent reminder of the research, innovation and independent evaluation behind each new variety and bag of purchased seed, and the need for continued investment in plant breeding to support a competitive farming industry and a dynamic value chain.”

Be part of a national public engagement project on Bioenergy.

Be part of a national public engagement project BBSRC is running a Bioenergy Public Dialogue workshop at the Dana Centre in London on the 24th January and there is an opportunity for you to take part.

From 1400 to 1800 you will take part in an interactive workshop with other researchers that will equip you with the skills needed to run public engagement events. After a supper, members of the public will arrive and, with close coaching from engagement experts, you will be able to put into practice what you have learnt. BBSRC will cover travel expenses and overnight accommodation. This initiative is part of a for a national public dialogue project for which BBSRC has successfully secured funding from BIS, through Sciencewise. The dialogue will explore public views around bioenergy through a series of events around the country during 2013, based on an ‘engagement toolkit’. The outcomes from those discussion events will help inform BBSRC policy and strategy.

Although some events will be run by BBSRC, the full potential of the project will only be reached with your involvement and we would like to encourage you and other bioenergy researchers to run you own events. The workshop is an ideal opportunity to develop your public engagement skills, to help you learn about planning a dialogue event, and to try out the toolkit at the evening session at the Dana Cafe.

To register to attend this event or if you have any queries, please contact Marta.Entradas@bbsrc.ac.uk or Emma.Longridge@bbsrc.ac.uk, or phone Marta on 01793 413325.

How should UK STEM teaching and learning inspire the thinkers, doers, innovators and leaders of the future?

The answer to this question is important to all of us, especially given the decisions still to be made around the secondary National Curriculum. But we want to know what you think! The National Science Learning Centre, National STEM Centre and EdComs are working together to publish a collection of views from contributors across education and industry. The aim is to give practitioners, employers and key thinkers a platform to express their views, to generate debate and to influence future policy and practice in the delivery of STEM teaching and learning.

There are two main ways to contribute:
1. Send an email with your thoughts and experiences to: daniel.clay@edcoms.co.uk
2. Join the discussion on Twitter: #STEMlearning We will be engaging in discussions and compiling responses over the next four weeks. This is your chance to have your say.

Funding Opportunities

· BBSRC Excellence with impact awards (Thursday, 31 January)
The Excellence with Impact competition aims to recognise institutions that can develop and successfully deliver a vision for maximising impact, alongside a relevant institution-wide culture change. The winning organisation will receive an award of £0.5M and there will be a further £0.5M available to be awarded at judges' discretion to highly commended runners up.
Further details

· The Community Resource for Wheat Transformation application process is now open. (Thursday, 31 January)
This is a resource for UK plant scientists to apply for their genes to be transformed into wheat free of charge, funded by the BBSRC’s Biological and Bioinformatic Resources fund (BBR). There is an online application process and further details via the following link http://www.niab.com/transgenic. Enquiries should be directed to croptransformation@niab.com in the first instance.

Events and Jobs: Jan 2013

Partner Events

· Cambridge led Public Debates on Global Food Security:
Smallholder Farming and the Future of Food Monday, January 28, 2013, 7 pm; Kings Place, London.
Further details

· CPPS Seminar:
Interactions between plants and soils in the carbon cycle; Thursday, 14 February 2013, 16:00-17:00; followed by networking over wine & nibbles at the Department of Plant Sciences.
Further details

Tuesday, 12 February, 10.00am-3.30pm; Scotch Corner Holiday Inn Hotel, North Yorkshire.
Further details


Senior Research Technician (Friday, 8 February); Senior Machinery Research Technician (Friday, 8 February); Ecotoxicologist / Assistant Ecotoxicologist (Tuesday, 29 January); Seasonal Ecology Consultants (Monday, 28 January).
Further details

Postdoctoral Researcher (Thursday, 31 January).
Further details

· NIAB Innovation Farm
Research and SME Liaison Officer (Thursday, 31 January).
Further details

· RAGT Seeds Ltd
Plant Breeder, start date to be confirmed, permanent position; Plant Pathology and Projects Manager (Maternity Cover), start date: early March, duration: 1 year.
For further information please contact Natasha Matthews, HR Manager: nmatthews@ragt.fr

· RRes
Research Assistant (Friday, 15 February); Research Scientist in Soil Science (Friday, 15 February); Post-Doctoral & Post-Graduate Biochemist Biochemist (Friday, 25 January); Bioinformatics Scientist (Monday, 28 January); Communications Officer (Thursday, 24 January).
Further details

· Syngenta
Trialing Territory Data Support. £25,000 to £29,000 p.a. depending on experience. Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire
Syngenta are constantly looking for new and better ways to help generate high yielding crops for a growing global population. It’s essential work – and your knowledge of field trials processes will help do it better than ever before. You’ll play a major part in maintaining excellence in the capture, management and analysis of data relating to the field trials of Syngenta's innovative crop protection and seed products. Key tasks will include ensuring efficient use of Field Information Systems and Knowledge Sharing tools, arranging contract and secrecy agreements with contract research organisations and managing the financial processes for field trials within the North Europe territory. Your aim? To maximise value and minimise costs in the constant drive to improve today’s technologies and develop those of tomorrow.
To measure up, the ideal candidate would have:
• A degree in a biological or agricultural related subject
• An understanding of the needs of field trials staff and technical project managers
• Experience in field trial planning and data management would be advantageous although full training will be provided
• Excellent communication skills
• Proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and field trials software
For more information about the company please go to www.syngenta.com.

· Teagasc
Postdoctoral position in computational and quantitative genetics of plants (Sunday, 24 February).
The vacancy is for 2 years. Interested applicants should send a CV with the contact information of 3 references and a motivation letter to susanne.barth@teagasc.ie.
Further details

· The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Interpretation Manager (Tuesday, 5 February, Noon).
Further details

· AlgaeCytes Limited
Focuses on developing and commercialising algae derived bioactive ingredients. The company is in the process of developing scalable demonstration units for the production of high value chemicals such as omega 3 oils from algae. Opportunities exist for a number of laboratory based junior and senior scientists experienced in growing, harvesting and extracting products from algae. The company is also looking for bioprocess engineers for the management and running of photobioreactors. Contact: nazbashir@algaecytes.com for further details.

· Cambridge Science Centre:
Science Communication (Friday, 8 January).
Further details

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cambridge led Public Debate on Global Food Security

Debate 2: Smallholder Farming and the Future of Food

500 million smallholder farmers support over 2 billion people, yet for many, their future looks increasingly uncertain.

What is the way forward for smallholders and for the future of food?

London. 28 January 2013, 7 pm

More information

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

News: December

The UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF)

is conducting a survey of the UK plant science community to gather views on the major challenges for this sector, and its current capacity for meeting these challenges. Survey participants may be involved in research, industry, education, outreach, policy, or end-users; however they must work in the UK or be associated with a UK-based organisation.
Don’t miss the opportunity to voice your views and help shape UK policy and funding strategy in support of plant sciences: The survey can be completed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UKPlantSci before 18 January 2013.

ADAS new projects:

Members of CPPS may be interested in a number of projects on nutrition of horticultural crops funded by HDC.

The first is to look at the nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition of sweet corn, a high value crop, much of which is grown on the south coast of England. This is a two year project starting in Spring 2013. The work was actually due to start a year earlier, but had to be deferred due to the very wet weather in the spring of 2012. We have also won a project to look at nitrogen nutrition of over wintering leeks, where growers perceive there is demand for this major nutrient by the crops in the winter. Leeks are unusual in that unlike most of the other crops we work with, they accumulate much of their biomass during the winter when days are short and light levels low. These projects build on the success of our recent work on quantifying nitrogen requirements of field vegetable crops, and particularly understanding the factors influencing nitrate accumulation in leafy salad crops. All of these projects have been managed from ADAS Boxworth. Contact for further information: Richard Weightman (Richard.Weightman@adas.co.uk)

Staff changes at ADAS:

Goodbye: To Zoe Rutterford who has worked with ADAS since 2010. Many of you will know Zoe, who formerly being a PhD student with NIAB and the Department of Plant Sciences, is going to return to managing the family farm, from the start of 2013. We wish Zoe all the best in her future career.

And hello: ADAS has recently taken on another round of graduate trainees who will undertake a two year period of training, leading to consultant positions. Key staff based at Boxworth and whose expertise may be of interest to CCPS members include:

  • Rebecca Carter; working in the Agriculture and Farming Systems sector. Prior to joining ADAS Becky studied Animal Science with ‘Accreditation in Nutrition’ at the University of Nottingham and was the secretary of the Agricultural Society from 2011-2012.
  • Amy Gimson; working in the Sustainable Food and Farming sector. Before joining the graduate scheme, Amy was involved in a HGCA bursary project investigating height and yield genes in winter wheat within the Crop Physiology team. Her degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Cambridge involved a particular focus of the vitamin requirements of various algae for biofuels.
  • Tim Boor; joins the Plant Pathology team, having just completed a BSc in Crop Science at the University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington. Although coming to ADAS straight from university, Tim has completed a range of placements, ranging from work in the logistics department of a large seed company based in Lincolnshire, as well as for Sentry Farms.
  • Elizabeth Hudson has joined the Crop Physiology team. She comes to ADAS after completing her Natural Sciences Degree in Biology and Chemistry from Durham University. Liz is working on a range of projects looking at crop nutrition, utilisation and use of co-products from the biofuels industry.
  • Lizzie Dobson; is part of the Horticulture sector team and is also based at our Boxworth Office. At university she studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in plant science and taking a particular interest in plant physiology and water relations. Lizzie will be focusing on protected edible crops.
  • Sarah Mayne; working as a Crop Pathologist at Boxworth, she has previous experience working for ADAS as part of the Field Team which she enjoyed greatly. Prior to this Sarah carried out conservation work both in the UK and USA dealing with land management & invasive weed removal after graduating from Hertford College, Oxford with a degree in Biological Sciences.

A one-stop-shop for plant science questions:

From today people will be able to question researchers directly on any aspect of plant science that comes up in public discussion, from one simple portal. http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/plant-science-expert-panel.html

Plant research is central to decisions about future energy, land use, wildlife, environmental protection, pest problems, nutrition and food safety. People care a lot about these subjects but get frustrated by conflicting stories and research reports and find that information is rarely in a form that responds to their questions. Now, leading research institutions and learned societies across the UK have come together to make themselves available in a public panel, where people can put down questions and opinions for response.
Panel members have been nominated by: BBSRC, the Biochemical Society, Genetics Society, James Hutton Institute, John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research, Society of Biology, Society for Experimental Biology, National Farmers Union, Society for General Microbiology, UK Plant Sciences Federation and Royal Horticultural Society. Questions can be sent via Twitter: @senseaboutsci #plantsci, or email: plantsci@senseaboutscience.org
Contact: Frances Downey, 020 7490 9590 FDowney@senseaboutscience.org.

Events and Funding: December

Partner Events

NIAB Innovation Farm: Key Events 2013: http://www.innovationfarm.co.uk/events/.

Funding Opportunities

The Community Resource for Wheat Transformation application process is now open.
This is a resource for UK plant scientists to apply for their genes to be transformed into wheat free of charge, funded by the BBSRC's Biological and Bioinformatic Resources fund (BBR). The closing date for this round of applications is 31st January 2013.
There is an online application process and further details are available on the website. Enquiries should be directed to croptransformation@niab.com in the first instance.

Vacancies for January

IT Sligo: Postdoctoral Researcher Ecologist

Following success in the 2011 research call from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, an opportunity exists for a postdoctoral researcher to join the applied ecology research team at IT Sligo. This is part of a larger project with our project partners Teagasc: Identifying the Distribution and Extent of Agricultural Land of High Nature Value (IDEAL-HNV). The appointee will conduct research in the area of High Nature Value Farmland, with particular emphasis on ground truthing of remote sensing data; development of farm and field-scale decision support tools; socio-economic and policy analysis; and dissemination activities.
Closing date for applications is 17 January 2013.

Full details and access to the online application form.

NIAB Innovation Farm: Research & SME Liaison Officer

Closing date: 31/01/2013. More information.

Teagasc: Pre-Call announcement: Environmental Remote sensing job in Ireland

In January 2013 Teagasc (the Irish Agricultural research body) will be looking to fill a contract research post in the area of Environmental Remote Sensing. This 2.3 year contract will be based in Dublin and will form part of larger study (IdealHNV, funded by DAFM through the RSF) looking at the distribution of High Nature Value farmland habitats in Ireland.

The successful applicant will come from a strong remote sensing of the environment/agriculture background and will be qualified to PhD level. This Post doc level position will offer excellent opportunities to develop skills in researching the environment through remote sensing. The position will involve developing new assessment approaches at farm scale using high resolution optical data and hyper temporal data sets such as MODIS, it will also require liaising with partners and some field work. A formal advertisement with submission dates will be posted on the usual fora and recruitment sites early in the new year. In the meantime please alert colleagues of this opportunity.