New £0.5m fund to enable research into sustainable agricultural systems

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have teamed up to invest £500,000 in UK agriculture to help the industry transition to more sustainable practices, and ultimately net zero carbon by 2040.

The BBSRC funding will enable the development of up to 10 projects that directly respond to priorities identified by farmers for achieving a more sustainable agricultural system, including determining more ways farmers and growers can cut GHG emissions and increase storage of carbon.

The partnership aims to support the industry by providing funds for the UK’s bioscience researchers, based at Universities and Institutes, enabling them to make progress on pressing issues and generate new collaborations, and scientific knowledge that will contribute to longer-term research efforts.

AHDB and BBRSC will work together to deliver research and innovation for food and farming, focusing on six priority areas:

  1. Improving sustainability of cropping systems
  2. Management of organic materials
  3. Improving performance of grasslands
  4. Livestock breeding and management for improved climate resilience and reduction of GHG emissions
  5. Precision farming and management
  6. Sustainable management of pests, weeds, and diseases

James Holmes, AHDB’s environment senior scientist, explained: “For farmers and growers to reduce GHG emissions and store carbon they need easy access to the latest science and practical guidance – to be able to make the best decision for their business. By securing independent research funds such as this, farmers benefit from publicly funded research in addition to that funded by their own levy.”

BBSRC’s head of business engagement & intelligence, Dr Ruth Nottingham commented: “BBSRC invests to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future. Farmers and growers in the UK are changing their farming practices. We support the ambitions of the sector for net zero and are pleased to partner with AHDB to fund world-leading research and innovation for farmers and growers.”

Further information on the requirements to access this research funding is available at https://ahdb.org.uk/research-and-knowledge-exchange-funding-applications.

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