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Research council invests £50.9m in Rothamsted science strategy

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is to invest £50.9 million in support of agricultural science at Rothamsted Research.

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This is to address challenges faced by farmers and society for the sustainability of food production and the environment.


Every five years, Rothamsted Research develops a revised science strategy. Its 2017-2022 version comprises five multidisciplinary, interdependent programmes that are collaborative within the institute, funded from multiple sources and in some cases, across institutes and other organisational research programmes.


The 2017-2022 institute strategic programmes are:


  • ‘Designing Future Wheat’ aimed at developing and screening novel wheat germplasm for the next generation of key traits which will underpin sustainable and productive agriculture.


  • ‘Tailoring Plant Metabolism for the Bioeconomy’, a programme which aims to enhance and exploit fundamental understanding of plant metabolism, to expand the value chains of existing niche crops, delivering a portfolio of high value plant products and plant germplasm.


  • ‘Soil to Nutrition (Optimising Nutrient Flow)’ aims to advance farming systems through an enhanced mechanistic understanding of nutrient use efficiency, productivity and resilience from soil to food product.


  • ‘Smart Crop Protection’ aims to adopt a gene to landscape approach to deliver more targeted and sustainable control of insect pests, weeds and diseases in agroecosystems.


  • ‘Achieving Agricultural Sustainable Systems’ (ASSIST) aims to develop and test innovative farming systems that increase food production and its resilience, while reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture.


A strategic approach to knowledge exchange and commercialisation of research (KEC) is an integral component of the Rothamsted Research 2017-2022 science strategy, to ensure the effective dissemination of knowledge and accelerate delivery of innovation to farmers nationally and internationally, according to Rothamsted.


Professor Achim Dobermann, director and chief executive at Rothamsted Research says: “We are delighted to have the long-term commitment and support by the BBSRC for the delivery of research objectives aiming to offer solutions for agriculture in some of the most challenging issues.”

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