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BBSRC-Newton Fund Call for Virtual Joint Centres with Brazil, China and India in Agricultural Nitrogen

Copyright: IStock

Call status: Closed
Previous call: 18 May 2015 – 22 July 2015


  • NERC
  • CONFAP, Brazil
  • Research Councils UK, China
  • Department of Biotechnology, India
  • The Newton Fund

Funding total

£12.4M was awarded from BBSRC and NERC.


Grant ref no. Principal investigator Research organisation Title Amount (RC contribution)
BB/N013204/1 Professor Sacha Mooney University of Nottingham NUCLEUS: a virtual joint centre to deliver enhanced Nitrogen Use effiCiency via an integrated SoiL-plant systEms approach for the Uk & BraSil £1,089,209
BB/N013476/1 Professor Ray Dixon John Innes Centre Understanding and Exploiting Biological Nitrogen Fixation for Improvement of Brazilian Agriculture £1,312,125


Grant ref no. Principal investigator Research organisation Title Amount (RC contribution)
BB/N013468/1 Dr Tom Misselbrook Rothamsted Research UK-China Virtual Joint Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy (CINAG) £2,438,488
BB/N013484/1 Professor Peter Smith University of Aberdeen N-CIRCLE: Virtual Joint Centre for Closed-Loop Cycling of Nitrogen in Chinese Agriculture £2,403,479


Grant ref no. Principal investigator Research organisation Title Amount (RC contribution)
BB/N013387/1 Professor Philip Poole University of Oxford India-UK Nitrogen Fixation Centre (IUNFC) £1,356,953
BB/N013492/1 Professor Mark Sutton NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Newton-Bhabha Virtual Centre on Nitrogen Efficiency of Whole-cropping Systems for improved performance and resilience in agriculture (NEWS India-UK) £1,139,686
BB/N013441/1 Dr Tina Barsby National Institute of Agricultural Botany Cambridge-India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen £1,336,625
BB/N013360/1 Professor Peter Shewry Rothamsted Research Indo-UK Centre for the improvement of Nitrogen use Efficiency in Wheat (INEW) £1,346,096


To establish a number of Virtual Joint Centres to explore ways to sustain or improve current levels of crop production with lower energy inputs and reduced environmental impacts.

Key aims

  • To support innovative basic, strategic or applied research that will enable crop production to be enhanced in ways that make appropriate use of fertilisers (or potential alternative sources of nitrogen) to optimise yields, while maintaining the quality of soil, water and air, and reducing adverse impacts on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems
  • To optimise farm practices and soil management to make more effective use of fertilisers and reduce losses of reactive nitrogen to the environment
  • To improve the efficiency of nitrogen uptake or metabolism by plants
  • To enhance nitrogen-fixation in legumes or exploiting the potential of BNF in non-leguminous plants

Related calls: agriculture collaboration crops international Newton Fund