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Crops for Human and Farmed Animal Nutrition

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Call status: Closed
Previous call: 12 May 2016 – 21 September 2016

Funded through responsive mode


In an effort to feed the growing global population, the Green Revolution inevitably focused on yields, primarily of a few staple crops. Though this has ensured we have enough calories globally, and delivered more affordable food, it is now timely to extend research into the nutritional quality of food. Significant recent investments in underpinning plant, microbial and nutritional science has placed us in the position where we have a greater understanding of nutritional needs of humans and farmed animals at various stages of the lifecycle, and the ability to manipulate crops to deliver those needs.

We invite researchers from a range of backgrounds to apply their expertise across the spectrum of underpinning to applied research in order to advance our understanding of how crops and/or crop-based food can have a positive health benefit for humans or farmed animals.

It is important to deliver benefits to researchers, industrial partners and practitioners. Proposals should build on the latest crop and nutritional science to address the strategically important challenge of delivering the next generation of crops that are beneficial for human and/or farmed animal health – to be achieved through linking crop science, through to processing and improved nutrition.

We welcome proposals addressing a range of UK and globally relevant research questions, but would, in particular, encourage applications addressing this challenge in crops relevant to developing countries.

We also welcome applications working in collaboration and/or consultation with the food industry. As will all responsive mode applications, LINK and IPA schemes are also applicable in areas covered by this highlight.


The strategic need for Crops for Human and Farmed Animal Nutrition

Recent advances in our understanding of crop genetics, epigenetics, and metabolomics will potentially allow us to access and improve the range of nutrients produced by a wide variety of crops. Improved knowledge of nutrient uptake and metabolism in humans and animals, including the importance of the gut microbiome, has also led to a greater understanding of the influence different crops can have on health. However, a gap still exists in bringing these areas of knowledge together to breed crops and develop crop-based foods with enhanced nutritional potential, where beneficial nutrients are more bioavailable, and where there are proven benefits to health from their consumption.


It is acknowledged that it may not be appropriate for all projects to aim to deliver research from the identification of novel crop trait though to nutritional intervention studies and the manufacture of novel food products. However, applications should demonstrate appropriate lines of collaboration and project design, for example seeking nutritional science advice or input from industry, to ensure a clear pathway to impact is identified.

The novel aspect of the research must relate to the nutritional profile of the crop, ingredient or food matrix but can include:

  • crops with novel or enhanced traits
  • novel use of existing germplasm, crops, or mixtures of existing crops
  • manipulation of crop based food matrices, including crop derived co-products, to enhance the nutritional profile

Applicants must clearly demonstrate that the intervention proposed is satisfying a nutritional need; that the crop of choice is likely to address that need in a defined target population; and that the nutrient or nutrients will be bioavailable in the likely food product.

  • The nutritional benefits could be direct (e.g. micronutrients, food bioactives, or diets with proven benefits) aiming to meet an acknowledged nutritional need or where a compelling case can be made for a nutritional need which can be addressed indirectly (e.g. manipulation of the gut microbiome)

Further details regarding the scientific scope of this call can be found in the FAQ document.


Funding for this highlight is not ring-fenced; successful applications will be funded through our responsive mode (round 16RM3). However, in the context of the standard responsive mode peer review, the strategic relevance of these applications will be considered in relation to the aims of this highlight.


Standard responsive mode eligibility, remit and funding rules apply.

For more details, please see our grants guide.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

We strongly encourage applicants to discuss their project proposal with BBSRC Office before making an application (see contact below).

Applications should be made to 16RM3 through the Joint electronic Submission System (Je-S) (see external links), with the “Crops for Human and Farmed Animal Nutrition” highlight box checked.

When submitting an application on Je-S please select the following categories:

  • Council: BBSRC
  • Document Type: Standard Proposal
  • Scheme: Responsive Mode
  • Call/Type/Mode: 2016 Responsive Mode – 21 September 2016

General enquiries regarding Je-S should be directed to the Je-S helpdesk:, tel: +441793 444164.

Applicants must label their proposal “CROPNUT:’’ before stating the project title.

Related calls: agriculture collaboration crops food innovation livestock nutrition partnerships responsive mode