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£4M awarded for new UK-Brazil joint projects in wheat research

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A £4M investment between BBSRC and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) has been made to support collaborations between UK and Brazilian scientists in wheat research.

The funding (£2M from the Newton Fund delivered through BBSRC, with matched resources from Embrapa) has been awarded to four partnerships between the UK and Brazil. The funding aims to inform the development of new traits or practices to enhance the sustainability of wheat production in the context of the wider agri-ecosystem. Newton funding is enabling researchers from the UK and Brazil to work together to tackle key economic development and social welfare issues to achieve greater outcomes for both countries and for people around the world.

This investment further strengthens the partnership working between the UK and Brazil in agricultural research, building on the UK’s excellent science base and ensuring we continue to be a partner of choice for collaborative research. It’s hoped that this partnership will continue to develop and expand to additional areas of mutual interest and importance to both BBSRC and Embrapa.

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive – International, said: “The outcome of this pilot call represents a significant development in the long-term partnership between BBSRC and Embrapa and is the first time that the two organisations have worked on a joint call. As a member of the International Wheat Initiative this investment demonstrates BBSRC’s continued commitment to improve global food security to feed a growing population.”

Maurício Lopes, President of Embrapa, said: “This pilot joint call has been a priceless opportunity to boost the cooperation between Embrapa and BBSRC and surely several more collaborations will arise from it. These investments from Embrapa in strategic partnerships are major, multi-year actions that cut across Embrapa´s research areas and research programs and I’m sure that we will be building on this interaction for many years to come.”

The BBSRC Embrapa projects are:

  • Uncovering the genetic and functional basis of the unique leaf rust resistance in the Brazilian wheat variety Toropi
    Dr Lesley Boyd, National Institute for Agricultural Botany working with Dr Marcia Chaves, Embrapa Wheat
  • Exploiting natural and induced variation to increase Fusarium head blight and brusone resistance in wheat
    Dr Paul Nicholson, John Innes Centre working with Dr. Pedro Scheeren, Embrapa Wheat
  • Exploitation of the rhizosphere microbiome for sustainable wheat production
    Dr Tim Mauchline, Rothamsted Research working with Dr Rodrigo Mendes, Embrapa Environment
  • Using disease risk forecasting, NGS and HIGS to explore and control Fusarium Head Blight disease in wheat fields
    Professor Kim Hammond-Kosack, Rothamsted Research working with Dr José Maurício Cunha Fernandes, Embrapa Wheat

For full details of the funding call visit the BBSRC/Embrapa Joint Wheat Call funding page.


About Newton Fund

The Newton Fund builds scientific and innovation partnerships with 16 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment of £735M up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and delivered through 15 UK Delivery Partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.

For further information visit the Newton Fund website and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.


UK Research and Innovation Media Office

Tags: bioeconomy crops farming food funding BBSRC press release Newton Fund