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Funding partnership to tackle top horticultural pest and diseases

Research funds of £250,000 are now available for five projects to tackle high priority pests and diseases threats for horticulture crops.

This is the result of a new initiative from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) working together to invest in research for horticultural production.

Researchers are now being invited to submit proposals for five projects, each worth up to £50,000, to tackle priority pests and diseases identified by AHDB through industry-led sector panels, crop associations and risk analysis.

The pilot scheme aims to generate data and outputs which are directly aligned to industry need that could lead to longer-term research programmes and enable access to other funding opportunities.

AHDB has committed to share the results of the research through their knowledge exchange programme.

Dr Nikki Harrison, Horticulture Senior Scientist at AHDB, said: “Horticulture faces significant challenges from new threats, such as the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus which we saw in the UK for the first time this year.

“This new partnership will secure additional funding for the industry to complement our own research and respond to high priority crop threats. As an industry, we urgently need to develop new crop protection solutions to future-proof UK horticultural crop production, and by developing funding partnerships, we can markedly enhance our crop protection research programme for our growers.”

Dr Karen Lewis, BBSRC Executive Director, Capability and Innovation said: “BBSRC is pleased to be involved in this exciting new partnership with AHDB. We are working together to support the UK’s world-class bioscience researchers in helping to address the challenges of new pest and disease threats faced by the horticultural industry. AHDB’s relationship with growers will ensure that the outputs are shared, and can contribute to the development of future research programmes that are aligned to the crop protection needs of UK growers.”

The research projects will be awarded through a competitive process that includes an open call and will be assessed by an expert panel of horticultural scientists and industry representatives.

Proposals will address key pests and diseases, shortlisted by the industry, to test approaches and develop strategies to improve understanding, management and control.

The duration of the projects will be three to five months. To find out more and to apply, visit AHDB: Research and knowledge exchange funding applications or contact


Notes to editors

Table of shortlisted pest and disease priorities

Pests and diseases Latin name Crop
Aphids Various spp. Pepper, Lettuce, Babyleaf salads, Strawberry, Raspberry, Tree Fruit
Bacterial blotch Pseudomonas tolaasii
Pseudomonas gingeri
Brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys Apple, Pear, Cherry, Blueberries, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Beans
Cavity Spot Pythium spp. Carrots
Common green capsid Lygocoris pabulinus Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry
Downy mildew Peronospora belbahrii
Peronospora destructor
Peronospora lamii
Plasmopara umbelliferarum
Peronospora belbahrii
Herbs: Basil, chive, parsley, sage
Fireblight Erwinia pyrifoliae Strawberry
Fusarium Fusarium oxysporum spp. Bulb and salad onions, Lettuce
Nesidiocoris Nesidiocoris tenuis Tomato
Pythium damping-off and root rot Pythium spp. Babyleaf salads, Spinach, lettuce
South American tomato moth Tuta absoluta Tomato
Spotted Winged Drosophila Drosophila suzukii Soft and stone fruit
Stemphylium purple spot Stemphylium vesicarium Asparagus
Thrips Frankliniella occidentalis
Frankliniella intonsa
Thrips tabaci
Thrips major
Strawberry, Pepper, Cucumber
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) Tobamovirus, ToBRFV Tomato and Pepper
Woolly Apple Aphid Eriosoma lanigerum Apple

About AHBD

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72% of total UK agricultural output.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

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 £498 million in world-class bioscience in 2017-18. 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 UK Research and Innovation.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.


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Tags: press release diseases pests agriculture food security