Seven new research projects were launched on 27 November to help provide new or improved crops for the future. The projects involve collaborations between researchers in the UK and India and aims to provide crops suitable for a changing climate and to produce more food with fewer inputs. The research has been made possible thanks to £5M funding from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and matched resources from India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Two projects are on Brassica crops. Eric Holub (University of Warwick) is the UK lead on a project to develop a genetics and genomics interface to develop strategies for sustainable use of resistance to white rust in oilseed mustard (Brassica juncea). Deepak Pental (University of Delhi) is the lead in India. 

Ian Bancroft (University of York) and Akshay Pradhan (University of Delhi) are leading a £600,000 project on broadening the genetic diversity underpinning seed quality and yield traits in mustard rape and oilseed rape.

Professor Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, said:“These projects combine the strengths of researchers in India and the UK to help provide solutions to increasing food demands. Advances in sequencing, genomic and bioinformatic tools enable us to improve crops more rapidly than ever before to facilitate the step-change in agricultural productivity that will be required to feed the world sustainably.”

Prof K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Indian Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, said: “BBSRC and DBT have long worked together in areas of mutual strategic interest. This time the cooperation between the UK and Indian researchers aims to improve crop production addressing problems of disease and drought in crops; using pooled knowledge to improve both quality and quantity of the of food produce”

Research Councils UK India played a vital role in facilitating this co-funded programme between BBSRC and DBT, and to continue bringing together the best researchers in the UK and India.

This article is adapted from the press release published on the BBSRC website on 27 November.


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