UK research councils BBSRC and NERC plus partners in Brazil, China and India, are delighted to announce a Newton Fund call for Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen. Applications are invited to enable research activities between the UK and one of Brazil, China or India for up to three years in duration. The aim of the Virtual Joint Centres is to explore ways to sustain or improve current levels of crop production with lower energy inputs and reduced environmental impacts.
Application deadline: 22 July 2015, 4pm GMT.
A combined total of around £10M is available from BBSRC and NERC to support the UK components of bilateral working across the three countries. It is envisaged that the funding will be divided equally between the three countries.
The Funders aim 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.
New advances in bioscience, precision agriculture and phenomics, coupled with improvements in agronomy, offer the potential to optimise nitrogen application rates and develop management practices tailored to specific environmental conditions and crop species. Such advances make more effective management of nitrogen use within farming systems a valid and timely target.
Relevant scientific themes that could be supported by Virtual Joint Centres include:
- Agronomic nitrogen use efficiency: optimising farm practices and soil management to make more effective use of fertilisers and reduce losses of reactive nitrogen to the environment.
- Biological nitrogen use efficiency: improving the efficiency of nitrogen uptake or metabolism by plants.
- Biological nitrogen fixation: enhancing nitrogen-fixation in legumes or exploiting the potential of BNF in non-leguminous plants.
Integrative, multidisciplinary and multi-scale approaches are encouraged, and there is particular scope for interaction between plant, agricultural and environmental scientists, and on nitrogen use in the context of the global nitrogen cycle, at the interface between the remits of BBSRC and NERC.
Details can be found on the BBSRC website.
Image credit: Rural farmer in He Qing Yunnan, China. Photo by Hong Meen Chee, 2009. With thanks to WorldFish on Flickr.