News: 2009

New website explores food security challenge

11 December 2009

A new website – – was launched last night (10 December) to explore the issues around the looming challenge of feeding a global population predicted to reach 9Bn by 2050, and the world-class UK research already underway to help avert a potential crisis.

Consultation launched to shape new investment in agricultural research facility

26 November 2009

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has today (26 November) launched a consultation on the details of a proposed investment of over £1M in a new farm-scale research facility at North Wyke Research in Devon.

Key seed size gene identified

5 November 2009

Scientists from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK and the University of Freiburg in Germany have uncovered a gene in plants that is responsible for controlling the size of seeds, which could lead to ways of improving crops to help ensure food security in the future.

Scientists produce first draft of pig genome

2 November 2009

A global collaboration, supported in the UK in part by BBSRC, has produced a first draft of the genome of a domesticated pig, an achievement that will lead to insights in agriculture, medicine, conservation and evolution.

Plant science discovery wins Times Higher research project of the year

22 October 2009

A team of plant scientists, funded largely by BBSRC, at Lancaster University has won the coveted Research Project of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2009 for their research to enable plants to cope better in dry soils.

BBSRC welcomes Royal Society report into food security

21 October 2009

BBSRC has welcomed the publication today of the Royal Society report ‘Reaping the benefits: Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture’.

Scientists discover how to send insects off the scent of crops

24 September 2009

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded research, published this week in Chemical Communication, describes how scientists have discovered molecules that could confuse insects’ ability to detect plants by interfering with their sense of smell. This could reduce damage to crops by insect pests and contribute to food security.

Potato blight plight looks promising for food security

10 August 2009

Over 160 years since potato blight wreaked havoc in Ireland and other northern European countries, scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) finally have the blight-causing pathogen in their sights and are working to accelerate breeding of more durable, disease resistant potato varieties.

BBSRC at Royal Show 2009

7 July 2009

BBSRC, the UK’s largest funder of agriculture and food related research, will have a significant presence at the Royal Show 2009 for the iconic agricultural show’s last ever event this week, 7-10 July. BBSRC will be highlighting current activities to avoid a food security crisis, and to boost the green economy through sustainable bioenergy, while the Institute for Animal Health will be running daily sessions on the threat posed by Bluetongue.

New model predicts impact of new agricultural techniques and climate change on farmland ecosystems

9 June 2009

A consortium of scientists have presented a new way of modelling ecosystems that can predict the impact on farmland ecology of climate change, other environmental changes and novel farming practices. The research is published in Ecological Modelling.

Consultation launched on future research for food security

27 May 2009

The UK’s biggest funder of agri-food research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has launched a consultation on future research to tackle the growing but preventable food security crisis.

BBSRC Chief Executive calls for better coordination and increased funding to ensure food security

28 April 2009

In an interview this morning with the BBC, Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, called for better coordination and more funding for agri-food research in order to avoid a looming food security crisis.

Insight into fish disease to help protect farmed fish stocks

24 April 2009

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have gained a key insight into a disease that is devastating the UK’s fish farming industry. The researchers have discovered that fish can harbour and spread proliferative kidney disease (PKD), a cause of major stock losses on fish farms, as well as being affected by the infection.

Completed cattle genome could improve beef and dairy production

23 April 2009

Scientists are tomorrow (24 April 2009) publishing the complete cattle genome in the journal Science. UK researchers, supported in part by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have played a key part in the annotation and analysis of the genome as part of a 300-scientist collaboration, spanning 25 countries.

New publication highlights role of plant science in delivering food security

2 March 2009

With rapid global population growth, a changing climate and disruption to global trading patterns threatening our food supplies, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is funding research to help provide us with enough food for the future.

Summit convened to map out route to sustainable food security

19 February 2009

A meeting today in Central London is bringing together leading scientists, policymakers and funders with farmers, food manufactures and retailers to identify the challenges to delivering sustainable food security and the science we need to overcome them.

Wheat genome project to underpin food security

11 February 2009

An extensive genetic analysis of the wheat genome will be carried out by researchers at Bristol University, the University of Liverpool and the John Innes Centre, thanks to a £1.7M grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).