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Pre-announcement: BBSRC-FAPESP Joint Pump-Priming Awards for AMR and Insect Pest Resistance in Agriculture

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Understanding and managing resistance, including novel methods, for pathogen and pest control.

Newton Fund webpage on gov.uk

Call status: Open
Expression of interest (workshop attendance) deadline: 29 August 2017, 16:00
Partnership Building Workshop (FAPESP Headquarters, São Paulo): 4-6 October 2017

Summary

BBSRC in the UK and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil are pleased to pre-announce a joint Newton Fund call for collaborative research proposals focussing on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and insect pest resistance in agriculture, opening in September 2017. BBSRC has up to £2.5 million to commit to this call with a matched research contribution funded by FAPESP.

An opportunity is now available to express interest in attending a partnering workshop to be held at FAPESP in São Paulo, Brazil, on 4-6 October 2017.

The call for proposals and FAPESP specific guidelines for SP researchers will be launched in early September (before the workshop takes place) and will close in early December to allow time for both workshop and non-workshop participants to develop pump-priming proposals in collaboration with Brazilian partners. Attendance at the workshop is not mandatory to apply to the call.

Although this call is being managed by BBSRC, we would welcome any UK eligible researchers who are eligible for RCUK funding to consider how they might address the aims of the call.

Funding

The call will be managed as a two stage process with the first stage being a pump-priming proposal. The pump-priming grants will be short-term projects of no more than 12 months awarded to a maximum of £80,000 in the UK (with matched contribution from FAPESP – it is not necessary to request an equal amount of money from both sides but it is envisaged a balanced partnership in terms of research efforts) to establish new or build on existing collaborations. BBSRC and FAPESP are looking to support around 10 pump-priming projects.

Purpose of the pump-priming call and the second stage process

The purpose of the pump-priming award is to enable UK and Brazilian researchers to work together to develop competitive, integrated, collaborative research proposals for submission to the full stage BBSRC-FAPESP Joint AMR and Insect Pest Resistance in Agriculture Call closing date in autumn 2018.

Full stage collaborative research projects, following on from successful pump-priming awards, will start in April 2019 and will last up to two years, and will be of larger scale than the pump priming projects. BBSRC and FAPESP are looking to support around five full stage projects, dependent upon the success of projects at the pump-priming stage.

Important: Only applicants that hold a successful pump-priming award will be eligible to submit proposals to the full stage call, and these proposals will receive additional peer review.

Outline scientific scope

Proposed projects should aim to inform, in the context of the wider agri-ecosystem, efforts to combat AMR and insect pest resistance in Brazil by investigating one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Host pathogen/pest interactions
    • Understanding the role of host-pathogen host-pest interactions in the development and transmission of resistance including the role of farmed animal, crop and soil microbiomes in acting as a reservoir, drug target or alternative control strategy
    • Understanding the implications of reducing the inappropriate use of antimicrobials and insecticides, for example as growth promoters, prophylactic use, excess use on GM resistant crops.
  • Underpinning mechanisms
    • Understanding the underpinning mechanisms associated with the emergence, persistence, transmission, evolution, co-selection of relevant resistant pathogens/insect pests or resistance genes
    • Understanding mechanisms of action of antimicrobials/insecticides
    • Identification/validation of novel targets for novel antimicrobials and insecticides .
  • Epidemiology
    • Identification of key agriculturally relevant drivers and reservoirs
    • Understanding of prevalence, pathogenicity and transmission dynamics (genetic, organism and host level), including the biological effects of agricultural management practice on disease epidemiology
    • Mathematical modelling in an AMR and/or insecticide resistance context.
  • Disease management and control
    • Diagnostics for pathogens and/or insect pests, especially rapid on farm diagnostics; and other biological tools and technologies that can support decision making
    • Novel alternatives for pathogen control, including immune stimulation and biocontrol
    • Novel agents for pathogen and/or insect control, including antimicrobials and insecticides, therapeutics and vaccines.

The primary focus should be on microbiological pathogens and/or insect pests of relevance to Brazilian arable crops, farmed animals and reservoirs in agricultural soils, and agents designed to target them; including bactericides, fungicides, broad spectrum antimicrobials and insecticides. This includes pathogens with zoonotic potential where the focus is on farmed animal health.

This excludes research with a human health focus; and animal research on a human only disease where the animal is a vector for the human disease or is being used as a model species.

We would like to encourage work with relevant industry partners, where applicable, including farming, breeding and the agricultural supply industry.

Researchers who have demonstrated the capacity to transfer existing expertise in human health-related AMR research to new applications in the agricultural sector would be encouraged to apply.

Pump-priming partnership building workshop

BBSRC and FAPESP are holding a UK-Brazil partnership building workshop for the pump-priming call on 4-6 October 2017 in São Paulo, to bring together UK and Brazilian scientists in this area. This will provide opportunities for face-to-face networking and for new UK-Brazil collaborations to develop. The workshop will enable participants to better understand key challenges around AMR and insect pest resistance in Brazilian agriculture, and consider the research landscape and relevant expertise available in the UK and the State of São Paulo. A key aspect of this workshop will be for participants to explore how their existing expertise in AMR could have new applications in the agricultural sector.

The workshop may involve an in-country site visit (on 4 October 2017) to help provide participants with some real context behind the key challenges in agricultural AMR/insect pest resistance for Brazil that new collaborative research projects could aim to address.

We are particularly interested in organisations/experts that have:

  • expertise in one or more of the above-mentioned priority areas
  • experience in working on AMR challenges and solutions relevant for Brazil
  • the capacity to transfer existing expertise in human health-related AMR research to new applications in the agricultural sector.

How to apply

We are therefore opening this call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) to eligible UK researchers who are interested in taking part in this partnership building workshop and are able to contribute expertise and experience to the discussions with our Brazilian counterparts.

Please read our grants guide (see downloads) to check if you are eligible to receive BBSRC (RCUK) funding before submitting an EoI.

UK applicants should complete an Expression of Interest form (see application downloads below) alongside an up to date two-page CV. Completed applications should be sent to newton.agri-amr@bbsrc.ac.uk stating your name, institution and ‘AMR Brazil EoI’ in the subject line. The deadline for applications for the workshop is 29 August 2017, 16:00. There will be a competitive selection process to ensure a balance of expertise, coverage of the scope areas and institutional representation at the workshop.

Submission of an expression of interest participation application will be taken to mean that the applicant is available to attend on the specified dates and will make a commitment to attend if selected. The partnership building workshop will take place over three days from 4-6 October 2017, but applicants should note this does not include the time needed to travel between the UK and Brazil either side of these dates. Additional details of the location, venue, visa, travel and the accommodation arrangements will be provided to those invited to participate.

If successful, information provided in the expertise and experience section of the Expression of Interest form will be made available to everyone invited to attend the project scoping workshop to facilitate networking and collaboration at the event.

Please note that applicants who do not attend the UK-Brazil workshop will still be eligible to apply to the pump-priming call.

Application downloads

The Newton Fund

This call forms part of BBSRC’s Newton Fund activities and therefore requires projects to address Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) objectives alongside their scientific aims.

The Newton Fund was set up by UK government in 2014 to build research 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. The total budgeted UK investment for the Newton Fund is £735 million from 2014 to 2021, and partner countries provide matched resources within the Fund.

The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee list. Newton Fund countries represent a sub-set of this list.

More information can be found on the Newton Fund website and RCUK guidance on ODA compliance (see external links).

Timetable

Stage Date
Expression of interest call for workshop opens - UK researchers 24 July 2017
Expression of interest call for workshop closes - UK researchers 29 August 2017, 16:00
Inform successful UK applicants Early September 2017
Joint UK-Brazil workshop 4-6 October 2017
Pump-priming call opens Early September 2017 (before workshop)
Pump-priming call closes Early December 2017 (after workshop)
Funding decisions announced Early February 2018
Pump priming projects (6-12 months) begin April 2018

Related calls: agriculture collaboration crops livestock microbes Newton Fund partnerships pests