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New Anglo-French drive on crop science

28 September 2005

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) today announce a joint initiative to support crop science research.

The aim is to draw on the complementary experience and field expertise of researchers in the UK and France, to help translate basic plant science research into practical information for crop and agronomic improvements, with a sharp focus on bilateral collaborations, and application of information from reference species, for example, Arabidopsis.

Scientists are encouraged to bid for support in a wide range of areas including brassicas, cereals, plant pest and pathogen interactions, and epidemiology.

It is planned to support two programmes, each running over about four years and involving collaborations between UK and French researchers. BBSRC plans to invest up to £1.35M for projects beginning in 2006. In addition, INRA has identified up to €2M for projects in INRA laboratories.

“This new collaborative initiative will provide an important opportunity for UK scientists to establish interactive partnerships with researchers in France and take a lead in developing international programmes, as recommended in the independent review of crop science, commissioned by BBSRC last year,” said Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology.


Notes to editors

BBSRC commissioned a review of Crop Science, published in 2004 and one of the findings of the review was that BBSRC should take the lead in the development of international programmes.

Some funding arrangements to foster this and to support large-scale collaborative projects with external matching funding were proposed. Specifically it was recommended that relationships with INRA should be strengthened (Recommendation 15).


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

External contact

Dr Hélène Lucas, INRA

tel: 01 30 83 34 73


Rowan McKibbin

tel: 01793 413301

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382