Rothamsted Research and Syngenta have agreed to form a multi-million pound scientific research partnership focused on Rothamsted's 20:20 Wheat BBSRC Strategic Programme, which aims to increase wheat productivity to yield 20 tonnes per hectare within 20 years.
The partnership aims to translate state-of-the-art scientific knowledge into technologies that will benefit farmers directly, provide support to UK agriculture, contribute to UK economic growth and improve wheat yields worldwide.
Rothamsted and Syngenta have launched their ground-breaking public-private partnership on the same day that the Government has announced its Agri-Tech Strategy. The new partnership directly in line with the Strategy's aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of UK agriculture, and to support UK leadership in agricultural innovation by promoting increased collaboration and co-investment from industry.
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "Rothamsted is a world-class agricultural research facility and it's important that its work benefits the economy and society. This partnership will bring commercial expertise to the table, driving forward the agri-tech strategy, helping to turn excellent science into cutting edge technologies for farmers that could help make wheat growing more sustainable and improve yields."
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, commented: "We want to see the maximum benefit for society from the investment we make of on behalf of the Nation in plant and crop research. In crop science the fastest way to get innovation out of the lab and into farmers' hands is often through the major companies in the sector. This partnership with Syngenta will help Rothamsted scientists to accelerate the translation of their research into the market, to the benefit of farmers and, ultimately, consumers.
"It is a clear sign of the excellence of the BBSRC-funded science at Rothamsted and the UK agricultural research base that Syngenta is prepared to commit to a partnership on this scale."
BBSRC invests over £27M in strategic programmes, grants, infrastructure and training at Rothamsted Research. Wheat 20:20 is a Rothamsted Institute Strategic Programme with £14M of BBSRC investment over five years.
Working together, scientists from Syngenta and Rothamsted will translate the latest breakthroughs in scientific knowledge into technologies and products to help wheat growers deliver higher yields and performance. Over the next five years, the collaboration will seek to integrate a wide range of technologies and approaches in areas such as improved crop genetics, crop protection strategies, plant architecture, soil and root interactions, and disease control.
The partnership is formalised through a Framework Agreement that provides a pathway for Rothamsted and Syngenta to collaborate further to promote development, technology transfer and commercialisation of the joint research projects.
Initially Syngenta will contribute £3.5m in cash and a further £1.7m in kind over five years, focused on research activities across 19 separate projects where there is genuine practical value to farmers in the UK and worldwide.
For the full Rothamsted Research and Syngenta announcement see: www.rothamsted.ac.uk