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UK government support for resilient and sustainable agriculture in Philippines as part of global food security

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Food security is one of the greatest global challenges we currently face. In a bid to address this, a new collaboration between the United Kingdom and four countries in Asia, including the Philippines, will support research projects to boost the resilience and sustainability of rice production in the region. Britons are as fond of rice as Filipinos.

The British Embassy in Manila is calling for proposals on collaborative interdisciplinary research that will underpin the long-term sustainable production of rice, utilising the combined strengths of academic research groups within China, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK. This initiative is supported by the UK Government’s Newton Fund which helps build science and innovation partnerships with key emerging economies.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said, “In a country where rice is a main part of almost every meal, enhancing rice production is a major priority. The headlines report that El Niño may be the most intense the country has experienced in recent years. Studies have shown that climate change will have a devastating effect of food security if it is not addressed now.  Unli rice may no longer be a promo offer. This project will help farmer productivity and enhance trading in rice, when necessary. We encourage all researchers who are working towards the adequate supply of this staple food to submit their applications to the Newton Fund.”

The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK BBSRC) and the UK Natural Environment Research Council, in collaboration with Philippine Partners Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research & Development (DOST-PCAARD) and the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) are calling for submissions of research proposals to address the following challenges in the Philippine context: greater resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses; improved resource use efficiency (including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Water); improved quality of rice (including nutritional enhancement and grain quality); utilisation of rice by-products; novel research tool and technology development supporting the above areas (including systems biology, bioinformatics, screening and characterisation of germplasm for gene and trait discovery).

These priority areas in sustainable rice research have been agreed though a regional workshop in Bangkok, Thailand last April, which brought together relevant funding agencies, key research organisations and leading academics from China, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK.

Proposed projects should be up to a maximum duration of 3 years and will require a UK Principal Investigator as well as a Philippine Principal Investigator with the options of additional Principal Investigators from other partner countries.

The deadline for submission of applications is on 13 August 2015. For more information on this opportunity, please visit the UK BBSRC website: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2015/newton-fund-joint-call-in-rice-research/