Three high-value, long-term research projects totalling £13.9M have been awarded funding by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
They have the potential to produce cheap and effective vaccines for poultry, develop plants that can make their own fertiliser and create new ways to breed elite lines of wheat.
The three grants, funded through BBSRC's Strategic Longer and Larger grants (sLoLas) scheme, give world-leading research teams five years of funding and resources to address major challenges. The projects were chosen based on their scientific excellence; because they required long timescales and extensive resources; and because they involve internationally leading research teams.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "From better vaccines for livestock to growing higher-yield crops, Government is investing in these long-term projects to help the UK's world-leading scientists find innovative and sustainable solutions that will boost food production across the country."
Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "The BBSRC sLoLa scheme gives extra time and resources to world-leading UK scientists so they can address major scientific challenges. The funded studies include work to breed new varieties of wheat, improve the supply of biological nitrogen to plants and to create safe and cheap vaccines for poultry. As well helping the UK and the world to meet these challenges and offer economic and social benefit, the projects will develop the world-leading research capacity of the UK."
The projects are:
Managing the Nitrogen economy of bacteria - Imperial College London (£4,579,656)
Releasing natural variation in bread wheat by modulating meiotic crossovers - University of Bristol (£3,680,716)
Glycoengineering of Veterinary Vaccines - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (£5,724,037)
Story source: BBSRC press release, 11 Dec 2015