Barley research group gets research grant

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The next generation of barley researchers have received a multi-million investment through the Barley Industrial Training Network (BARIToNE) programme, a Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) led by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, International Barley Hub and University of Dundee, with support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and industry partners.

The programme will see a cohort of 30 post graduate researchers supported with a total estimated value of £9m. The four-year studentships will be delivered over the period 2022-28 with £3m of funding from BBSRC, £600k in cash from industry and more than £5m in-kind co-investment from academic and commercial partners covering the entire length of the barley value chain.

Professor James Brosnan, BARIToNE leader and chair of the International Barley Hub, said: The barley supply chain has come together under the umbrella of the International Barley Hub to work in partnership to achieve government and industry targets to reach net zero carbon emissions and to underpin the future climate resilience of barley as a major global crop. The BARIToNE CTP will create a new generation of scientifically diverse barley experts to become sustainability leaders in industry and academia over the coming decades.

“Under the CTP scheme they will have the opportunity to develop high level technical and translational skills and forge a strong professional network to be the foundation for their future careers. The 18 industry partners in BARIToNE all believe that this CTP will be a major lever to deliver barley sustainability through training talented people.”

Professor Robbie Waugh, Director of the International Barley Hub, added: “A sustainable barley supply supports both UK agriculture and the significant economic benefit that arises when it is processed into whisky, beer and food.

“Investing in barley science by bringing new researchers together within the BARIToNE CTP will not only yield a positive impact on the UK barley supply but as barley is also a major global crop and source of translational science to other crop species, the PhD projects are likely to have a far wider impact.”

Dr Julian South, Executive Director of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, commented: “The BARIToNE programme will greatly enhance the opportunities for the future generation of scientists and engineers to join the malting industry. The coordinated programme of research is a real boost for the UK drinks sector and its supply chain.”

The BARIToNE studentships are part of a contingent of 225 studentships, in partnership with academia and industry, spanning 29 businesses and 12 academic research organisations. The CTP scheme run by BBSRC will address skills gaps in UK bioscience industry through doctoral training led by businesses. The collaborative partnerships will work across the council’s strategic priorities areas such as Net Zero+, Tackling Infections, Transformative Technologies and more.

BBSRC executive chair, Professor Melanie Welham, said: “With the awards we have announced today BBSRC underlines its commitment to working with industry to support the next generation of bioscience researchers. Projects will span areas vital to our strategic priorities, such as meeting our net zero goals.”

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