The hunt is on for ambitious young researchers who want to make a positive difference to UK agriculture now that a new consortium led by farm business G’s Growers has been granted a UKRI-BBSRC collaborative training partnership award (CTP) for a postgraduate training programme in sustainable agricultural innovation.
The training, which will run 2022-2028 is known as the CTP programme for Sustainable Agricultural Innovation (CTP-SAI), will select and work with 30 PhD students.
“TMAF is delighted to be part of the new CTP-SAI led by G’s Growers,” said TMAF Board member Dr Stephen Rawsthorne. “This is a real opportunity to develop relationships between PhD students and end-users of the research and vice versa.”
Linked up research to solve farming challenges
The scope of the research programme, co-developed with NIAB and the University of Cambridge, the Crop Science Centre, the James Hutton Institute and other leading UK universities, is wide and deep. Dr Richard Harrison, NIAB’s Director of Cambridge Crop Research, said “This CTP stretches across the food and farming crop supply chain, bringing together partners to address the joint challenges of reducing emissions, developing resilient farming systems and reversing biodiversity decline.”
A set of bespoke training modules have been developed for the young researchers to cover topics such as data science and machine learning, entrepreneurship and systems thinking – all in the context of global food security.
A unique feature of this training is that it will be grounded in the day-to-day reality of the business of farming. “This integrated programme, the first of its kind, will ensure that regardless of the future career path CTP students choose, they will have a thorough understanding of how businesses work and how, as scientists, to positively engage in bringing science-led solutions to market,” said Emma Garfield, Head of Research Agronomy at G’s Growers.
Strength and camaraderie in numbers
TMAF is particularly delighted to be the charity/industrial partner for two of the studentships allocated in the first tranche of 10 being advertised.
According to Dr Rawsthorne, the CTP students will be able to link with TMAF’s own PhD students to enrich their academic thinking. “The new studentships will cover disease resistance and root development, and both will be based on use of the powerful genetic resources in wheat that NIAB have developed over many years as part of the BBSRC-funded Designing Future Wheat programme.”
The business of recruiting the young researchers is underway and a short film explains the opportunity. In the meantime, as TMAF, we can look forward to welcoming the first CTP students to Morley as part of their professional development as scientists and their contribution to agriculture as a whole.