• Wanted: Proposals for sustainable rice production

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    The Philippines and the United Kingdom have joined forces to support research projects that will boost resilience and sustainability of rice production in Southeast Asia.

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    In a statement, the UK Embassy on Friday said “food security is one of the greatest global challenges we currently face.”

    To address this, the UK collaborated with four countries in Asia–China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

    “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 on food security if it is not addressed now,” British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said.

    “Unli [unlimited]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 toward the adequate supply of this staple food to submit their applications to the Newton Fund,” he added.

    The British Embassy in Manila has been calling for proposals on collaborative inter-disciplinary research that will focus on long-term sustainable production of rice, as well as utilizing 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.

    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 that will 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); utilization of rice by-products; novel research tool and technology development supporting the above areas (including systems biology, bioinformatics, screening and characterization of germplasm for gene and trait discovery).

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

    The proposed projects should be up to a maximum duration of three 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 August 13, 2015.

    For more information on this opportunity, the embassy invites researchers to visit the UK BBSRC website at http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2015/newton-fund-joint-call-in-rice-research.

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    1 Comment

    1. The challenge to sustainable rice production is maintaining the adequacy of the water distribution system to the rice fields, and the rest will follow. Government should ensure that this vital distribution system is in place, available, and accessible to rice farmers.