Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.29M | Year: 2015
BACKGROUND Secure and sustainable food production in terms of quantity and quality is a major challenge facing human societies. However, food security is continuously threatened by current and invasive pest species. EU regulations for the use of pesticides are getting stricter to ensure food safety and protect ecosystem health. Biocontrol of agricultural pests by using natural enemies has great potential to deal with these two demands. CHALLENGE Controlling novel exotic pests often involves importing non-native natural enemies. Such practices are undesirable as it poses risks to local biodiversity. Optimizing existing and native biocontrol agents can reduce the dependence on imported natural enemies. OBJECTIVE BINGO will advance current knowledge in biocontrol practice through the use of natural genetic variation and by simultaneously training 13 young researchers in an extensive suite of interdisciplinary skills. This will allow them to improve the efficiency of biological pest control through selective breeding of natural enemies in a broad range of agricultural systems and environmental conditions. HOW The research projects will address current bottlenecks in biocontrol, for rearing, monitoring and performance, that include a broad range of scientific disciplines and in which state-of-the-art population genomics will be applied. Industry has a pivotal role by providing the problems for research, training, and by translating the results to capacity building and increased competitiveness. RELEVANCE BINGO will deliver improved biocontrol agents, knowledge on the genetic organisation of traits related to agents performance, genetic markers for monitoring and risk assessment, and guidelines and protocols for genetic improvement of natural enemies. Crucially, BINGO will deliver eager ESRs that have the potential to thrive in professional environments in science, industry and public bodies to ensure that the biocontrol potential is met and implemented.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-4-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 9.04M | Year: 2015
Marine (blue) biotechnology is the key to unlocking the huge economic potential of the unique biodiversity of marine organisms. This potential remains largely underexploited due to lack of connectivity between research services, practical and cultural difficulties in connecting science with industry, and high fragmentation of regional research, development and innovation (RDI) policies. To overcome these barriers, EMBRIC (European Marine Biological Resource Infrastructure Cluster) will link biological and social science research infrastructures (EMBRC, MIRRI, EU-OPENSCREEN, ELIXIR, AQUAEXCEL, RISIS) and will build inter-connectivity along three dimensions: science, industry and regions. The objectives of EMBRIC are to: (1) develop integrated workflows of high quality services for access to biological, analytical and data resources, and deploy common underpinning technologies and practices; (2) strengthen the connection of science with industry by engaging companies and by federating technology transfer (TT) services; (3) defragment RDI policies and involve maritime regions with the construction of EMBRIC. Acceleration of the pace of scientific discovery and innovation from marine bioresources will be achieved through: (i) establishment of multidisciplinary service-oriented technological workflows; (ii) joint development activities focusing on bioprospection for novel marine natural products, and marker-assisted selection in aquaculture; (iii) training and knowledge transfer; (iv) pilot transnational access to cluster facilities and services. EMBRIC will also connect TT officers from contrasted maritime regions to promote greater cohesion in TT practices. It will engage with policy-makers with the aim of consolidating a perennial pan-European virtual infrastructure cluster rooted in the maritime regions of Europe and underpinning the blue bioeconomy.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-08 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2010
European forests are under unprecedented threat from the combined forces of climate change and large increases in the numbers of alien invasive pests and pathogens resulting from changes in patterns of global trade. Interactions between climate change, including likely changes in both mean temperatures and precipitation, will have serious impacts on the susceptibility of forest ecosystems to damage by pests and pathogens, and a large number of novel, unprecedented forest health problems are likely to occur in the near future. These problems will lead to reductions in primary production, with consequent losses in yields, biodiversity and other multi-functional roles of forests. Local extinctions of highly susceptible plant species may also result. The ISEFOR project will address these problems through: the identification of key groups of potentially invasive alien organisms, the development of accurate, state-of-the art diagnostic methods to detect and quantify both known and unknown threats, an in depth analysis of the plant nursery trade, the major poorly controlled pathway for distribution of alien pests and pathogens, and through the development of modelling software enabling the prediction of geographical areas at risk of attack by alien invasive pests and pathogens under climate change scenarios. The efficacy of the ISEFOR project will be enhanced through the use of the recently developed large databases of alien pest and pathogen threats, and interfacing with other EU-funded projects dealing with plant health issues. Results will be directed to the national plant protection organisations through targeted workshops.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.3-05 | Award Amount: 3.84M | Year: 2013
Food security is a global challenge. Within the overall increased demand for food, and particularly meat production, there is also an urgent need to increase supply of protein from sustainable sources. The principle objective of the international and multidisciplinary PROteINSECT consortium is to facilitate the exploitation of insects as an alternative protein source for animal and human nutrition. Advances have been made in rearing of insects for incorporation in animal feed in countries including China and Mali. The consortium brings together expertise in these countries together with European insect breeders and feed production companies in order to optimise systems and set up pilot scale production facilities in the EU. The project will demonstrate the feasibility of the use of insect-derived proteins in animal feed through trials with fish, poultry and pigs. Quality and safety along the food chain from insect protein itself, to incorporation in feed and ultimately human consumption of insect-protein reared livestock, will be evaluated. The use of waste streams that focus on animal rather than plant material for insect rearing will be examined. To optimise the economic viability of the use of insect proteins, uses for the residual flows from the production system will be determined. Life cycle analyses will enable the design of optimised and sustainable production systems suitable for adoption in both ICPC and European countries. Key to uptake is ensuring that a regulatory framework is in place and this will be encouraged by the preparation of a White Paper following consultation with key stakeholders, experts and consumers. PROteINSECT will build a pro-insect platform in Europe to encourage adoption of sustainable protein production technologies in order to reduce the reliance of the feed industry on plant/fish derived proteins in the short term, and promote the acceptance of insect protein as a direct component of human food in the longer term.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.1.2-04 | Award Amount: 8.53M | Year: 2014
The DROPSA consortium will create new knowledge and understanding of the damage and losses of fruit crops resulting from pests and pathogens, with a specific focus on the new and emerging threats due to Drosophila suzukii and quarantine pathogens Pseudomonas syringae, Xanthomonas fragariae and X. arboricola. The project will deliver a cost effective approach that can be widely implemented by the EU fruit industry. The aims and objectives are to: Determine the pathways of introduction and spread of D. suzukii and pathogens into the EU and develop preventative strategies and recommendations against the introduction of other dangerous fruit pests and pathogens. Determine the biology, ecology and interaction of these pests and diseases in different regions of Europe. This will involve a comprehensive evaluation of the life cycles, host ranges, capacities to disperse, the identification of natural enemies, plant-pathogen interactions as well as the semiochemicals involved in the behaviour of D. suzukii. The biology will provide the platform to develop practical solutions for sustainable pest control. Develop innovative and effective control options using approved chemicals, semiochemicals, novel antimicrobial compounds and biological control agents as well as cultural practices, sterile insect techniques and new mode of action compounds. The most reliable and effective control options will be combined to optimise an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. Develop forecasting and decision support systems and risk mapping as a component of IPM. The economic viability of proposed strategies for fruit crop protection will be evaluated and used to support decision making in the implementation of IPM strategies to protect the EU fruit sector. To protect intellectual property (IP) and to undertake dissemination and exploitation actions to maximise the impact and up take of the recommended IPM by commercial fruit growers.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-2.2.5. | Award Amount: 4.12M | Year: 2012
MIRRI will be a pan-European distributed RI providing microbiological services, thus facilitating access to high quality microorganisms, their derivatives and associated data for research, development and application. It will connect resource holders with researchers and policy makers to deliver the resources and services more effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of innovation in biotechnology. The RI builds upon 60 microbial domain resource centres (BRCs) in 26 European countries; collectively they provide access to more than 350,000 strains of microorganisms. Microorganisms provide essential raw material for biotechnology - but to date less than 1% of the estimated number of species are described and available to be harnessed by man. As new species are discovered, expertise is difficult to locate to ensure correct identification. Public sequence databases provide modern tools for identification but the information is often of poor quality and often not backed up by the biological material to enable validation of data. The current fragmented resource distributed across Europe needs to be coordinated and operated to common standards with facilitating policy to help focus activities to the big challenges in healthcare, food security, poverty alleviation and climate change. Lacking infrastructure, policy framework and governance structures will be defined in the preparatory phase, as will be the links to researchers and policy makers. Specialist clusters will address priority issues and output steering. BRCs should be placed on national road maps, ensuring the pan-European strategy can be implemented. Cross discipline interactions with other RIs will lead to new approaches. Linking the microbial strain information to other relevant data will allow their full exploitation. Appropriate data mining solutions will enable focussing acquisition and delivery strategies, thus bridging current gaps and improving user access.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-4-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 14.84M | Year: 2015
The social and economic challenges of ageing populations and chronic disease can only be met by translation of biomedical discoveries to new, innovative and cost effective treatments. The ESFRI Biological and Medical Research Infrastructures (BMS RI) underpin every step in this process; effectively joining scientific capabilities and shared services will transform the understanding of biological mechanisms and accelerate its translation into medical care. Biological and medical research that addresses the grand challenges of health and ageing span a broad range of scientific disciplines and user communities. The BMS RIs play a central, facilitating role in this groundbreaking research: inter-disciplinary biomedical and translational research requires resources from multiple research infrastructures such as biobank samples, and resources from multiple research infrastructures such as biobank samples, imaging facilities, molecular screening centres or animal models. Through a user-led approach CORBEL will develop the tools, services and data management required by cutting-edge European research projects: collectively the BMS RIs will establish a sustained foundation of collaborative scientific services for biomedical research in Europe and embed the combined infrastructure capabilities into the scientific workflow of advanced users. Furthermore CORBEL will enable the BMS RIs to support users throughout the execution of a scientific project: from planning and grant applications through to the long-term sustainable management and exploitation of research data. By harmonising user access, unifying data management, creating common ethical and legal services, and offering joint innovation support CORBEL will establish and support a new model for biological and medical research in Europe. The BMS RI joint platform will visibly reduce redundancy and simplify project management and transform the ability of users to deliver advanced, cross-disciplinary research.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: SFS-12-2016 | Award Amount: 3.59M | Year: 2016
Animal diseases can cause serious social, economic and environmental damage, impact on animal welfare and in some cases directly threaten human health. The objective of SIRCAH (Secretariat for the International Research Consortium on Animal Health) is to provide organisational, communication and technical support to the STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium (IRC) on Animal Health and thereby accelerate the development of much needed disease control tools. The agreed aim of STAR-IDAZ IRC is to coordinate research at international level to contribute to new and approved animal health strategies for at least 30 priority diseases/infections/issues. The deliverables will include candidate vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutic, procedures and key scientific information/tools to support risk analysis and disease control. To achieve these goals SIRCAH will support the IRC in establishing and running: i) Working Groups consisting of researchers for each of the priority topics and ii) a Scientific Committee, consisting of independent experts, who will advise the IRC Executive Committee. SIRCAH will provide the Working Groups with literature reviews and support them with gap analyses and the development of research roadmaps, map current activities against research needs and make recommendations relating to programme alignment, support the Scientific Committee and Executive Committee logistically, monitor progress against delivery targets and facilitate information exchange within and between all three levels
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 84.18K | Year: 2016
The problem: The black vine weevil (BVW) is causing havoc for UK soft fruit growers, with estimated losses for strawberry and blueberry alone of £10 million per annum. Its larvae overwinter in the soil and cause tremendous damage to plant roots, ultimately killing the plant. The damage is so bad in strawberries that new plants are now planted yearly. With the decline in available chemical pesticides, the range of suitable products for BVW control is becoming a cause for concern. The large pine weevil (PW) is the most serious pest of conifer restoration in the UK and Ireland and is a priority pest of the Forestry Commission. In the absence of control measures some 50% of young trees could be lost across the UK. Figures in 2005 put the potential loss to the British forestry industry at £12 million per year (Torr et al. 2005 Forestry applications, in: Nematodes as biological control agents, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, pp. 281-293). Adult PW overwinter in leaf litter and the upper soil layers and this is the life-stage that a winter-time biopesticide would target. How are we addressing the problem? CABI, a not-for-profit research organisation that promotes sustainable agriculture worldwide, and BAS, a polar research institute that applies its expertise globally wherever it can add value, have found a potential answer to protecting British soft fruits and forests by developing a new biopesticide, based on a fungus sourced from the Antarctic. Previous projects have demonstrated, in the laboratory, that the fungus thrives at British winter temperatures (0-10 C) and has insect-killing activity. CABI and BAS are developing a new product to kill BVW and PW while they overwinter in the soil. Current commercial biopesticides for weevils (the majority of which are nematodes) work poorly at temperatures below 10 C, hence over the winter months when these pests are relatively immobile, and therefore at a perfect time to be hit, there are few suitable means of doing s This project plans to apply the Antarctic fungus to soils in late autumn when soil temperatures start to decline. The fungus will then start to grow as other natural microorganisms will be dormant. It is envisaged that as the fungus grows through the soil it will encounter BVW/PW and kill them. In spring, when native microorganisms exit dormancy, we expect the Antarctic fungus to be outcompeted. In this project soils from around the UK will be collected by AlphaBioControl Ltd, a commercial company promoting the use of sustainable crop protection products. CABI will then examine if the Antarctic fungus can kill BVW and PW in the soils collected. CABI will also determine if the fungus harms earthworms. BAS, who collected the fungus from Antarctica, will carry out ecological studies to determine how the fungus will grow and interact with other microorganisms in UK soils under different temperatures. The outputs of this project will be necessary for obtaining regulatory approval and to provide sufficient evidence to enable the project team, together with a commercial partner such as AlphaBioControl Ltd, to apply for Innovate UK or other industry-led funding for further commercialisation. Benefit to end-users: Biopesticide producers will benefit from the opportunity to bring a new product to market which fills a gap in temperate agri-, horti- and silviculture. Producers of soft fruit will benefit by reduced damage to plants. In particular, strawberry growers may not need to re-plant annually, saving labour and material costs, and here will be benefits from a reduced need for emergency chemical intervention. Forestry will benefit as they will have another option to control PW; indeed possibly the only option by 2020, as the chemical pesticides presently in use are being phased out. Furthermore, forestry will not need to restock as many young trees on a yearly basis, if our product is successful.
Agency: GTR | Branch: STFC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.02M | Year: 2016
The project aims to bring together and produce cutting edge research to provide pest and disease monitoring and forecast information, integrating multi-source (Earth Observation (EO), meteorological and vertical looking radar) to support decision making in the sustainable management of insect pests and diseases. The project will explore the integration and fusion of new data sources from recently launched satellites with existing data products. This will overcome spatial and temporal differences to produce new data solutions and algorithms which are suitable for pest and disease monitoring and prediction, intervention efficacy forecasting and estimation of yield losses. The new data products and algorithms will be tested using two candidate systems: a fungal disease of wheat (stripe rust) and a serious insect pest (migratory locust). The corresponding efficacy of a biopesticide used to control the locust will also be explored, with the aim to investigate whether the same data inputs produced during this project can be utilised under a wide range of systems, leading to a greater impact of data assimilation in the future. Models will be validated in the laboratory and in the field to give a measure of certainty of predictions. Additionally, risk and loss estimation will be investigated using cutting edge EO techniques, and monitoring of locusts will be explored using Vertical Looking Radar, a technology which is capable of identifying the size and species of insect flying through a radar beam. In addition to building monitoring and forecasting systems with data assimilated during this project, routes to extend this information to appropriate end users will be explored to ensure maximum impact of technologies developed during the project. The project consortium will work closely with NATESC in China to ensure the system is built in a way that is compatible with existing methods of information dissemination. The project consortium is a strong multidisciplinary team with expertise in EO, vertical-looking radar technology and agricultural research and extension.