University of Dundee

Scotland’s cereal connections boosted with Fellowship awards

07 Feb 2018

Dundee’s position as an international hub for research into cereals – particularly barley – has been given a boost with the award of a grant which will create new connections with Australia. The award of a £150,000 from the Universities UK International Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner initiative will allow the University of Dundee to bring seven Early Career Researchers from Australia to Dundee for periods ranging from one to twelve months between March 2018 and March 2019.
“This is another important step to firmly establishing Dundee as an international centre for cereal research,” said Professor Claire Halpin, Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Plant Biology and Biotechnology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. “In partnership with the James Hutton Institute we wish to increase the impact of cereal research in Dundee through the establishment of an International Barley Hub (IBH). This Hub will facilitate both closer interactions with industry and a broader internationalisation agenda for cereal and barley research. As part of this initiative, and to make the ‘Hub’ truly international we wish to build on and extend connections and collaborations with all global centres of excellence in barley research, including those in Australia.”
Professor Robbie Waugh, a joint appointment of the University and the James Hutton Institute, said, “The UUKI Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grant will consolidate and extend research links with key barley researchers in Australia by allowing collaborative research projects to be developed and undertaken by excellent early career researchers, who could maintain those links throughout their future careers. This is an excellent way of building long-term partnerships and will add impetus to our efforts to build an international centre of excellence in barley research in Dundee.”
Colin West, chair of the International Barley Hub, welcomed the announcement of the Fellowship grants. “The International Barley Hub is delighted to see grants awarded to bring young scientists from Australia to Dundee to join the local expert research in cereals science,” he said. “This collaboration is definitely win-win: the young scientists get to work with the world-leading teams at the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute, and they bring enthusiasm, initiative and knowledge from their Australian base to contribute to taking barley forward as a global crop. Barley is a vital crop to Scotland, and to Australia, and both growing regions will benefit from this funding from the UK’s Rutherford Fund.”
The Universities UK International (UUKi) Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grants programme provides funding for eligible UK higher education institutions to offer short-term fellowships that will build on and enhance their global strategic partnerships. The fellowships are funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Rutherford Fund, with the aim of attracting global talent and strengthening the UK's research base.
A grant of £150,000 has been awarded to deliver a dynamic programme of research fellowships for early career researchers. By funding individual mobility within the framework of strategic partnerships, the aim is to catalyse longer term and interdisciplinary collaboration. The outcomes of the Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grants scheme are expected to include:
·        Enhanced research links between UK institutions and key strategic partners in a broad range of countries
·        The development of new and improvement of existing research networks and links between future research leaders and the UK research community
·        New opportunities for collaboration and joint working, and greater impact for existing collaborations
·        Enhanced reputation of the UK and UK institutions in a broad range of countries