British Barley scientists of the future get £9m boost


A University of Dundee-led programme that will train the next generation of barley researchers has received a multi-million pound investment.

Barley has been grown by humans for thousands of years and is one of the earliest plants to be domesticated. Today, it is one of the most important crops in the world used for food and drink production, as well as animal feed.

The £9 million Barley Industrial Training Network (BARIToNE) programme is a Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) led by the University, Scotch Whisky Research Institute, International Barley Hub, and supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and industry partners.

It will see a cohort of 30 postgraduate researchers supported through cash and in-kind contributions from the partner organisations.

Professor Robbie Waugh, from the University’s School of Life Sciences and Director of the International Barley Hub, located at the James Hutton Institute, said:

“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.”

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.

Collaborative Training Partnerships co-invest in training the next generation of skilled people for the research base and wider bioeconomy. The CTP scheme run by the BBSRC will address skills gaps in the UK bioscience industry through doctoral training led by businesses.

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.”

BBSRC executive chair, Professor Melanie Welham added:

“With the awards we have announced today BBSRC underlines it commitment to work 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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