BBSRC grants to strengthen partnerships in India

Posted on 9 August 2018

The Department of Biology is set to strengthen links in India, with two major research projects.


Sugar in storage at Natems Sugars Pvt Ltd. Picture credit: Natems Sugars Pvt Ltd.

Researchers at the University of York have secured funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with a total value of £3.5m for two groundbreaking projects.

Challenges

The funding is part of a co-investment between the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) group and the Department for Biotechnology (DBT) in India to launch collaborative UK-India research programmes, focussing on key challenges to drive international development.

Professor Simon McQueen-Mason’s project, ‘Reducing industrial waste from sugarcane processing in India’, is a consortium comprising the University of York, Natems Sugars PVT Ltd, based in Hyderabad and Jesmond Engineering, based in Brough, Wilson Bio-Chemical based in York, Prozomix based in Northumberland, the Biorenewables Development Centre based in York and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology based in New Delhi.

Multi-partner

This multi-partner project will receive £1.8m to investigate the potential to use waste from sugarcane processing to produce the valuable bio-based chemical citric acid, which has a growing market in the food, beverage and cleaning sectors.

Professor McQueen-Mason said: “As this pioneering project makes advances in biomass reactors and citric acid production it could have a large impact in reducing the pollution from sugarcane processing.”

Professor Ian Bancroft’s project, ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’, is a £1.7m three-year project running in partnership with the University of Delhi.

Collaborative

Professor Bancroft said: “We’re pleased to receive this funding, which will help us extend our collaborative activities in India. We’ll use it to enable us to apply UK expertise, especially genomics, to help improve the resilience of mustard rape.”