1.2 million ways to improve the resilience of UK crops

Posted on 15 June 2018

Environment Secretary announces £1.2 million grant to improve the resilience, sustainability and quality of the UK’s major crops.


Innovation is seen as crucial to ensure growth in crop production.

University of York researchers have received £1.2 million, as part of a £5.3 million government scheme to improve the resilience, sustainability and quality of the UK’s major crops.

The announcement was made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove on 15 June, 2018.

The funding will support the flow of ideas and solutions from laboratory to farm and see the development of new agricultural technologies and environmentally friendly production methods for UK farmers and growers.

Professor Ian Bancroft, at the University of York’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products in the Department of Biology, who leads OREGIN, one of four Defra Crop Genetic Improvement Networks, said: “We aim to support industry in long-term, sustainable rapeseed production by utilising UK expertise in plant genetics to better understand specific crop traits.

“Innovation through these networks is essential if we are to see growth in healthy crop production.”

The four Crop Genetic Improvement Networks (GINs) are paving the way with the latest research for crops including oilseed rape, wheat, pulses and leafy vegetables.

Since being created the Oilseed Rape GIN has:

  • Increased the interaction between industry leaders and UK academics in oilseed rape genetic improvement.
  • Stimulated many research projects after advancing the technological approaches used by breeders.

The government has invested £160 million through the Agri-Tech Strategy to harness Britain’s scientific capabilities for developing and utilising new technologies and expertise to enhance food production.

The University of Warwick, Rothamsted Research, and John Innes Centre have also received funding as part of the scheme.