Biotech Updates

Science and Industry Groups Team Up to Deliver Improved Crops

April 27, 2012

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the United Kingdom announced that the Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC) has invested £4 million ($6.5 million) to support nine new research projects. The CIRC, a public-private consortium, funds studies of cereal crops, and the new projects are aimed towards improving the main cereal crops in the UK – oilseed rape, barley, and wheat – to boost food security efforts.

Among the projects funded by the CIRC are: breeding wheat to make bread with lower levels of salts, fats, and emulsifiers; improving yields of oilseed rape by studying how plants foster beneficial microorganisms in their roots; and growing better barley that is easy to process.

Dr. Celia Caulcott, BBSRC's Director of Innovation and Skills, said "We cannot hope to meet the enormous food security challenge without harnessing the strengths of both the academic research community and those of industry."

More details about these projects are available at