Using wild ancestor plants to make rice more resilient to increasingly unpredictable water availability

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Biology

Abstract

Enabling food production to keep pace with population growth in the face of global climate change is a significant challenge. Both high and low extremes in rainfall increasingly limit food production, particularly for the poorest farmers. Furthermore, droughts and floods are predicted to occur more frequently under climate change, whilst the availability of water for agriculture will decline. The "green revolution" resulted in a doubling of rice yields across much of Asia, but demand for rice now exceeds production and UN FAO predictions suggest rice yields will need to increase by 50% by 2050 to meet population growth. A quarter of global rice production, rising to 45% in India, is in rain-fed environments thus at serious risk from climate change.

New developments in modern plant breeding are allowing scientists to address this problem. The use of DNA based molecular markers that predict how adult plants perform under challenging environments such as drought allow breeding to be speeded up and different phenotypes or traits to be combined and transferred from one variety to another. These molecular tools make the selection process much more efficient so that what previously would have taken six generations can now be done in two. However, the loss of genetic diversity during the hundreds of years of domestication of crops such as rice means that the germplasm associated with modern cultivars offers limited scope for the improvements that are needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

The exciting thing about this project is that we will use new technology platforms developed in one of our laboratories at Cornell University, USA, to access valuable genetic variation from ancestral wild species of rice, introduce this to modern day elite cultivars that are widely grown in India and identify new varieties that have increased yields under drought conditions due to the presence of small segments of DNA from the wild species. Field trialling of hundreds of different lines carrying different segments of DNA from the wild species will be conducted by the Central Rice Research Institute in India and in parallel researchers at the Universities of York and Cornell will carry out a range of different experiments to understand what causes increased drought resistance in specific lines. With this new understanding it will be possible to develop new DNA based molecular markers that allow the genetic variation from the wild species to be efficiently transferred to a wide range of commercial rice cultivars. So the outputs during the four year project will not only be improved rice varieties but also new breeding tools for rapid deployment of drought conferring genetic variation to multiple rice cultivars.

However, the adoption of new rice varieties by local communities is dependent on multiple factors in addition to yield performance with grain quality being one of the most important. Cultural and sociological issues such as the role of gender also play a significant part in determining the success of a new cultivar and in order to address this we will perform a socioeconomic study to assess the likely uptake patterns of any new varieties and their impact on farmers' incomes. The impact of new rice cultivars on yield, per unit cost of production, and total production per specific input (land, labour, fertilizers, seeds) will be evaluated and on-farm testing and participatory evaluation will be an integral component of cultivar field trials.

This project will also model the impact of new varieties to quantify how yields are enhanced in drought-prone landscapes currently and in the future as climate changes. This information along with the outputs from our socio-economic studies will inform policy makers in developing countries about the socio-economic benefits of new varieties and thus improve adoption of the most effective strategies to address food insecurity and poverty.

Technical Summary

The loss of genetic diversity during domestication means that the germplasm associated with modern rice cultivars offers limited scope for improvements that are needed to meet the challenges of a growing population and changing environment. To address this issue the McCouch lab have pioneered the use of wild genetic resources of rice to enhance performance of elite cultivars. In this project we will perform comprehensive field trials for drought resistance in rain-fed areas of India using two sets of 96 Chromosome Segment Substitution Lines (CSSLs) both in the elite, O. sativa, indica cv. IR64 background, but containing introgressions from two, genetically diverse accessions of the wild ancestor, O. rufipogon. In parallel we will perform elemental, metabolomic, transcriptomic, physiological and water use efficiency analysis of the same material in York and Cornell. Combining the outputs of the field and laboratory analysis will lead to the selection of elite lines for immediate use and drought conferring CSSLs that can be rapidly introgressed into multiple commercial cultivars. Multiple sociological and agronomic factors dictate uptake of new rice cultivars by local communities and to address this issue the work on development of new cultivars will be fully integrated with a socio-economic study to assess from a farmer perspective what influences their likely uptake pattern, their impact on yield and related cost of production. To further facilitate impact promising material selected from field trials and experimental analysis will undergo on-farm testing and participatory evaluation by year 4 of the project. Modelling the impact of new varieties to quantify how yields are enhanced in drought-prone landscapes currently and in the future as climate changes will feed into the socio-economic study and the outputs will be used to inform policy-makers about the benefits to be gained through investment in developing new, locally adapted drought tolerant rice cultivars.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research and how?

We anticipate a number of beneficiaries.

First and foremost people in poverty in rain-fed areas of India who are dependent on rice for survival are expected to benefit directly through the use of improved drought tolerant cultivars of rice that will be produced either during the lifetime of the project or as a direct result of deployment of genetic resources and tools such as drought tolerance conferring CSSLs that are outputs of the project. The integration of socio-economic and modelling components designed to align both current and future rice farmer needs with plant breeding targets and outputs is a particular feature of this research programme that should maximise translation of the research outputs and impact. The availability of new varieties that deliver reliable high yields under drought and flooding conditions will help alleviate hunger and provide sufficient security for farmers to diversify their activities and seek other forms of income to lift themselves out of poverty. The timeframe for expected benefits in this respect are in the years immediately following the end of the 4 year project since the relevant outputs will take at least 4 years to develop.

The investment of approximately 10% of the total budget of this project in capacity building in India, particularly in the education and training of personnel in topics relevant to the work programme will provide long term benefit to the public infrastructure underpinning agricultural development and extension. A concerted effort to train staff to adopt a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses modern molecular breeding of new rice cultivars with socioeconomic studies that address the barriers that often delay or prevent their uptake should result in a culture change in approach that has a long term impact. Workshops in India and the UK in Years 2 and 3 of the project will focus particularly on this aspect.

In terms of capacity building the project will also introduce the use of high throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays developed specifically for rice to CRRI staff and will enable them to do marker assisted selection as part of this research initiative. This will represent a step-change in through-put of marker assisted selection which can then be applied to other traits and crops in India. This exemplar should therefore lead to further investment in this cutting edge technology in India.

Public Sector Policy Makers will also benefit from this work because it will provide them with information on the impact of developing new rice cultivars that is based on robust socio-economic and modelling studies that take into account current end-user preferences and needs and future climate change predictions. This should represent a powerful information pack that can help inform government policy not only in India and the UK but in other countries as well. Although the current programme of work is focussed on India, the outputs could have wider impact since elite cultivars such as IR64 are used widely throughout Asia. Furthermore, the approach we are adopting could serve as a template and exemplar for other R&D programmes that combine cutting edge science with strategic targets in a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both product development and factors affecting delivery from the outset.

Academia will also benefit from this work. The PIs involved have impressive track records in terms of peer review publications and cutting edge interdisciplinary research. The combination of robust datasets from comprehensive experimental and field trial analysis of CSSL populations will produce multiple publication quality datasets. The molecular basis of drought tolerance in higher plants is a hot topic of research and we anticipate this work will contribute to that field in particular through top quality peer reviewed publications and presentations at international meetings.
 
Description Objective 0: Establish optimal experimental and field conditions (Yr 1-2) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. Experimental (glasshouse, York) and field (rainout shelter, irrigated field station and rain-fed upland, India) conditions have been established for a combination of drought resistant and drought susceptible lines from CRRI, IRRI and Africa Rice.

Objective 1: Amplify seeds and genotype two populations of CSSLs at Cornell, ship aliquots of seeds to CRRI and York; amplify CSSLs under favourable conditions and take baseline observations at both CRRI and York (Yr 1) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE.
Seed amplification of originally proposed set of CSSLs in IR64 background was delayed. Project partners informed funder and agreed to progress with an altered set of CSSLs comprising 48 Curinga X O. rufipogon lines and 32 Curinga X O. meridionalis lines.

Objective 2: Screen the two libraries of CSSLs under both favourable and drought conditions and identify lines with minimal relative yield reduction (RYR) under drought in field trials at CRRI (Yrs 2-3) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE.

Objective 3: Select 10-20 most promising CSSLs and evaluate them for yield, drought tolerance, grain quality and stability in advanced field trials at CRRI and for other traits at York (Yr 4) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE.

Objectives 4, 5, 6 and 7 - a no cost extension to 30 June 2017 was awarded to allow completion of these objectives and maximise the impact of the programme. Details below.

Objective 4: Introgress drought tolerance and yield traits from selected CSSLs into elite Indian rice genotypes at NRRI (Yr 3-4) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. Objective 4.1, Molecular Approach: The Illumina Infinium 6K SNP was successfully deployed in India to advance this objective, and the new Cornell 7K SNP chip was also subsequently successfully deployed to identify lines carrying target MER and RUF donor introgressions associated with reproductive stage drought performance, and the maximum degree of recurrent parent genomes. Samples were all tracked using the sample tracking and barcoding tool developed by the Graham laboratory in CNAP at the University of York. The allele calling rate of the 7K SNP chip was high with an average of 95% per individual sample, compared to 85 - 90% for the previous 6K SNP chip. Subsequent analysis was performed by a PhD student at NRRI with guidance from our teams at York and Cornell, and using the PERL script pipeline. This analysis revealed multiple lines with good recovery of the wild-rice chromosome segments. NRRI staff and students are now fully trained in barcoding, sample tracking, DNA sampling and molecular marker analysis, and are continuing with marker assisted selection of breeding material beyond the duration of this project. Objective 4.2, Conventional Approach for Backcross Introgression of Wild Alleles: Backcrossing was carried out involving the conventional breeding approach for introgression of wild alleles from the most promising CSSLs into recipient elite NRRI lines. The CSSLs that showed superior drought tolerance were used as male parents in biparental matings by NRRI. Segregating generations are being carried forward as single plant selections under an empirical breeding programme beyond the duration of this project. The project team have fulfilled the necessary tasks to achieve this objective, and have effectively handed it over to NRRI with appropriate trained staff in place to advance the material to commercial impact.

Objective 5: Undertake laboratory-based analysis on CSSLs to characterize the molecular, biochemical and physiological traits that underpin improved performance under drought at York (elemental, metabolomics and transcriptomic analysis) and Cornell (root architecture) (Yr 1-4) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. 44 CUR/RUF CSSL lines, 4 NERICA lines, O. rufipogon and the O. glaberima wild donor were grown hydroponically at York, alongside recurrent parent controls, Curinga and IR64, to screen for polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced osmotic stress at the seedling stage. Detailed physiological, biochemical and gene expression analyses have been performed on aerial and root tissue. Most significant changes were found in osmolytes. The experimental work of this objective is complete, and a manuscript is in preparation.

Objective 6: Identify and address the socio-economic barriers to adoption of new drought resistant rice varieties at York and CRRI (Yr 1-4). Extensive farmer surveys and focussed discussion groups (FDGs) in rain-fed rice areas took place, and these provided the basis for an ambitious programme of data collection to identify the range of socio-economic barriers in detail, however data processing was significantly delayed due to both staffing issues and unforeseen circumstances. A manuscript on the work is in preparation. With regard to addressing the socio-economic barriers, prior to commencement of this project farmers in rain-fed areas were not acquainted with the use of high yielding drought tolerant varieties. A large number of Indian farmers (110) were trained by NRRI through demonstration in their fields on the adoption of drought tolerant varieties including for example Sahabhagi dhan, Satyabhama and CR Dhan 101 during severe moisture stress. This training has equipped these Indian farmers with the knowledge and experience to adopt the further new varieties that are emerging as a main output from our research programme.

Objective 7: Model the impact of new varieties in drought-prone areas in the longer term at York and CRRI (Yr 1-4) - OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. A main conclusion from this work is that almost 15% -40% of the existing rainfed rice area in India may become climatically unsuitable for rice cultivation by 2050. Rice growth modelling and the impact of improved varieties was integrated with the breeding and socio-economic components of the programme. Our latest work (led by the holder of the project studentship linked to Objective 7) focused on understanding the impact of drought and heat-stress on the local versus the national cultivar. While local cultivars are grown at a local scale and popular with local farmers, national cultivars are grown widely and are often used as parents in breeding programmes. Our results show that local cultivars are higher yielding (14% more yield) and drought tolerant than national cultivars. However, local cultivars are also more sensitive to damage from heat-stress, indicating that improved drought tolerance could lead to reduced tolerance to heat-stress, and suggesting a potential physiological trade-off. Given the increased heat-stress projections under future climate change, heat-stress could be a serious issue for rice yield and, therefore, locally grown cultivars could lose their yield advantage over national cultivars. This work will inform the breeders to explore traits that confer heat-stress tolerance in local rice cultivars in addition to traits that confer drought-tolerance.
Exploitation Route Our international team aimed to produce improved varieties of rice that maintain their yield in environmentally challenging conditions such as drought or floods, and eventually to have these new varieties accepted and adopted by local communities in rain-fed areas of India. Introgression of drought tolerance and yield traits from selected CSSLs into elite Indian rice genotypes at NRRI was achieved within the project, as planned, and improved material developed as detailed above. Steps have also been made towards acceptance and adoption of new varieties, as reported above. NRRI staff and students are now fully trained in barcoding, sample tracking, DNA sampling and molecular marker analysis, and are continuing with marker assisted selection of improved breeding material. Further development has been handed over to NRRI with appropriate trained staff in place, to advance this material to commercial impact. The project team also aimed to produce new breeding tools to enable rapid further development of new rice varieties by Indian researchers - this has been achieved, as detailed under the Use of Facilities and Resources section of Researchfish for this project.
Our vision is that the benefits of the research in this project reach those people who need them, not only leading to improved food security for poorer subsistence farmers in India, but also helping to lift them out of poverty.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

URL http://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2017.05.009
 
Description By the end of the project the international SCPRID Resilient Rice research team hoped to produce improved varieties of rice that maintain their yield in environmentally challenging conditions such as drought or floods, and to have these new varieties accepted and adopted by local communities in rain-fed areas of India. They also hoped to produce new breeding tools and associated training of India based staff and students to enable rapid further development of new rice varieties by Indian researchers. The vision is that the benefits of the research reach those people who need them and will not only lead to improved food security for poorer subsistence farmers in India, but also help lift them out of poverty. Specifically, the team have achieved the following impacts: (i) Training and capacity building in quality assurance and genotyping for Indian researchers - improving the availability of the latest technologies for sample tracking and molecular breeding in India and training researchers in their use is now having substantial impacts on the effective implementation of molecular breeding of rice varieties with high yield, submergence tolerance and drought tolerance for India. (ii) Developing farmer engagement - farmers from distinct rain-fed rice producing regions were engaged and contributed to the approaches taken in our project, and particularly the selection of breeding material that acted as donors for improvement. Farmers also increased awareness and were trained in the adoption of drought tolerant varieties and the benefits of using these compared to varieities adopted for paddy field production. (iii) Testing models of the impact of climate change on future rice production - maps of "at-risk" areas in India under climate change scenarios have been produced and the impacts of increasing drought conditions on yield in these areas has been modelled. These achievements are now well placed to inform and advise both public and private organisations on the impact of climate change on rice production and what can be done to mitigate agaist such risk. (iv) As of March 2018 the lead investigator on this award, Dr Sushanta Dash, at the National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, India, has confirmed that 'we have successfully introgressed and fixed wild segments into popular rice variety' thus confirming the longer term impact of this project on the ongoing breeding programme for improved drought tolerance in India.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Title FLIMS (Field and Laboratory Information Management System) developed by Graham lab at CNAP, York 
Description Accurate data tracking is essential for molecular breeding programmes which rely on the genetic data collected from the individual plants. Proper use of our bespoke Field and Laboratory Information Management System (FLIMS) minimizes sources of errors and enables fast data retrieval. FLIMS was previously developed in Graham lab, CNAP, under separate funding, and relies on barcode labels used for seeds, seedlings, plants, sample plates and etc. Hand-held scanners (known as PDAs) are used for data collection. A number of applications and Excel data templates have been developed for: seed harvest, seed sowing and transplanting, setting up crosses and plant material sampling. MySQL technolopgy is used for data management. This system is successfully used for two major fast-track breeding programmes in the Graham lab in CNAP (Artemisia and Poppy projects) and allows us to: keep track of the maintenance of stock plants for parental lines, track all crosses and seed harvesting for hybrid seed preparation, integrate genetic, metabolite and field data together, assimilate data for effective reporting for each trial, and FLIMS also facilitates identification of potential error sources after QC analyses. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We have made our FLIMS system available for National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) researchers in India. CNAP has provided hundreds of barcode labels for use to track field-grown plants, seed stocks and leaf samples taken for DNA extractions, as well as two PDA scanners and one hand-held barcode reader. The NRRI team has been intensively trained to use the system components. The CNAP FLIMS system was used for the Marker Assisted Backcrossing programme being conducted by NRRI students and staff (Objective 4 of this project). 
 
Title First use in India of custom designed Illumina 7K SNP rice array (developed by McCouch lab at Cornell) 
Description Following on from the success of the custom-designed Illumina 6K SNP rice array (as reported separately) an improved 7K SNP array was developed by the McCouch lab for applications in rice breeding and genetics, again under separate funding. The array was designed as a liquid Beadpool using Illumina's Infinium platform. The SNPs on both arrays are uniformly distributed throughout the rice genome, and were selected to detect polymorphism within and between the indica, aus, tropical japonica and temperate japonica subpopulations of O. sativa, and between O. sativa and O. rufipogon. Over 40,000 DNA samples have been successfully processed at Cornell and IRRI over the last 4 years. Using the new 7K SNP array, the average number of SNPs segregating in our indica x O. meridionalis and indica x O. rufipogon populations is ~2,700, or approximately 1 SNP /cM (where 1 cM=200-240 kb). The allele calling rate, using Illumina Genome Studio™ analysis) was 95% per individual sample for the 7k SNP array compared to 85 - 90% for the previous 6K SNP array. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Genotyping with Infinium SNP arrays requires outsourcing to a large genotyping service provider that maintains an Illumina BAR or an i-SCAN reader required for sample processing. We have been very pleased with the relationship that was established with Sandor Life Sciences Pvt Ltd in Hyderabad for processing of samples, based on the reliability, high quality of results, and rapid turn-around time that is so important for breeding applications. The relationship with Sandor has enabled scientists at NRRI to be able to use the 7K array for routine marker-assisted selection on this project. This is the first example of the use of the rice 7K arrays anywhere in India. To train people to process raw Infinium array data, call SNPs and interpret the genotyping results, researchers from Cornell, the University of York and NRRI have worked closely together. The video-tutorial that was prepared by Cornell postdoc Namrata Singh in 2016 (as reported separately) proved to be an extremely valuable tool to NRRI, in addition to training and advice given by Dr Tomasz Czechowski (York). 
 
Title Introduction of custom designed Illumina 6K SNP rice array (developed by McCouch lab at Cornell) to India 
Description A custom-designed Illumina 6K SNP rice array was developed by the McCouch lab for applications in rice breeding and genetics under separate funding. The SNPs on the 6K array are uniformly distributed throughout the rice genome, and were selected to detect polymorphism within and between the indica, aus, tropical japonica and temperate japonica subpopulations of O. sativa, and between O. sativa and O. rufipogon. Over 20,000 DNA samples have been successfully processed at Cornell and IRRI over the last 3 years, with the average number of SNPs segregating in a bi-parental indica x japonica population ~2,500, or approximately 1 SNP /cM (where 1 cM=200-240 kb). For breeding populations where the parents belong to the same subpopulation ( ie indica) the expected number of segregating SNPs is expected to be ~1,500-2,000, depending on the genetic relatedness of the parents. This is approximately 10X the number of markers that can be assayed using SSR technology, which has been used at ICCR for the last decade or more. Based on the rapid turn-around time and outstanding performance of SNP genotyping technology for breeding applications, we sought to empower scientists at NRRI to be able to use the 6K array for marker-assisted selection on this project, and this was the first example of the use of the rice 6K array anywhere in India. The array was designed as a liquid Beadpool using Illumina's Infinium platform. Samples must be processed using an Illumina BAR or an i-SCAN reader, which requires outsourcing to a large genotyping service provider. To find an appropriate service provider convenient to NRRI, we first established a relationship with an Illumina technical representative in India who recommended that we contact two genotyping centres: Premas Biotech in New Delhi, and Sandor Life Sciences in Hyderabad. After communicating with both, we decided to work with Sandor Life Sciences to process the samples from NRRI. Accordingly, Illumina shared our 6K Beadpool with Sandor, and rice tissue samples were shipped from NRRI, University of York and from Cornell to Sandor for processing. Controls from all three collaborating institutions were included in the first experiment to enable us to monitor quality and interpret results. Data from the first round of experiments were sent digitally to scientists at Cornell, the University of York and NRRI for data analysis and SNP calling. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact To train people to process raw Infinium array data, call SNPs and interpret the genotyping results, researchers from Cornell, the University of York and NRRI have worked closely together. The video-tutorial that was prepared by Cornell postdoc Namrata Singh in 2016, as reported separately, proved to be an extremely valuable tool to NRRI, in addition to training and advice given by Dr Tomasz Czechowski (York). Also, following on from the success of the custom-designed Illumina 6K SNP rice array, as reported above, an improved 7K SNP array was then developed by the McCouch lab for applications in rice breeding and genetics, again under separate funding, and this was also subsequently used by our project (see separate report). 
 
Title Video tutorial on genotyping analysis using SNP-calling pipeline, presented by Dr Namrata Singh (PDRA in Professor McCouch's lab), Cornell University, USA 
Description Dr Namrata Singh of Cornell University prepared a step-by-step video tutorial on genotyping analysis using a SNP-calling pipeline, now available on YouTube. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The object of the video tutorial was to train people working on the project to process raw Infinium array data, call SNPs and interpret the genotyping results. The tutorial explains each step in the data analysis, including the use of custom scripts developed in the McCouch lab required to format the data files correctly, the use of Illumina's Genome Studio software for SNP calling, and the export of files for further analysis and interpretation. Additionally, the genotyping data has been reorganised by York staff on the project to enable easier analysis using Genome Studio software developed by Illumina and PERL scripts developed by Cornell that extract alleles from output files to facilitate downstream genetic analysis. The tutorial was provided by the McCouch lab at Cornell to Resilient Rice project students and staff at York and at the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), and can also be freely accessed on YouTube. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzqjdt7VjYE
 
Description AfricaRice 
Organisation Africa Rice Centre
Country Nigeria 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Drought tolerant material provided by Dr Prasad of Africa Rice Centre is currently being grown at the Central Rice Research Institute and at York.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Prasad provided genetically characterised drought tolerant material to the project, and will continue to advise on genetic aspects of the work programme.
Impact Genetically characterised drought tolerant material provided.
Start Year 2012
 
Description International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) 
Organisation CGIAR
Department International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Seeds provided by Dr Lorieux of CIAT were amplified at Cornell by PhD student, Juan David Arbelaez, and aliquots were forwarded to the University of York and to the Central Rice Research Institute (under the standard MTA). The McCouch lab is continuing genomics characterisation and tools development for these lines.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Lorieux sent seed to Cornell from two populations of CSSLs (Curinga x O. rufipogon and Curinga x O. meridionalis) developed jointly by CIAT and Cornell.
Impact The McCouch lab is continuing genomics characterisation and tools development for these lines.
Start Year 2012
 
Description A one-day collaborative workshop on crop modelling was organised by members of our SCPRID project based at the University of York (and others) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A one-day collaborative workshop on crop modelling was organised by members of our SCPRID project based at the University of York (and others) and participants from the University of Leeds on 13th January, 2017. The workshop was held at the University of Leeds, and the participants included research staff, post-doctoral staff and PhD students. The overall aim of the workshop was to discuss the latest development in crop modelling and knowledge exchange of ongoing research at York and Leeds. The sessions were on ozone modelling, processes and data requirements, and on rice modelling in India, including input climate data for simulations, modelling resolution and cultivar choices. Three members of our SCPRID rice project team attended the workshop, and two of them each gave a presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A poster was presented by Kuntal Singh at International Crop Modelling Symposium, iCROPM2016, Berlin, March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster titled titled titled 'Mapping rainfed rice cultivation under future climate change scenarios' was presented by Kuntal Singh. He is an Indian student based at York who holds a SCPRID rice project linked PhD studentship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://communications.ext.zalf.de/sites/crop-modelling/SiteCollectionDocuments/Book_of_Abstracts.pdf
 
Description Ballot box exercises (rice) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Five ballot box exercises were carried out across 4 villages in Koderma, India, to assess the opinions of a group of farmers regarding a set of rice varieties grown in their field. This was undertaken by allowing a group of farmers to "vote" for their preferred varieties by depositing paper ballots.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Case study for calendar prepared with UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A case study aimed at lay audience was prepared by Alex Gwyther of UKCDS in July 2014 (UKCDS is a group of 14 UK government departments and research funders working in international development). Prof Graham and Prof Hartley were approached and interviewed by Alex Gwyther of UKCDS in advance of her preparing a case study aimed to cover the recent advances and unique aspects of this programme.
IMPACT:
A shortened version of this text was used for the September 2015 page of a UKCDS calendar "to celebrate the various collaborative research initiatives for international development and highlighting the work of UKCDS members organisations" (relevant organisations in our case being BBSRC and DFID).

The case study was combined with one other and a brief overview of SCPRID work for a UKCDS calendar for 2015. The purpose of the calendar is to celebrate the various collaborative research initiatives for international development and highlight the work of UKCDS member organisations (in this case the member organisations are BBSRC and DFID).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description Feature in New Horizons booklet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Our rice project is featured in the 'New Horizons' booklet on UK-India collaborative research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/489765/New_Horizons_-_Elec...
 
Description Feature in RCUK India 'Inspiring Change' booklet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Our rice project is featured in the 'New Horizons' booklet on UK-India collaborative research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/430624/Inspiring_Change_Bo...
 
Description Focus group discussions with rice farmers in India 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2013 a focus group meeting was held in Balrampur village in Dhenkal district in Orissa, India, attended by about 35 farmers including 4 women farmers.
In 2014 a women's focus group meeting was held in Mahendrapur village in Dhenkan district of Orissa, India, attended by members of our research team and 10 women.
In June 2015 eight Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted in Dhenkanal (4 villages) and Koderma (4 villages) districts in Odisha and Jharkhand respectively. A further 11 FGDs were conducted in July 2015 across 4 villages in Koderma. This participatory rural appraisal tool was used to collect qualitative information on the perceptions of changing weather patterns and factors affecting farmers' decisions to adopt new varieties, as well as to analyse farmer's perceptions of constraints to rice cultivation, thus assessing their ability to improve food security and reduce poverty.
These focus group meetings facilitated discussions and enabled members of our research team from the University of York and the Central Rice Research Institute to obtain key information from the farmers on potential outcomes of technological development.

At the start of the project a general meeting with farmers and focus group meetings took place at the project site in India. During the discussions it became evident that male dominated societal rules and norms, and a complex household environment of joint decisions, multiple objectives and mutual dependence can make it difficult to target or predict the gender-related outcomes of technological development. The project therefore reviewed the approach to deal with gender issues. Cultural and soci
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015
 
Description Front Line Demonstrations (rice) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Front Line Demonstrations were delivered by the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), in two villages (Balarampur and Maidharpur, India) with the objective of developing the capacity of the farmers to use a recommended package of practices for rice cultivation under rainfed situation. A training programme on "Enhancing rice production in drought prone area/situation" was organized at Balarampur in Odapada block of Dhenkanal district.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Future of Food event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact York Festival of Ideas, 'The Future of Food: how to feed 10 billion people' event open to members of the public, led by the University of York:
a) Professor Sue Hartley was an invited panel speaker in a session titled 'The Future of Food'.
b) Professor Ian Graham was an invited panel speaker in a session titled 'New Technologies for Crop Production and Resilience'.
This event brought together leading scientists, agriculturalists and global food security experts to discuss food sustainability and security, crop production, food culture and the future of GM foods. The event was sponsored by Quorn Foods, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and in partnership with BBC Radio 4. All talks were free to attend. Both Ian and Sue spoke about the SCPRID rice project at this event.


The panel talks by Ian Graham and Sue Hartley helped to stimulate a broad ranging discussion on the future of food and crop resilience etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2014
URL http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2014/
 
Description Increasing global crop production in bioscience booklet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We provided a written overview of our project and an image for a two page article titled Unlocking ancient rice secrets to overcome rainfall extremes. This was included in a booklet produced for the SCPRID initiative by the BBSRC.

The booklet is available for download from the BBSRC website, and from our own project website, and provides a useful introduction to the SCPRID initiative.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.resilientrice.org/
 
Description Interview by BBC Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview given on our SCPRID rice project work by Professor Ian Graham to BBC Breakfast on 15 June 2015, as part of World Meat Free Day at the York Festival of Ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2015/focus-days/food/
 
Description Interview for RCUK India 'Inspiring Change' video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact An interview with Professor Ian Graham on our SCPRID rice project work is featured in RCUK India's 'Inspiring Change' video, published May 2015. RCUK India stated that the target audience for the film is "UK and Indian funders, policy makers, the research communities on each side, and finally the UK parliament later in the year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDm0wYOpHBU
 
Description Invited talk given by Ian Graham at the 2016 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professor Ian Graham gave a talk about our SCPRID rice project in the Crop Research Track at the '2016 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting' held in London and organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://gcgh.grandchallenges.org
 
Description Kuntal Singh (project PhD student) was a Falling Walls lab speaker on 27th July 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Falling Walls Lab is a challenging, inspiring and interdisciplinary format for outstanding talents. It offers the opportunity to excellent academics and professionals to present their innovative ideas, research projects and social initiatives. Each participant is asked to present his/her work in 3 minutes. All disciplines are welcome: from agriculture, medicine, economics, engineering to the humanities. A prestigious jury from science and business awards the best participants.

The Falling Walls Lab supports interdisciplinary dialogue and international cooperation, connects aspiring innovators and senior researchers, and develops new and sustainable ways of scientific communication.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.falling-walls.com/lab
 
Description Poster presented by Dr Patrick Bueker at the International Crop Modelling Symposium (iCROPM2016) in Berlin, March 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Patrick Bueker of the University of York Resilient Rice project team presented a poster titled 'Variation in rain-fed rice yields in India under a changing climate' at the International Crop Modelling (iCROPM) Symposium in Berlin. With more than 300 scientists from 47 nations, the iCROPM Symposium in 2016 brought together the major part of the international crop modellers' scene to exchange ideas on improvement and application of crop simulation models to better support agricultural production and food security under global change. His poster is available online as an open access publication here, pages 216-17: https://communications.ext.zalf.de/sites/crop-modelling/SiteCollectionDocuments/Book_of_Abstracts.pdf
A summary overview of the impact of the conference is available at the URL below.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://communications.ext.zalf.de/sites/crop-modelling/SiteCollectionDocuments/Summary%20for%20MACSU...
 
Description RCUK Gateway to Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brief project details added to RCUK Gateway to Research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/81088144-454D-4371-AC34-B080D2E7F554
 
Description Rice project invited talk given at UK PlantSci 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk at UK PlantSci 2015 conference, titled 'Using wild ancestors to make rice more resilient to increasingly unpredictable water availability' given by Dr Tomasz Czechowski (Senior Postdoctoral Researcher, University of York).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/other/bsajxb/JXB/Video2015/czechowski.htm
 
Description SEB annual meeting 2014, Dr Lin Chen poster 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Society of Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, July 2014, Manchester:
Poster presented by Dr Lin Chen (York based PDRA) titled 'Using wild ancestor plants to make rice more resistant to climate change'.


Lin's poster stimulated discussions with colleagues at other institutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Showcase project, case study - online report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We were requested by project co-investigator Professor Sue Hartley to provide a case study on our recently finished rice project for the York Environmental Sustainability Institute website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.yesi/research/sustainable-food/resilient-rice/
 
Description Talk given by Kuntal Singh at Pub Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In April 2017 project PhD student Kuntal Singh gave a talk to members of the public at a Pub Seminar that was organised by the Physics Department of the University of York and sponsored by the Institute of Physics (IoP). His talk was titled 'Feeding the world with good grain', followed by questions and discussion. About 25 people attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk presented by Kuntal Singh (project PhD student), followed by discussion. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A one-day workshop was held with Professor Andy Challinor at School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, where Kuntal Singh presented and discussed is work on the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description YorNight 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Exhibition and activities, which were advertised as follows:
"Over two billion people rely on rice as a major part of their diet. Discover how researchers from the US, UK and India are working together to develop new varieties of rice that are better at surviving both drought and flooding in India."
2 members of our University of York staff working on the rice project manned an exhibition, and gave an overview of the project to interested members of the public, which sparked questions and further discussions. Various activities related to the project were also provided for children who attended the event, including a Resilient Rice computer game, all of which also sparked further questions and related discussions. This successful event was held in the early to mid evening, and was well attended by children from organisations such as Scouts and Brownies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://yornight.com/2015/activities/kings-manor/resilient-rice/