Rothamsted Research UKRI Innovation Fellowships: BBSRC Flexible Talent Mobility Accounts

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Directorate

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This award has been used to support the following activities:

(A) Rutherford Fellowships

Four overseas fellows (from Brazil, Italy, Spain and the USA, respectively) were selected as part of a competitive process to undertake placements of up to six months working with scientific supervisors at Rothamsted Research. To ensure that links with the talented overseas scientists supported through this award are maintained and enhanced, additional fellowship applications are being considered; one applicant has already submitted two follow-on applications.

(B) Exchanges with industry

Six small industry placement projects involving exchanges with partners in the UK and internationally and one group project with a strategic team based at the headquarters of a global company were supported through a competitive process. A total of 25 early-career researchers (ECRs) benefitted through these. These activities enabled our ECRs to develop their transferable skills and commercial awareness, enabled them to expand their network of contacts and build their confidence. We are delighted to report the following outcomes as an indication of how valuable the FTMA scheme is in improving the career prospects of scientists and their sector mobility:

- Next destination: A female PostDoc has taken a FT research position (Molecular Biologist) with a global agribusiness (Syngenta Ltd). A female PostDoc has taken a FT research position at the University of Cambridge and is now taking a PT role (Chief Scientific Officer) with a spin-out company set up to commercialise the outputs from that project. A male PhD student has taken a position (Science Writer) with a prestigious PR and Strategic Communications Agency (Holdsworth Associates). A female PostDoc has taken a research position at RRES to continue to develop the outputs from her work. A male PostDoc has taken a FT research position at the University of Oxford. A female PostDoc has taken two PT research positions at RRES to lead on the delivery of an innovation project and a knowledge exchange project.

- Start-ups: Nine PostDocs are working together on four entrepreneurial ideas (in addition to the one already mentioned above). A female PostDoc and a male PostDoc are working on the development of a digital benchmarking platform to provide UK consumers with product-specific environmental information. A female PostDoc, a male PostDoc and a male PhD student are working on the development of an open innovation platform to accelerate the upscaling of urban farms. Two male PhD students are working on the development of a remote sensing solution to quantify the value of biodiversity practices adopted by UK farmers. Two male PostDocs are working on the development of a novel in-field sensor to quantify soil health. Two of these ideas emerged during the BASF Sustainability Challenge and two others were generated after that. We are confident that the training, mentoring and experiences provided through FTMA were instrumental in placing those PostDocs in the right frame of mind to spot opportunities.

- Engagement activities: Since completion of the FTMA projects, the four start-up ideas mentioned above have been selected into highly-competitive Accelerator programs: EIT-Food (https://www.eitfood.eu/), SHAKE (http://www.shakeclimate.org/), Slush 2019 (https://www.slush.org/) and Conception X (https://conceptionx.org/).
Exploitation Route Two collaborations with industry partners who hosted our ECRs were extended following completion of the initial PoC work funded through the FTMA. Through three projects, we were able to raise over £85,500 to continue to develop our innovative ideas with our industry partners.

The Rutherford Fellowship projects generated key datasets and methods which will contribute to the development of scientific publications that will be made available to the wider research community in a timely manner. Results from two of our exchange projects with industry have been disseminated through three events - in Spain and Brazil.

The entrepreneurial teams formed during or after the BASF Sustainability Challenge continue to work on their business ideas through Accelerator programs run by Rothamsted Research and external organisations. Our Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Team continues to support them in securing such opportunities.

Finally, our KEC Team has a network of industry contacts and will continue to provide support to ECRs wanting to establish links with existing companies. We have mechanisms in place to support collaborations with SMEs (e.g. AgRIA). Where funding is required to enable new collaborations, companies will be signposted to suitable schemes.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

URL https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/why-not-you
 
Description Our FTMA projects achieved great impact in inspiring our ECRs to engage more in impact-focused activities, as demonstrated by the career choices made by the following co-hort of PostDocs and PhD students. A female PostDoc has taken a FT research position (Molecular Biologist) with a global agribusiness (Syngenta Ltd). A female PostDoc has taken a FT research position at the University of Cambridge and is now taking a PT role (Chief Scientific Officer) with a spin-out company set up to commercialise the outputs from that project. A male PhD student has taken a position (Science Writer) with a prestigious PR and Strategic Communications Agency (Holdsworth Associates). A female PostDoc has taken a research position at RRES to continue to develop the outputs from her work. A male PostDoc has taken a FT research position on an innovative project at the University of Oxford. A female PostDoc has taken two PT research positions at RRES to lead on the delivery of an innovation project and a knowledge exchange project. In addition to the above, two entrepreneurial teams who emerged during the BASF Sustainability Challenge and two others who were formed thereafter continue to work on their innovative ideas. In total nine ECRs trained during our programme have developed entrepreneurial interests. A female PostDoc and a male PostDoc are working on the development of a digital benchmarking platform to provide UK consumers with product-specific environmental information. A female PostDoc, a male PostDoc and a male PhD student are working on the development of an open innovation platform to accelerate the upscaling of urban farms. Two male PhD students are working on the development of a remote sensing solution to quantify the value of biodiversity practices adopted by UK farmers. Two male PostDocs are working on the development of a novel in-field sensor to quantify soil health. Since our FTMA programme, these teams have been successful in getting selected to enter highly-competitive Accelerators: EIT-Food (https://www.eitfood.eu/), SHAKE (http://www.shakeclimate.org/), Slush 2019 (https://www.slush.org/) and Conception X (https://conceptionx.org/). In addition to the above, two of the initial PoC projects funded through our FTMA award have led to further collaborations with the industry partners. Thorugh 3 projects, we secured over £85,500 to continue to develop our innovative tools with industry partners.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Evaluating scientific methods and production practices for assessing nutritional and hygienic quality in haylage for equids
Amount £49,923 (GBP)
Organisation The Donkey Sanctuary 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 07/2019
 
Description Industry - Syngenta
Amount € 20,000 (EUR)
Organisation Syngenta International AG 
Sector Private
Country Switzerland
Start 11/2019 
End 03/2020
 
Description Industry funding - title confidential
Amount € 20,000 (EUR)
Organisation Syngenta International AG 
Sector Private
Country Switzerland
Start 01/2019 
End 06/2019
 
Description AgBalanceTM Pasture: a composite indicator of sustainability for grazing livestock systems (Rothamsted Research / BASF SE) 
Organisation BASF
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Taro Takahashi was awarded funds to undertake a project with BASF SE involving reciprocal visits.
Collaborator Contribution The project will use BASF's AgBalance sustainability scoring framework.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this collaboration.
Start Year 2018
 
Description BASF Sustainability Prize: A training programme to enable early-career scientists to develop the skills needed to create and deliver impactful collaborations with industry (Rothamsted Research / BASF) 
Organisation BASF
Department BASF Schweiz AG
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution John Crawford, Bianca Forte, Chiara Gandini and Irene Gonzalez-Thullier were awarded funds to organise a competition for Rothamsted's cohort of early career researchers to co-design sustainability project proposals with BASF. Teams with the most promising solutions were invited to the BASF facility in Limbergerhof to pitch the projects to the company.
Collaborator Contribution Three senior BASF managers came to the UK for two days for the project kick off and selection stage, with a staff time cost of ~750 Euros per day each (4500 Euros total), and travel and accommodation costs of 3000 Euros. BASF also hosted the final Limburgerhof event, for which the room hire, catering, dinners and taxis cost ~6000 Euros.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this project.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Developing tools for Soybean looper gene editing (Rothamsted Research / Syngenta Crop Protection AG) 
Organisation Syngenta International AG
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Rafael Homem and Emyr Davies (Rothamsted Research) were awarded funds to support a project with Syngenta Crop Protection AG involving reciprocal exchanges of personnel.
Collaborator Contribution TBC.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this collaboration.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Early Career Researcher Placement (Rothamsted Research / Kemin Industries) 
Organisation Kemin Industries Inc
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Irene Gonzalez-Thullier was awarded funds to undertake a placement with Kemin Industries in Iowa (USA) to look at compounds that accumulate in crops.
Collaborator Contribution Kemin Industries hosted Irene Gonzalez-Thullier's placement, including her in Specialty Crop Improvement team meetings and helping her put together a written report.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this work.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evaluation of new technologies for high-throughput fatty acid metabolic phenotyping in Brassica spp. (Rothamsted Resarch / Anatune) 
Organisation Anatune
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Richard Broughton was awarded funds to undertake a project with Anatune, including a two week placement with the company.
Collaborator Contribution Anatune hosted Richard Broughton's placement. However, Anatune sold the piece of equipment that Richard Broughton was intending to use, thus limiting the scope of the work.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this project.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Industry - Syngenta 
Organisation Syngenta International AG
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaborative research programme on gene editing in lepidopteran pests
Collaborator Contribution Materials, expertise
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description Industry - Syngenta 
Organisation Syngenta International AG
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaborative research programme on gene editing in lepidopteran pests
Collaborator Contribution Materials and expertise
Impact None to date
Start Year 2018
 
Description Monitoring fungal population dynamics in silage (Rothamsted Research / Silage Solutions / Isca Diagnostics) 
Organisation ISCA Diagnostics
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Kate Le Cocq (Rothamsted Research) was awarded funds to support a 12 month project with Silage Solutions and Isca Diagnostics involving reciprocal exchanges. She is responsible for sampling, sample processing and data analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Silage Solutions Ltd are providing Kate Le Cocq with training in relevant aspects of silage science. They also covered partial cost of sample analysis, and loaned equipment for use in the project. Isca Diagnostics manufacture monoclonal antibodies, the application of which are being evaluated as part of this project in the form of Lateral flow devices.
Impact Impacts have not yet been achieved.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Monitoring fungal population dynamics in silage (Rothamsted Research / Silage Solutions / Isca Diagnostics) 
Organisation Silage Soutions Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Kate Le Cocq (Rothamsted Research) was awarded funds to support a 12 month project with Silage Solutions and Isca Diagnostics involving reciprocal exchanges. She is responsible for sampling, sample processing and data analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Silage Solutions Ltd are providing Kate Le Cocq with training in relevant aspects of silage science. They also covered partial cost of sample analysis, and loaned equipment for use in the project. Isca Diagnostics manufacture monoclonal antibodies, the application of which are being evaluated as part of this project in the form of Lateral flow devices.
Impact Impacts have not yet been achieved.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Structural elucidation and fate determination of novel fatty acids: Generating further insights into pathway manipulation by synthetic biology (Rothamsted Research / ThermoScientific) 
Organisation Thermo Fisher Scientific
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Richard Broughton was awarded funds to undertake a project with ThermoScientific, during which he was planning to undertake a placement of two weeks at Thermo's Hemel site.
Collaborator Contribution ThermoScientific were going to host Richard Broughton's exchange. Unfortunately, the collaborator at Thermo left the company, and the project came to a halt.
Impact No impacts have yet been achieved through this project.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Invited lecture, Intituto de la Grasa, Seville 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Plant biotechnology and biorefinning lecture: Oleaginous crops as integrated production platforms for sustainable production of food, feed, fuel and renewable industrial feedstock
Initiated discussions about future collaboration on transaltional research projects and students exchange/training.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit of Embrapa Arroz e Feijao, Santo Antônio de Goiás, Brazil. March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Exchange of ideas on disease management strategies and fungicide resistance monitoring
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Visit of Embrapa Soybean in Londrina (Brazil) March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of research conducted at Rothamsted Research. Information on fungicide resistance research on the most important foliar wheat pathogen in the UK (Zymoseptoria tritici causing Septoria leaf blotch). How to monitor fungicide resistance (tools and methods), future predictions regarding evolution and how to deal with it. This information can also be used for fungicide resistance management in Asian Soybean Rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) in Brazil.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Visit of Syngenta Research Station (Syngenta Proteção de Cultivos Ltda), Uberlândia City, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Exchange of tools, methods and ideas on fungicide applications, resistance development and wider integrated disease management on soybean rust and other soybean pathogens
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019