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Help determine the future of soft fruit pre-breeding research

The views of the UK soft fruit industry, from growers to retailers, could be critical in determining its future, urges NIAB and the James Hutton Institute.

The two research organisations are developing a business case for the establishment of a Soft Fruit Genetic Improvement Network, following in the footsteps of some major agricultural crops with a co-ordinated research approach to pre-breeding genetics of key traits and new breeding tools.

NEWS: Dr Sigrid Heuer to lead NIAB’s crop improvement and resilience programme

Dr Heuer will lead strategic research and development, building upon NIAB’s expertise in pre-breeding of arable crops and complementing NIAB’s work in statistical genetics, biotechnology and data science as well as its significant programme of farming systems research and industry-facing knowledge exchange. Sigrid will also ensure close interaction with the University of Cambridge through the Crop Science Centre and develop joint projects supporting NIAB's gene discovery efforts as well as training the next generation of plant scientists.  

NEWS: Bill Clark wins Farmers Weekly Awards Lifetime Achievement Award

A plant pathologist by training, he retired this summer after nearly a decade as technical director at NIAB, where his primary role was leading the NIAB TAG membership programme, providing strategic agronomy advice and information to over 2,500 farming and industry members.

In all his roles, though, his insight when it comes to plant biology and applied plant science has made a huge contribution to industry-wide advances in disease control strategies, plus our understanding of fungicide activity, the physiological effects of fungicides and fungicide resistance issues.

Tina Barsby awarded Honorary Professorship

The University of Cambridge has granted outgoing NIAB CEO Dr Tina Barsby the title of Honorary Professor in Agricultural Botany.

Honorary Professorships are one of the most prestigious honours in the gift of the University and mark academic contribution and rare distinction. Professor Alison Smith, Head of the University’s Department of Plant Sciences, explains that Tina’s contribution to agricultural innovation and to plant science means that she has the significant national and international recognition befitting a Professor at the University of Cambridge.

Recent appointments at NIAB

Dr Abhimanyu Sarkar

As Programme Lead in Legume Genetics, Dr Sarkar will help develop NIAB’s position at the vanguard of legume genetics and breeding. This will include building on our strong foundation in faba bean, developing a strong research portfolio in other domestic legume opportunities, and continuing to contribute to the improvement of grasspea and other tropical legumes.

Get involved in the 2021 Italian rye-grass survey

What do I need to do?

We will be testing different herbicides and need a good supply of weed seed in each sample.  (around a coffee mug full, or more if manageable) to complete all tests. Allow the samples to dry for a few days in a breathable bag or an open tray before sending. Download and fill in the form and include one with each sample, sending it to - John Cussans, NIAB, 93 Lawrence Weaver Road, Cambridge, CB3 0LE

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