Melbourne researchers awarded funding to explore crop productivity

University of Melbourne scientists have received funding for collaborative cutting-edge research in the priority area of food security through Australia’s largest bilateral science fund, the ‘Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) Grand Challenges’.

The Melbourne researchers will explore methods to boost crop productivity and post-harvest grain protection through innovative science.

Three successful projects in the first round of the Fund (selected by an independent joint Australia-India expert panel) were announced on Friday by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

Australia will provide $8.9 million to fund the Australian arm of the research and the Government of India will support the participation by Indian teams in these joint projects.

Two of the three successful projects involve University of Melbourne researchers and will focus on:

  • Crop plants which remove their own major biotic constraints: a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in India; and
  • Genomic Approaches for Stress Tolerant Chickpea: a collaboration between the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India.

These two projects represent $3.175 million of the total pool of $8.9 million.

The Grand Challenge Fund aims to deliver practical and innovative solutions to some of the major challenges both countries share.

This Fund is a component of the $64 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, which has supported more than 90 projects, involving more than 100 leading Australian and Indian universities and research institutes since it began in 2006.

The Grand Challenge Fund is designed to support projects of a significant scale and ambition, up to $3 million per project from the Australian Government, and an applied focus in areas of priority to Australia and India.

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