MSSRF in Cambridge-University led global collaboration for food security
July 25, 2017: The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation will be part of a major research collaboration led by the University of Cambridge that will focus on food security in India. The project ‘Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable Food Supplies’ (TIGR2ESS) is part of the Global Challenges Research Fund. Researchers from the UK and India will work to build upon research knowledge in the UK to address challenges in developing countries.
A total of 37 grants including this one, were announced on July 21, 2017 at the University of Cambridge. Speaking on the occasion, Andrew Thompson, GCRF Champion at Research Councils UK, said the projects would build research capacity to address systemic development challenges.
Professor Howard Griffiths, Department of Plant Sciences, leads on the project TIGR2ESS which seeks to frame the big question – how to bring about a second Green Revolution – in all its breadth and depth. This includes not just more food, but reducing damage by excessive pesticides, fertiliser and water use in the context of climate change. In India, smallholder farmers – particularly women, need smart technologies to sustain crop yields and improve health and nutrition.
The TIGR2ESS programme will assess options and support basic research programmes while providing advice to local communities. There will be academic exchanges, mentoring and career development for scientists from both countries. Links with government ministries in India with industrial connections built into the programme, aim to turn recommendations into reality.
Professor Nitya Rao, University of East Anglia is co-leading two of the work packages on ‘defining the research agenda’ and ‘impacting wellbeing of rural and urban communities through improved nutrition outcomes’, with colleagues at Cambridge. She says, “In India, despite significant economic growth, rates of malnutrition remain amongst the highest in the world and a majority of adult women are anaemic. Women are not recognised as farmers and their needs and interests not prioritised in agricultural research. This grant gives us opportunity to reframe the agenda, in the reality of urbanisation and technological change, to support smallholder farmers, particularly women. We look forward to collaborating with MSSRF in this programme.
“Agriculture is feminizing. We need to ensure that state resources and services, and knowledge resources, are equally accessible to women farmers,” adds Dr V Selvam, Executive Director MSSRF.
There are several institutional partners in India including the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the Punjab Agricultural University, as part of this collaboration. The research project begins on October 1, 2017.
About the University: The University of Cambridge aims to contribute through pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest levels of excellence. To date, 96 affiliates of the University have won the Nobel Prize. Founded in 1209, this global University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges, 150 departments, faculties and institutions. Cambridge researchers collaborate worldwide and the University has larger-scale partnerships in Asia, Africa and America. Cambridge promotes the interface between academia and business, and has a global reputation for innovation.
About MSSRF: The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, headquartered in Chennai, India, is a 30-year old research institution founded by renowned agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan. It aims to work towards sustainable development especially in food and nutrition security harnessing science and technology. Its cutting edge development research has helped frame national and global policies, towards solving some of the most pressing problems of the most-at-need. The institution has partnered on several national and international collaborations for greater impact. More on www.mssrf.org
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.