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BBSRC and NSF join together to promote new ideas to enhance photosynthesis

Leading bioscience funding bodies in the UK and USA announce plans to promote scientific proposals in the potentially transformational area of enhanced photosynthesis.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announce plans to hold an intensive week long facilitated workshop an "Ideas Lab" in California later this year, to bring together leading researchers across all disciplines to foster new ideas, collaborations and proposals on novel biochemical mechanisms to enhance photosynthesis. Together BBSRC and NSF will make a total of up to $8M available to fund proposals from the workshop.

Both BBSRC and NSF will announce the details of how researchers at eligible institutions in the UK and US can apply to take part in the Ideas Lab over the next two weeks via their websites and

Photosynthesis is the basis of energy capture from the sun in plants, algae and other organisms. More efficient solar energy capture through photosynthesis has the potential to be harnessed to yield major increases in biomass, which could boost crop yields for food, feed and bioenergy. If scientists can bring about a step change in the efficiency of photosynthesis it will have significance in helping us meet some of the grand challenges facing the world in the first half of this century such as food and energy security. Such research will be a transformational achievement, unlocking significant benefits and helping us to tackle a range of challenges in food, environment and energy.

Prof Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research, said: "Whether it is food security, new bioenergy sources or plant-based renewable industrial chemicals, plant science offers huge potential for helping us to address future challenges. Enhancing photosynthesis is the 'big one'. This is high risk-high reward science. There is no guarantee of success but if we can enhance photosynthesis the impact could transform our world. We are hoping for some groundbreaking proposals from the Ideas Lab that could take us a step closer to unlocking the potential of photosynthesis."


Contact: Matt Goode
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

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