The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States announced on 12 May 2010 that the Foundation, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is awarding 15 grants worth US$20 million in support of basic research for generating sustainable solutions to big agricultural problems in developing countries.
These are the first grants in a new five-year Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program, which is jointly funded by NSF and the Gates Foundation.
The awards in this first year of funding will allow leading scientists worldwide to work together in basic research testing novel and creative approaches to reducing longstanding problems faced by smallholder farmers in poor countries.
Scientists from the Nairobi, Kenya, animal health laboratories of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) will participate in 2 of the 15 projects selected among the many submitted to BREAD for funding.
Biologists at New York and Michigan State universities and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (USA), the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh (UK) and ILRI (Kenya) will test a novel approach to developing cattle that are resistant to trypanosomosis, a deadly cattle disease that is closely related to sleeping sickness in humans and that holds back animal agriculture across a swath of Africa as large as continental USA.
In another project, scientists from the University of Vermont and Plum Island Animal Disease Center (USA) will work with the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and ILRI on use of advanced genetics to develop vaccines for East Coast fever and other cattle diseases that threaten the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Go here for a 12 May 2010 news release from the US National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=116932
A complete list of 2010 BREAD awards can be accessed at: http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/awards/bread10.htm