Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network announces second funding call

Do you have an interesting and innovative idea or solution that will improve food quality and cut food loss for vegetable, fruit and potato crops?

The Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network (HortQFLNet) launched its second Funding Call at the beginning of May.

It is inviting applications from plant science and technology-focused researchers with a particular interest in addressing horticultural crop quality (fruit, vegetables and potatoes) and postharvest food loss.

Horticultural crops (vegetables, fruit, potatoes) are major components of a healthy diet, but around a third of food produced globally is wasted before it is consumed. In the UK, more than 15 million tonnes of food and drink, with a value of more than £20 billion, is wasted every year. More than half of this waste happens before food gets to the consumer.

The UK is committed to halving food losses and waste by 2030 and BBSRC has identified significant opportunities for science to cut food losses in horticultural crops through novel and enhanced connections between multi-disciplinary researchers and end-users including industry and policy makers.

There is a gap in the basic plant scientific knowledge needed to overcome the challenges of producing sufficient and high-quality UK grown crops with optimal nutritional density, flavour and shelf life. The diversity of horticultural produced in the UK means a “one size fits all” approach may not be appropriate. We need to understand how and where better crop quality and reductions in crop losses can be achieved.

HortQFLNet, a 3-year BBSRC-funded Network, has £90K is available to fund four or five Pump Priming project applications of up to £20K each in this funding round. Each project will run for three to nine months.

There will also be additional funding of £10K available to support academics and industry partners to encourage co-development of project ideas through Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) and Networking Visit Funding (NVF).

The funding call is open to all UK based researchers at UKRI-eligible institutions through a single annual selection process. For more information about how to submit an application, and to network with potential partners, a sandpit event is being held on 18th May.

Application forms can be found on the HortQFLNet website, along with call guidance documents detailing the application and evaluation/selection processes. The closing date for applications is 6th August 2021. Winners will be notified by early October and projects will be able to commence once the award funding process has been completed.

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