Leeds researcher shortlisted for prestigious Newton Prize

A University Academic Fellow has been shortlisted for the 2018 Newton Prize for her work to sustainably improve food production in Brazil.

All of the researchers involved collecting data in Brazil last year.

Niamh Forde Team October 2018

Each year the Newton Prize is awarded to projects that demonstrate the best science or innovation; promoting the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries.

The prize sheds light on the challenges faced by the developing world and how Newton Fund partnerships are helping solve them. It also incentivises researchers to join the Newton Fund to address global challenges such as poverty, climate change and public health.

This year, 140 Newton-funded projects, fellowships or other awards applied for the Newton Prize. Shortlisted applications take on numerous sustainable development goals. They also span the Newton Fund’s three pillars of work – the development of people, new research and translating ideas into innovations.

Among the 22 proposals shortlisted for the Prize is Dr Niamh Forde’s project – Identifying novel intervention strategies to overcome early embryo exposure to environmental stresses: Can we grow robust cattle to sustainably enhance food production?

The project, tackling issues of agriculture and food security, is a collaborative partnership with Dr Juliano DaSilveria and his University of Sao Paulo colleagues, including Dr Tiago Henrique Camara de Bem, Dr Guilherme Pugliesi, Professor Flavio Vieira Meirelles and Dr Felipe Perecin.

It looks to increase the fertility in cattle and generate robust offspring that are resilient to environmental stresses by harnessing assisted reproductive technologies. This will have a considerable impact on transforming the sustainable intensification of agriculture in different production systems across the world, with significant benefits for farmers.

Dr Forde said: “I am thrilled to be shortlisted, along with my Brazilian colleagues, for this prize. Our research is truly a collaborative effort with many people involved and it’s an honour that the research has been recognised.”

Four prizes of up to £200,000 each will be awarded to winning projects working with the eligible Latin American countries. There will also be an additional prize – the Chairman’s Award – of £200,000 for a project with the potential for broader impact within other developing countries.

Shortlisted projects will be celebrated during award events taking place in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico in November, where the winning project for each country will be announced. These will be followed by a UK reception in December hosted by Sam Gyimah MP, the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to celebrate international and science innovation collaborations.

Visit the Newton Fund website for further information.

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