Bayer announced that 24 scientists will receive financial and scientific support through its Grants4Ag program. The researchers will receive grants ranging from $6,104 to $18,313 (5,000 to 15,000 euros) to fund their projects. Bayer will also pair each winner with one of the company’s own scientists to provide guidance on each project as it progresses.
“I was thrilled to have my project chosen!” says microbiologist Vanessa Nessner Kavamura. “As a postdoc scientist, it’s not often that we get to develop our own project, making this a great opportunity to develop my research ideas. Bayer offers a lot of support from its experienced team, and I hope I have some exciting results which could lead to additional future collaborations”.
Proposals like Kavamura’s, on fighting fungal disease in wheat with microbes, centered around solutions aimed at helping farmers around the world protect their crops. For Bayer, those grants could end up as an investment in a larger, longer-term collaborations with the scientist.
“Ideas from this year’s winners represent all research and development areas in crop science,” says Phil Taylor, Open Innovation Lead for Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “We love the idea that, given support, these research proposals could develop into the next advancement that helps farmers.”
2021 Grant4Ag awards
- Addie Thompson, Michigan State University, will be working to predict onset and quantify severity of tar spot in U.S. corn.
- Ana Laura Torres Huerta, Monterey Institute of Technology, seeks to confirm whether the antimicrobial properties of garlic, mango and eucalyptus are a result of the Snakin gene in their DNA sequences. This understanding would help in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
- Bryan Berger, University of Virginia, is working to develop technologies to eliminate microbial contamination in the field. He hopes to design systems to remove biofilms or microbes.
- Eduardo Rodriguez, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Rosario, is researching Streptomyces bacteria in order to protect soybean plants from pests in a greener way.
- Elizabeth Skellam, University of North Texas, is developing methods to synthesize molecules with hopes of protecting crops from pathogens.
- Enrico Bonello, Ohio State University, is developing drone-mounted sensors coupled with AI technology to detect infections and infestations in plants for more effective disease and pest management.
- Haoyu Niu, University of California, Merced, aims to cut the yield losses of walnut growers through the early detection nematode infestations.
- Ian Henderson, University of Cambridge, is interested in controlling and harnessing recombination in order to better adapt crops. The recombination process mixes up genetic variation.
- Ingrid Span, Heinrich Heine University, is developing tools to fight viruses in plants and minimize food losses.
- Jishnu Bhatt, Penn State University, is developing a process to produce pathogen-free planting materials for farmers who produce African white yams.
- Maria DeRosa, Carleton University, is investigating the potential of aptamers for more sustainable agricultural technologies. Her goal is to discover new aptamer sequences, understand their binding properties and apply them to help solve problems in a wide range of fields including health, environment and agriculture.
- Megan Rúa, Wright State University, is researching how microorganisms interact with each other and with plants to help farmers develop new tools for growing crops.
- Ming-Zhi Zhang, Nanjing Agricultural University, is researching natural products for leads on new fungicides and targeted small molecule drugs.
- Sigfredo Fuentes, The University of Melbourne, is developing drone-mounted and AI-powered sensor technologies to monitor pests and diseases in crops.
- Sivam Krish, GoMicro, seeks to protect crops, reduce food waste, and ensure food quality by bringing AI technology to the mainstream.
- Vanessa Nessner Kavamura, Rothamsted Research, is researching the potentially useful chemical compounds produced by microbes to fight disease-causing organisms in wheat.
- Yinghui Mu, South China Agricultural University, is searching for new bioherbicides by analyzing plant species grown for crop rotation and living mulch to see how these plants inhibit weed growth.
- Yulia Poroshenko, Agrohub, along with Oleg Prihodko of SenseAgro and Alexander Alfimov, CPCS, is developing an automated pesticide-mixing robot to protect farm workers and improve the efficiency and traceability of pesticide applications.
- Yi-Zhen Deng, South China Agricultural University, is researching the potential of a flavonoid from a Chinese herb in combating rice-blast disease, the most common and costly rice disease.
- Yongle Li, University of Adelaide Waite Campus, is developing the tools to improve the plant breeding process with deep learning models and advanced DNA sequencing technologies.
- Yuxi Zhang, Monash University, is using data assimilation techniques to improve wheat monitoring and yield estimation.
- Zihau Zhou, China Agricultural University, aims to develop better biopesticides.
In partnership with Halo, a partnering platform for scientific innovation, Bayer received more than 600 proposals from 39 countries around the world during a five-week submission window this past fall. Bayer Grants4Ag awardees retain all intellectual property rights to their projects.
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