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NSF, Gates BREAD Program Supports 'Omics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program, a funding partnership between the National Science Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has issued its first 15 grants, which include around $3 million for genomics research.

The five-year BREAD program is aimed at enabling researchers to use creative approaches and technologies to tackle problems faced by small farms, such as stresses affecting crops and animals like drought, diseases, and pests that are common in the developing world.

NSF's Acting Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, Joann Roskoski, said in a statement that the response to the program "has been overwhelming."

"More than 130 US institutions in 45 states, partnering with more than 200 institutions in 68 countries, submitted proposals for the inaugural competition. Projects were in fields as diverse as the genetic improvement of crops and animals, control of diseases and pests, the chemistry and biology of soils and water, and engineering," she said.

One of these grants will give $1.7 million to Cornell University to fund a program called "Platform, Pipeline, and Analytical Tools for Next Generation Genotyping to serve Breeding Efforts in Africa."

Sub-awardees on this grant include the University of South Carolina, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Hyderabad, India, and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

Another BREAD grant will give $1.3 million to the University of California – Berkeley for a project entitled "Molecular and Genomic Strategies to Engineer Durable and Sustainable Disease Resistance to Bacterial Blight of Cassava."

Sub-awardees on this grant include the University of The Andes in Colombia and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

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