Supporting the next generation of UK rice researchers

UKRRC Early Career Rice Researchers were awarded a forum grant in support of their most recent meeting, which took place at Durham University from 5-6 September 2022.

48 participants from institutions across the UK took part in the ECR-led meeting. Early-stage rice scientists from a diverse range of research backgrounds came together to speak, network, and form collaborations. The major theme of the meeting was the challenge of climate-proofing rice productivity and ensuring rice quality. Talks and posters covered topics ranging from rice protein function and stress tolerance mechanisms to phenotyping, and approaches ranged from lab-based to computational. There were four keynote speakers: Dr. Ranjan Swarup, Dr. Pallavi Singh, Professor Andrew Fleming and Dr. Katherine Steele, and an international speaker, Ajay Kohli from IRRI. In addition, Debbie Harding from UKRI BBSRC provided a careers session. The evening dinner, held in Durham Castle Great Hall, was an excellent way to meet others and network in a relaxed setting.











The UKRRC (UK Rice Research Consortium) was formed in 2018 to promote greater integration and collaboration between more than 30 UK research groups who focus on rice. The UKRRC Early Career Rice Researcher Meetings seek to support the next generation of rice researchers in the UK.

With the support of Rank Prize, the below ECRs were awarded prizes. Winners were selected by a committee of keynote speakers from Bangor, Nottingham and Essex Universities.

Talk prize winners

Yashodha de Silva, University of Aberdeen. A nematode resistance gene that appears to originate in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Jordon Robson, University of Nottingham. Illuminating the genetic basis of Photosynthetic Heat Tolerance in Rice, through Chlorophyll Fluorescence and Genome Wide Association Studies.

Kawinnat Sue-ob, University of Liverpool. Identification of SUMOylation machinery in rice (Oryza sativa).

Dr. Lee Cackett, University of Cambridge. Increasing the rice bundle sheath chloroplast compartment by manipulating brassinosteroid content and signalling pathways.

Poster prize winners

Emily Kate Servanté, University of Cambridge. Investigating genetic diversity in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis extent and benefit in rice.

Gizem Cataltepe, University of Cambridge. Identification of common mechanisms to intracellularly accommodate beneficial or pathogenic fungi in rice.

Manisha Sharma, NIAB. A Community Resource for Wheat and Rice Transformation and Assessment of Regulatory Elements.

The Nutrition Committee forum grants provide scientists with funding to explore a topic of special interest relating to human nutrition, animal nutrition or crop husbandry. You can find out more about the scheme and apply here.