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The United Kingdom has launched a scheme to spur research into sustainable food production in Africa and Asia.

The £6 million (US$11 million) fund announced this week (25 July) is seeking research proposals on crop science and sustainable agriculture in the developing world.

To promote global partnerships for development, institutions in developing countries will be expected to partner UK-based institutions.

The programme is a partnership between the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Department for International Development (DFID).

The agencies will meet up to 100 per cent of research costs in developing countries, but only 20 per cent of staff costs for researchers in industrialised countries other than the United Kingdom.

The programme aims to foster high-quality research that will help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

An additional aim will be capacity building in developing countries. Projects can include requests for funding postgraduate studentships for researchers from developing countries.

Funding for individual projects will last up to four years, with a maximum of US$1.3 million per project.

Scientists must send outlines of their research proposals by email to DFID by 3 October 2006.

The UK government this month made clear its commitment to using science to fight poverty, saying that "managing global challenges requires investment in science, technological advances and innovation" (see UK aid agency doubles funding for scientific research).

Read more about the scheme and how to apply

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