Funding round-up: Summer 2014

Categories: funding
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Published on: July 16, 2014

Here’s your irregular round-up of funding opportunities. Some of these deadlines will already be burned into your brains, but hopefully there a few useful new ones for you to think about!

Many of the options below are only available if you are a member of a society. Funding is one of many benefits to joining a learned society (blog post on this from Sarah Blackford), and if you’re a student your institution might even pay for the membership fee for you.


Travel – conferences

British Mycological Society Small Grants: Deadlines 20 July, 20 September, 20 December, 20 March every year. Not pure plant science, but worth a look if you work on plant-fungi interactions or soil. Grants available for fieldwork, travel to meetings, to buy books or scientific equipment.

The Genetics Society Conference Grants: Deadlines 1 August, 1 November, 1 February, 1 May. Two types of grants are available depending on whether the event is linked to the Genetics Society or not.


Success falling from the air: how BeadaMoss has saved Sphagnum moorland

Categories: guest blogger, UKPSF
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Published on: November 20, 2012
Sphagnum moss

I’m delighted that Dr Alan Jones, who presented this story as part of the ‘Good news from UK plant science’ session at the UKPSF AGM, agreed to write a guest blog post for GARNet.

Degradation of the Pennine moorlands in northern England over the last 100 years has been severe. This rocky windswept spine runs through the centre of what was once the industrial powerhouse of Britain, and these upland areas have been subject to intense pressures from atmospheric pollution, overgrazing and recreational activity. The moorland soils are eroding, which rapidly exposes their carbon-rich peat to the elements and so they begin release carbon dioxide. This is a big issue for the UK because, owing to this sort of land degradation, our upland soils are currently releasing the carbon emissions equivalent to that of Manchester.

Eroded peatland in the Yorkshire Peak District.

At their heart, upland soils are built upon the few tiny plants that can survive harsh conditions, waterlogging and low nutrients. Sphagnum mosses are the building block that achieve this, but unfortunately once the soil has eroded, sphagnum cannot recolonize.

With the assistance of Manchester Metropolitan University and a small UK company – MicroPropagation Services, a product has been developed which promises to revolutionise upland conservation and reverse this degradation. The product is BeadaMosstm – a sphagnum culture formed into small gel beads, which stabilise and nurture these young plants, allowing them to re-establish on degraded peatlands where they would otherwise be unable. Remarkably, these green beads are actually airlifted by helicopter, so large quantities can be dropped to target specific areas of remote moorland, where volunteer workers then complete the final painstaking step of inserting them into the soil. (more…)

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