Sheffield scientist shortlisted for 2018 Newton Prize
A Sheffield scientist has been shortlisted for a prestigious £1 million 2018 Newton Prize.
Dr Caspar Chater, Marie Curie Fellow within the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and member of P3 has been shortlisted for his project in Newton Partner country, Mexico, where he and his team are developing climate-ready elite bean varieties to combat drought-associated yield losses for Mexican and Latin American agriculture.
Climate change and droughts will cause a 40-70% decline in Mexico’s cropland by 2030. Beans are central to Mexico’s Food Security, but they are also highly sensitive to drought stress.
Drought causes major (often 80%) bean yield losses and soil impoverishment, and climate change will worsen this. If unresolved, this will cause food shortages, malnourishment, displacement, and migration of rural communities.
On being shortlisted for the prize, Professor of Plant Cell Signalling at Sheffield, Julie Gray said “I am delighted that Dr Chater's achievements have been shortlisted for a Newton prize. This highlights the importance of his work to produce a Mexican bean more suited to climate change. It has been an extremely rewarding experience for me to see the results from my laboratory in Sheffield being used to improve the yield of bean crops that provide nutrition to millions of people in developing countries”.
Each year the Newton Prize is awarded to projects that demonstrate the best science or innovation; promoting the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries. The prize sheds light on the challenges faced by the developing world and how Newton Fund partnerships are helping to solve them. It also incentivises researchers to join the Newton Fund as partners with the UK to address global challenges such as poverty, climate change and public health.
The winners will be decided by the Newton Prize Committee at its meeting on 23rd October and announced at in-country events November.