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Collaborative Research Projects

Researchers in the School of Life Sciences work closely with companies and government bodies to undertake collaborative projects. This enables us to explore opportunities to translate our fundamental knowledge into solutions for real-world problems in areas such as human health, agriculture, animal welfare and the environment.


The development of collaborative research projects between academia and industry enhances our understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities, and provides opportunities for the exchange of knowledge, skills and expertise to ensure that research is at the cutting-edge and is of relevance to end-users.

Research collaborations with industrial partners are facilitated via a number of different routes, including direct funding from industry to support research projects and PhD studentships, or through joint funding schemes involving the Research Councils and industry.


Recent collaborative research projects led by the School of Life Sciences researchers include:

  • Exploiting next generation sequencing to investigate the genetics of parsnip root disease resistance and develop a marker-assisted breeding strategy (BBSRC/Elsoms Seeds) - Dr Guy Barker
  • Optimisation of anaerobic digestion (BBSRC/Guy & Wright) - Professor Chris Dowson
  • Reagents and assays to exploit the final steps of peptidoglycan construction (BBSRC/Astra Zeneca) - Professor Chris Dowson
  • Optimisation of sampling strategies for improving sensitivity of Mycobacterium bovis detection by PCR (Defra) - Professor Liz Wellington
  • Manipulation of bolting time for improved quality and greater sustainability in lettuce production (BBSRC/Rijk Zwaan) - Dr Steve Jackson
  • Introgression of broad spectrum resistance to turnip mosaic virus in Brassica rapa (Syngenta) - Dr John Walsh

Such projects are leading to benefits to the economy, through the exploitation and commercialisation of research findings, and impacts on agriculture and animal welfare through developing new tools, influencing management practices and improving the sustainability of food production.

Involving PhD students in collaborative projects is ensuring that the next generation of researchers are highly skilled, through gaining experience of business skills and project management to complement their scientific knowledge and expertise.


Undertaking collaborative research projects provides the foundations for the development of long-term relationships between academics and industry, placing them in a strong position to respond quickly to address new and emerging challenges through bringing together unique and complementary strength from different sectors.

We will continue to expand our industrial links to ensure that our innovative research is relevant to end-users and is of maximum benefit to society and the economy.

Parsnip research
Parsnip root disease resistance
Improving TB detection by PCR
Bolting lettuce
Manipulation of bolting time
(BBSRC/Rijk Zwann)