British Academy Funding Announced for Crops Research Project

20 May 2024

An international research project, led by experts from the University of Lincoln, UK, has been handed a major boost after receiving almost £300,000 vital funding from The British Academy.

‘Histories and futures of under-utilised crops reimagined’ is a project led by Principal Investigator Dr Lillian Korir that explores why indigenous African crops have become under-utilised and looks at the possibilities for new approaches to increase their uptake. It is thought that the availability and utilisation of indigenous crops could improve food security, reduce hunger and support adaptation to climate change.

Principal Investigator for the project, Dr Lilian Korir said:

‘I am grateful for this opportunity that advances our collaborative research objectives. Our focus on uncovering historical shifts in the significance of under-utilised crops and co-creating future scenarios with local communities is pivotal in addressing pressing issues like food security, hunger, and climate change adaptation in truly interdisciplinary work across the humanities and social sciences.

“This research also aligns with the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology’s mission to enhance productivity, efficiency, and sustainability through innovation and an interdisciplinary approach.”

The project is a collaborative endeavour between University of Lincoln researchers (Dr Lilian Korir, Dr Matthew Hannaford, and Professor Ted Fuller) and international researchers from Moi University and the National Museums of Kenya.

The British Academy announced the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding for Projects in April this year, with Lilian Korir among the 28 successful research projects supported under this programme to offer valuable insights and perspectives on ODA-eligible research topics that are innovative, interdisciplinary, and international from across the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Simon Goldhill, Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the British Academy, welcomed the announcement of this new cohort of award-holders, commenting:

We are delighted to announce the new ODA International Interdisciplinary Research Project awards. These exciting 2-year programmes bring together international early career researchers across a wide range of disciplines to explore ODA-eligible research topics. Not only will the funding allow for advanced knowledge exchange and development in policy, but it also encourages new ways of communicating and collaborating in multilingual working.

The programme is funded by the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation & Technology, and provides opportunities for early career researchers based in the UK and internationally to lead and manage international interdisciplinary research projects and teams.

Speaking after receiving the Award Funding, Lillian continued:

“With this opportunity, we can foster meaningful conversations, challenge existing assumptions, and pave the way for new innovative approaches in farming and food value chain practices.

“I am honoured to be part of this journey and look forward to the impact we can achieve together. It’s a pivotal moment for our research, and I’m excited about the positive impact it could have on both the local communities we will work with and the broader community”.