SENRGy lead international collaborations to grant success

Researchers in Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy) have recently secured two major grants, paving the way for collaborative research based in south-east Asia.

Prof. Morag McDonald, Dr Graham Bird and Dr Paula Roberts, in conjunction with colleagues in Indonesia, UK and USA, successfully secured funding from the Global Innovation Initiative (GII) for their project: Establishing a network of research excellence for mine reclamation in Southeast Asia.  The GII is a joint UK-US programme established to foster multilateral research collaboration with higher education institutions in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. The GII award of nearly £150,000 towards the total project costs of £420,000 is one of eight awarded to UK-led partnerships by the British Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as part of the GII. 

The project will focus on the challenges and opportunities faced in attempting to reclaim mine sites in partnership with an Indonesian state-owned coal mining company, PT Bukit Asam and Western Carolina University (U.S.), Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia), Bandung Institute of Technology (Indonesia), Universitas Diponegoro (Indonesia), Universitas Brawijaya (Indonesia), Southeast Asian Region for Tropical Biology (Indonesia), and Aberystwyth University (UK). Indonesia is the fourth largest coal producer in the world as well as having abundant resources of other important minerals. As noted by Prof McDonald, “the project will allow us to engage in high quality research in the areas of water quality and land reclamation, whilst at the same time engaging in knowledge, staff and student exchanges with our partner organizations”. A kick-off workshop for the project was held in late April in Indonesia and the research programme will begin in earnest this summer. 

Further success for SENRGy has seen Dr Mark Rayment, Dr Andy Smith and Prof Morag McDonald secure funding from the Newton Fund to establish The Forest Fruit and Rural Nutrition (FFARN) programme between Bangor University and Mulawarman University in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance programme and will enable the UK to promote economic development and social welfare in partner countries through research and innovation.  Relationships developed through the Newton fun will also unlock opportunities for wider collaboration and trade. 

As noted by Dr Rayment, “Significant numbers of Indonesian children suffer from limited access to minerals and micronutrients, especially in rural areas. The two year FFARN programme will work to identify fruit tree species that have the ability to act as mineral accumulators and vitamin providers, enhancing diet quality. In addition, the project will look at the socio-economic and cultural barriers to exploiting nutritional benefits of underutilised fruit tree species”. 

The Newton Fund award of £89,000 towards a total project cost of £139k will allow the FFARN programme to train both Indonesian and UK students with a long term aim of developing an interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching and research programme between Bangor and Mulawarman Universities, focussed on tropical fruit trees and nutrition. 

Publication date: 5 June 2015