$20M grant to UNL seeks to improve crop productivity

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been awarded a $20 million grant over five years to lead a Nebraska-based research effort focused on improving crop productivity.

The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. It will fund the new Center for Root and Rhizobiome Innovation.

Researchers from UNL, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Kearney and Doane University in Crete will study root and soil microbe interactions. The hope is to develop new biological tools to improve crop performance.

The grant will also fund three new faculty positions, two at UNL and one at UNK.

The team initially will focus on corn, but their findings and biological tools will be applied to studying and improving other crops, including soybeans.