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A Rothamsted research project is to benefit from a £220,000 UKRI fund to help the UK meet its Net Zero commitments in the agri-food sector. The scoping study, entitled What happens on the farm, does not stay on the farm, will investigate new models of collective insurance for farmers trying innovative climate-smart practices across a water catchment. The study team will consult with farmers and insurance companies to understand what might work for them and will attempt to match farmers’ needs with effective climate solutions. This will be carried out in collaboration with Portsmouth Water and Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative. 

Dr Zainab Oyetunde-Usman, who will lead the study, said “Agriculture accounts for 69% of the UK’s nitrous oxide emissions and 48% of those for methane  - so we need to look seriously at addressing these if we are to achieve the UK’s 2050 net zero target. 

“However, farms are diverse, complex systems, so experimentation is needed to establish which combination of practices works best on each farm. Farms are also open systems, and some experiments will require multiple neighbouring farms to work together to get the maximum benefit.”

The study is among sixteen innovative projects that have received funding from the UKRI Agri-food for Net Zero Network+ (AFN Network+); a three-year, £5m initiative set up in 2022. Its aim is to bring together UK researchers, industry leaders, government bodies and members of the public to explore effective ways to support industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving environmental sustainability.

The UK’s agri-food industry produces around a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. This will have to be addressed if the country is to meet its net zero goals by 2050. The projects, which were awarded either £10k over 12 months or £50k over two years, bring together multidisciplinary teams, with academics working alongside food system stakeholders. 

For more information on all funded projects, see: 2023 funded scoping studies


Dr Zainab Oyetunde-Usman



Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries in areas as diverse as crop management, statistical interpretation and soil health. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative approach to developing innovative farm practice.
Through independent research, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally, with economic impact estimated to exceed £3 bn in annual contribution to the UK economy. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and multiple partnerships.
Rothamsted is home to three unique National Bioscience Research Infrastructures which are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. Through our investments, we build and support a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive community which delivers ground-breaking discoveries and develops bio-based solutions that contribute to tackling global challenges, such as sustainable food production, climate change, and healthy ageing.
As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we not only play a pivotal role in fostering connections that enable the UK’s world-class research and innovation system to flourish – we also have a responsibility to enable the creation of a research culture that is diverse, resilient, and engaged.
BBSRC proudly forges interdisciplinary collaborations where excellent bioscience has a fundamental role. We pioneer approaches that enhance the equality, diversity, and inclusion of talent by investing in people, infrastructure, technologies, and partnerships on a global scale.


The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.