CFF Concept 1. What is CFF? CFF is the world’s first centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses. Its research encompasses annual and perennial crops with potential as staple foods, vegetables, fruits, forages, bioenergy and constructional materials. CFF’s research focusses on the uses of underutilised crops and agricultural biodiversity to diversify crop and agricultural systems, address changing climates, improve food security and economic well-being and improve nutrition. CFF provides evidence-based research to promote and facilitate the greater use of neglected and underutilised species for enhanced diversification of agricultural systems and human diets, particularly for the benefit of poor people in developing countries. CFF and its partners will link across the whole value chain from biotechnology and seed systems through to marketing and end uses. This `Research Value Chain (RVC)’ will build critical mass on particular crops and their end uses and provide `proof-of-concept’ learning experiences and research platforms that can be rapidly applied to a range of underutilised crops. 2. When was CFF established and how is it governed? CFF was established in July 2011 as `a company limited by guarantee and without share capital’. Its guarantors are the Government of Malaysia, represented by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), and the University of Nottingham in Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (UNiM), represented by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). CFF operates through a Board of Directors that includes representatives from its Guarantors and an Independent Chair. An international Advisory Board will help guide its strategic direction. 3. Who manages CFF and its research projects? CFF operates through a CEO and support team that includes Research Theme Leaders, Programme Directors, Theme and Programme Co-ordinators and academic support, Operations Managers, Administrators and Technicians. Research activities are conducted by CFF staff, with partner institutions and with other stakeholders. Research delivery is also through postdoctoral research assistants and research carried out by postgraduate students registered at the University of Nottingham and other partner institutions. Through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) the University of Nottingham provides access to research facilities and expertise at its campuses in Malaysia, the UK and China. 4. Who is contributing / funding and supporting this project and centre? The Government of Malaysia provides funding of almost $40 million for capital and operational costs until the end of 2017 to support the design, construction and maintenance of the CFF facilities on land adjacent to UNMC. In addition to offices and laboratories, CFF will include land for field experiments, polytunnels, demonstration plots, micropropagation facilities and a botanical garden to demonstrate research activities. 5. Why and how did CFF get the approval of the Malaysian Government and Prime Minister? CFF has the full support of the Government of Malaysia and especially the Prime Minister who has championed its establishment since it was first proposed in 2008. The Government recognises that growth in high value agricultural products has been constrained by factors like limited access to suitable land and financing, inadequate support services, lack of R&D support and weak links to the market. The 10th Malaysian Plan, stated that Malaysia will “intensify collaborative R&D with established agricultural research institutes to leapfrog innovation in the production processes, disease control and safety and quality control, including the development of new high-value added products.” CFF is an excellent example of how Malaysia can achieve these aspirations. 6. Who are your partners? CFF is an independent research centre but has access to facilities and expertise at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, UK and China, national agencies such as MARDI, leading universities in Malaysia, and operational links with other partners, especially in Africa and Asia. To date, there are 22 Memorandum of Understanding signed with various global and Malaysian partners 7. What is the objective / focus of CFF in the next 5-10 years and beyond? CFF research outcomes will produce opportunities for underutilised crops to help: Expand the range of crop species that sustain humanity Diversify the agricultural systems in which they are grown Enhance nutritional and income security through dietary diversification Respond to climate change with more climate-resilient crops and cropping systems Provide new agro-industrial products and processes from novel crops. CFF will increasingly attract funding for research activities from public, private and international sponsors so that it can become financially independent by the end of 2017. 8. What is the research output of CFF? CFF research activities provide focussed outcomes on a range of end-uses for underutilised crops. These outcomes will provide a growing `evidence-base’ to support other international agencies and communities involved with research, advocacy or cultivation of underutilised crops and uses of their products. 9. What are CFF’s research `themes’ and `programmes’? To generate critical mass and provide delivery mechanisms, CFF research is organised across a `Research Value Chain’ (RVC) spanning five research `themes’ from plant genomics to applied social sciences. In addition to its five themes, CFF has established its Field Research Centre as an additional theme to provide facilities and expertise to underpin research activities across the RVC. The CFF research themes are; Biotechnology and Crop Genetics Breeding and Agronomy Agrometeorology and Ecophysiology Nutrition and Bioproducts Social, Economic and Policy CFF research programmes provide critical mass for research on specific underutilised crops and their end-uses and provide a mechanism by which CFF research is focussed on `real world’ problems. Each programme covers the whole RVC i.e. includes activities that span all five themes. Each CFF research programme will also develop a generic `exemplar proposition’ that extends beyond research on particular underutilised crops and their products to address a wider agricultural challenge. The five CFF programmes and their exemplar propositions are; BamYIELD: A model international underutilised legume research and breeding programme CropBASE: Integrating qualitative and quantitative knowledge into decision support systems FishPLUS: Incorporating functional ingredients into aquaculture feed FoodPLUS: Traceability of nutrients through the human food chain SAGEPLUS: Diversification of agricultural landscapes using underutilised crops 10. How will CFF disseminate its research? An important element of CFF research is the opportunities it provides for academic staff, research assistants and postgraduate students to generate high-impact international publications and research theses, some of which may produce commercial outcomes. In addition, CFF will support CFF in the dissemination of research to end-user communities, other stakeholders and the general public. CFF will also establish `FutureCrop’ as an educational resource centre for underutilised crops and agricultural biodiversity. FutureCrop will help CFF to disseminate the impacts of its research to a wider audience including schools, community organisations and the interested public.