BSPP Plant Pandemic Study Awards
The History of Plant Disease Epidemics
Our ability to manage widespread outbreaks of major diseases is limited not only by scientific knowledge but by the effectiveness of measures to combat previous outbreaks. Policies and strategies matter as much as host-pathogen interactions and epidemiology.
In 2020 the society made four awards to review plant disease pandemics – final reports written in 2020 can be viewed here. This year we will make four further awards, each of £2000, with a deadline of 24 September 2021 for submission of proposals. You have to have been a member of the society for at least two years to apply and already have a PhD or Masters degree. We particularly encourage early career researchers to apply. A proposal can include up to two people, one of whom will be the designated lead.
Applications will be judged on an outline of the proposed study and evidence of your ability to undertake an independent investigation. Examples of writing about scientific matters for general audiences will be taken into consideration. The awards will mainly cover your time but also any minor costs in obtaining information.
While it is important to include scientific information that describes the specific context of a disease, the main emphasis should be on understanding the broader social, economic and political impacts of the disease. This is not a scientific review but a report aimed at a wider readership, including those who are not plant pathologists. We strongly recommend reading the plant pandemic reports on the BSPP website so that you can gauge what is expected.
The reports should highlight personal contributions and insights on attempts to manage plant pandemics gained from those who took part. These could be gleaned from existing publications or from interviews with key informants, including scientists and plant health professionals. We can suggest contacts if necessary. You are encouraged to report speculative findings and discuss differences in opinions and disputes that may have arisen in managing pandemics. You should consider whether the eventual spread and impact matched original predictions and why final outcomes may have differed.
Your report should tell an engaging story that is accessible to a wide audience and contain figures, maps and photos that complement the text. Clearly indicate sources of information and avoid over-citation. The maximum length is 14,000 words. Look at the major headings used in the 2020 reports for guidance on report structure. The final report will be available as a download on the BSPP website.
Select one of the following for your application. Prior knowledge of a disease is not essential and we encourage applicants to choose diseases that are not in the current headlines. Please provide a second disease choice in the event of multiple proposals to write about the same disease.
- Maize lethal necrosis (Americas, Africa)
- Banana bacterial wilt (Africa)
- Coffee wilt (East Africa)
- TR4 Fusarium wilt of bananas (global)
- Potato cyst nematode (global)
- Cassava brown streak (East Africa)
- Pine pitch canker (S Africa and Europe)
- Wheat blast (Asia)
- Soybean rust (Americas)
- Frosty pod disease of cacao (L America)
- Zebra chip disease of potato (global)
Please complete the form below by 24 September. Awards will be announced by the 4 October. First drafts of the report are due by the 30 November. These will be reviewed and comments returned by the 10 December. Final reports are due by 10 January 2022.