P1812278: GB Late Blight Populations: receipt and evaluation of field-collected samples and provision of an outbreak reporting service and fungicide sensitivity testing

P1812278: GB Late Blight Populations: receipt and evaluation of field-collected samples and provision of an outbreak reporting service and fungicide sensitivity testing

Purpose/Primary Objective

The AHDB wish to commission research and knowledge exchange that will provide information on the incidence, isolate identity and seasonal changes to fungicide sensitivity in order to aid grower management decisions.


The Potato Council’s 'Fight against Blight' (FAB) service has been reporting late blight alerts for the past 11 years. This information is collected on a voluntary basis by Blight Scouts drawn from members of the industry who are routinely walking potato fields during the season. The Scouts provide samples of plant material that they suspect is infected with the late blight pathogen (Phytophthora infestans).  Once the presence of P. infestans has been confirmed the information is currently provided via the map of blight incidents.

The pathogen is isolated, characterized and genetically typed. The details of the outbreak sampling and the isolate characterization and genotyping are provided in the report.

The current programme of work utilizing samples submitted by Blight Scouts will end in March 2019 and AHDB Potatoes wishes to commission a new three-year programme of work. It is anticipated that the network of Blight Scouts will continue to be the route for the provision of field-collected samples, however factors such as the number of samples per field, geographical spread of samples, how the samples are collected and submitted and the subsequent processing, characterization and reporting of results are aspects where applicants are encouraged to provide their own recommendations on how the work should be implemented.  It is felt that sampling around AHDB SPot farm locations could prove to be a useful addition to this project. 

Following valuable recent work on monitoring fungicide activity in collected isolates, it is desired that further work of this nature is incorporated into this FAB project


This is an open call to all interested eligible entities to submit a full proposal to AHDB Potatoes for the provision and reporting of information on GB P. infestans populations and fungicide sensitivity.

Applicants must provide details of:

  • the number and type of field-collected samples to be processed (min. 600, subject to numbers being submitted by blight scouts); 
  • the methods to be used for the characterization and/or genotyping of infestans populations/isolates and timing of in-season reporting (min 400 isolates but with flexibility dependent of annual disease incidence). The ability of contractors to provide short turnaround times for this work is a considerable advantage and will be taken into account during proposal assessments. Additional identification of mating-type data is not required; 
  • The time period required by them to provide results back to blight scouts. It will be the responsibility of the successful applicants to contact the blight scouts regarding their samples; 
  • the approaches to be used to report the information on late blight outbreaks to blight scouts. The confirmation that late blight is present will also be reported via the existing AHDB Fight Against Blight website and applicants are requested to contact AHDB (research@ahdb.or.uk) for any further information on the logistics of this prior to submission of their application; 
  • the opportunities for national and international collaboration on work on late blight populations; 
  • the method to be used for fungicide sensitivity testing, including determination of active ingredients to be tested, timing and frequency of testing and reporting plan. 

The successful applicant(s) will produce an annual report summarizing the methodology, results and the conclusions. The report will also include a layman’s summary describing the practical implications of the outcomes of the work.

Collaboration and co-sponsorship

AHDB may, if it is deemed desirable, request applicants to form a project consortium.

For certain work packages, priority will be given to the applicants with cash and/or in-kind funding from alternative funding bodies, or commercial partners.  Proposals which include links with, and co-funding or sponsorship from, agrochemical companies regarding the fungicide sensitivity testing component of this work will be of particular interest.

Budget and duration

The indicative total budget for the programme of work will be £85,000 per annum for three years. Applicants must specify the cost of the fungicide sensitivity work separately from the other activities.

Application Procedure

Applicants should complete an AHDB Research and KE Application Form – Full Proposal Large, referring to the guidance notes to aid completion. 

Applications are made on the basis of the AHDB Research Funding Agreement and any organisation receiving funding shall comply with the terms and conditions specified in the RFA. AHDB will not be held responsible for any expenses or losses incurred by applicants in the preparation of an application(s).

Completed application forms should be submitted to research@ahdb.org.uk no later than midday on the 28 January 2019.

Proposed timings for application and project delivery

Stage of Process


Call published

5 December 2018

Full proposal submission deadline

28 January 2019

Applicants informed of outcome

18 February 2019

Project commencement

1 April 2019

Project completion

Three years (ending 31 March 2022)


If you have a specific question related to this call please email research@ahdb.org.uk. As part of the open tender process AHDB cannot discuss specific project details prior to submission of a proposal. All Questions and Answers can be accessed here.

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria detailed below will be used.

Full Proposal Assessment Form (for Contracts £50,000 and over) 

Project Title:




Beneficiaries appropriately identified. Approach to deliver industry KE and links to existing AHDB KE activities. Appropriateness and clarity of industry engagement. Timeframe qualified to deliver impact. Clarification over additional activities/resource required to deliver impact. Environmental benefits appropriately identified and any negative impacts detailed. Key Performance Indicators identified. Clear IP exploitation plan where relevant. 0-10 score; weighting of 3



Score:        x3 =


Evaluation of current knowledge (appropriate references used) and awareness of other work. Clarity of aims, objectives, work packages and milestone schedule. Originality & innovation. Effective collaboration with commercial agrochemical companies, and/or international research groups. Is the approach statistically robust? Feasibility and risk management. 0-10 score; weighting of 3



Score:        x3 =


Knowledge and expertise. Quality of past contributions to, and impact on, the topic. Potential to bring added value through current and/or past contributions. Complementarities of expertise of the team. 0-10 score; weighting of 1



Score:        x1 =


Are costs reasonable and necessary? Will the total budget be adequate to carry out the proposed activities? For a cross-Sector proposal, is the shared budget appropriate & clearly defined? Added value of co-funding? 0-10 score; weighting of 3



Score:        x3 =

Total Score            out of 100   (Threshold = 50)

Recommend for Funding           Yes / No

Weightings are set to reflect the importance of specific criteria, any proposal failing to achieve a specified threshold may be rejected. They have been set to ensure appropriate standards are met.

AHDB R&KE Scoring Guidelines



Exceptional quality; cutting-edge; highly likely to produce benefits/impact of great importance to the industry; highly innovative; impactful KE activities proposed; applicant is widely recognized in the field with an outstanding record of accomplishment; consortium is strong across all technical areas needed to accomplish the proposed outcomes. Strongly recommend support


Very good          


High quality; potential to make an important contribution; innovative; likely to produce significant benefits/ impact for the industry; impactful KE activities proposed; applicant has a good reputation in the field; consortium appears to have more than adequate expertise across all technical areas required to deliver the proposed outcomes. Strongly recommend support



Interesting; innovative; likely to produce good benefits/impact; good grasp of appropriate KE activities; applicant has a solid reputation in the field; consortium appears to have adequate expertise across all technical areas required to deliver the proposed outcomes. Should be supported



Interesting but little originality; likelihood of making significant impact is small; may require significant additional investment to deliver benefits; applicant/team lacks experience, has not established leadership in the field or demonstrated the potential to make impactful contributions. Support may be considered if strong in other areas



Poor quality; not well planned; lacking expertise; not feasible; unlikely to make an important contribution to fundamental or applied knowledge; unlikely to produce benefits/impact; lacking convincing evidence that the proposing team has sufficient and appropriate expertise to accomplish all of the tasks as outlined in the proposal. Should not be supported

0 Very poor       

Very poor quality; duplicative of other work; fails to address the issues; no evidence for demand; cannot be judged against the criterion due to missing or incomplete information. Should not be supported