SCEPTREplus Year 3: First call for protocol proposals

SCEPTREplus Year 3: First Call for protocol proposals

Purpose/Primary Objective

The aim of the project is to deliver applied research on high priority disease, pest and weed problems in fresh produce and ornamental crops in order to support approval of products and devise and develop IPM programmes.


The SCEPTREplus project covers all horticulture crops, both edible and non-edible, across the 6 panels (Field Vegetables, Soft Fruit, Tree Fruit, Protected Edibles and Mushrooms, Hardy Nursery Stock and Protected Ornamentals, Bulbs and Outdoor Flowers).  All panel priority documents have crop protection as their highest priority and all levy payers are impacted to a certain degree.  Therefore this project should give benefit to all horticultural growers.

In SCEPTREplus we will carry out a number of trials based on priority areas identified by growers and also from the Gap analysis and risk registers. For year 3 (2019) a number of new priority areas have been identified following consultation with growers, grower associations, panels, manufacturers, the SCEPTREplus programme management team and AHDB. The primary objective is to trial new products and control strategies for efficacy and crop safety (where necessary) on a range of crops, pests, weeds and diseases along the same lines as the previous SCEPTRE project.  In addition, we also envisage incorporating other efficacy work within the project where existing actives are tested on different, non-label, crops.  Actives showing sufficient levels of efficacy will then be taken forward within the programme and, where necessary/relevant, separate residue trials will be undertaken to produce the data to support an EAMU.

Future control strategies should be based on IPM, wherever possible, with a key requirement that all potential chemical/microbial treatment options have a clear route to market.  This project also aims to fill some of the current gaps in sustainable crop production using IPM, such as the lack of biopesticides for weed and disease control and the need to adapt predator and parasitoid use from protected crops to outdoor crops.

Where new biopesticides emerge as effective treatments, information will be gathered on the application and management of these products to see whether they are compatible with existing or new conventional products.

Best practice approaches and improving pesticide application may be areas that are also included as well as looking at other innovative technologies for use in Crop Protection.  There is potential to use model crops depending on the situation and crop groupings, as well as looking at programmes and feeding into IPM approaches. As with SCEPTRE, the results should help to give growers improved crop protection measures including helping to provide information for EAMUs or on label approvals. 

All trials will be conducted following ORETO guidelines looking at new or novel active ingredients or products that are used elsewhere in Agriculture that may have potential benefits to Horticultural growers.  Residue trials will normally be conducted as an extension to the SCEPTREplus programme, but there may be occasions where this is included with the programme and these will need to be conducted following GLP guidelines. 

Knowledge Exchange and Knowledge Transfer is a key part of the project to disseminate results and improvements to the growers and wider industry.

Year 3 New Priorities

Following the successful first two years of SCEPTREplus we are planning the work to be conducted in Year 3. Part of the approach by the SCEPTREplus programme is to use the most suitable contractor to carry out work based on expertise, track-history, price and quality of proposal received.  However, this will not exclude proposals from new researchers/organisations since one of the aims of SCEPTREplus is to develop capacity in the crop protection research base to support future AHDB needs.

This first call for 2019 is specifically looking at White Mould (Ramularia vallisumbrosae) and Smoulder (Botryotinia narcissicola) in Narcissus due to the need for an early season start to the work.  Picking can be considered under ‘early’ (Jan – Feb), ‘mid’ (Feb – March) and ‘late’ (March – April).  Commercial practice usually includes an protectant application 2 weeks prior to the start of picking, a 2nd application at the end of picking, and a 3rd later in the season.

It is anticipated that trial work under SCEPTREplus will take place at a commercial site where a problem has been identified in a geographically relevant area (Lincolnshire and/or Cornwall) or under controlled conditions on a research site and work should commence as soon as practicably possible. The proposal should include work on a range of fungicides including triazoles, strobilurins etc. We would expect this work to be started in early 2019.

Contractors should liaise with relevant AHDB personnel to discuss potential treatment options. This is particularly important for this work as products should be suitable for use in crop which is hand-harvested.

Potential contractors should in particular show that they have considered trial design.

A further call will be announced in January for other new targets identified in the prioritisation process for 2019 and a number of work packages from 2017 and 2018 will also continue to confirm results and/or answer additional questions.

Organisations are invited to put forward a proposal on the area of work above to start in 2019.

Reviewing existing work conducted by AHDB and other organisations is required when submitting proposals.

We look forward to receiving proposals for the work detailed below by 15 January 2019 and decisions on which contractors are appointed to conduct the work will be made by 18 January 2019.


Protocols and reports are required as per the SCEPTREplus templates. 

All proposals submitted should have detail on the financial costs associated with the work. As Knowledge Exchange is a key element for SCEPTREplus detail of the Knowledge Exchange plan should also be included. Minimum requirements include a trial open day, ideally linked with relevant grower association meetings, presentation of results to growers and a blog for the SCEPTREplus web site whilst the trial is being conducted.

The trial plans should have enough detail to ensure that the strategies being considered are clear.

Guidelines on Knowledge Exchange in SCEPTREplus are available on request.

Project duration

It is envisaged that a decision on the successful project will be communicated by 18 January 2019 and work should progress to fit with commercial production timings.  Reporting of individual trial results is expected before the end of Year 3 and in conjunction with the SCEPTREplus programme management team.


Value for money to levy payers is a selection criteria and therefore we expect contractors to cost work with this in mind as well as considering technical content.  Single contractor and joint proposals are acceptable. If deemed productive, applicants may be requested to form a consortium and work together. 

Application Procedure

Applicants should complete an AHDB Research and KE Application Form – Full Proposal Small, 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 no later than 12:00 on the 15 January 2019.

Proposed timings for application and project delivery

Stage of Process


Call published

18 December 2018

Full Proposal submission deadline

12:00 on 15 January 2019

There is no Concept or Expressions of Interest phase.

Make an electronic submission in line with the instructions below.

Receipt will be the time of receiving email.

Applications reviewed

Submissions will be evaluated internally by AHDB and with Industry Representatives By 18 January 2019 due to the nature of the disease and application window

Applicants informed of outcome

By 18 January 2019

Project commencement

By 20 January 2019

Project completion

By 30 November 2019 (or later depending on start date)


If you have a specific question related to this call please email As part of the open tender process AHDB cannot discuss specific project details prior to submission of a proposal. All Questions and Answers are published.

Assessment criteria

A revised assessment criteria will be used.