A TEAM led by a York scientist has been named in the finals of an innovation competition after developing plants which can be used to clean up land polluted with explosives.

Professor Neil Bruce, of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) at the University of York’s department of biology, and his team are on the shortlist for an award in the BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2014 contest.

The awards are run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to reward research, with the York-based team – including researchers from the University of Washington and the US Army – in the running for social innovator of the year. They studied the ways plants deal with toxic chemicals and engineered new plants which can remove toxic explosive pollutants from contaminated soil and water. The winners of each category will receive £15,000 and the overall winner will get an extra £15,000, with the results being announced on March 20.

Professor Bruce said: “I am thrilled to have been selected as a finalist – our work represents a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing alternative to clean up explosives on contaminated land.”