Aberystwyth University is beginning an £8.8m programme looking at crop sustainability.
The programme will seek to develop crops able to stand weather extremes such as drought and flooding.
It is hoped the impact on food, agriculture, energy, materials and health will help economic growth.
It is part of a £319m Biotechnology and Biological Research Council investment in biosciences aiming to ensure research remains globally competitive.
Professor Mike Gooding, director of the university's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), said: "This new investment is significant in enabling IBERS plant breeding scientists to continue as world leaders with nearly 100 years of experience in the development and use of crops in a changing world."