Executive Director

Science, science strategy and science policy (EPSO, GPC, ISE, Plant ETP), members, observers, association relations

Karin has been the Executive Director of EPSO since its creation in 2001. She works with the EPSO members and partners to promote plant research in the European science and science policy arena by overseeing the EPSO Working Groups, providing advice and recommendations to policy makers at European, multinational and national level. Karin is member of the Board of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) and represents EPSO in in the Global Plant Council (GPC). She is also a member of the Board of the European Technology Platform ‘Plants for the Future’ and  one of the global coordinators of the Fascination of Plants Day. Karin has a M.Sc. in Biochemistry and a PhD in Plant Genetics.


Executive Assistant

Personal membership, office, accounts, website management, meetings

Sofia is responsible for the day-to-day management of the EPSO office, website management, personal membership and any administration and general queries. Sofia administers the EPSO and EU project accounts. In addition, she supports Karin with the organisation of our events such as workshops .

John Fitzgibbon

Publications Officer

Website & social media management, EPSO briefings and newsletter, Fascination of Plants Day coordination

Main responsibilities include the management of the EPSO website and social media activities, drafting briefings and writing and editing articles for the EPSO newsletter . John supports communication in EU projects EPSO is partner of.  He is one of the Global Coordinators of the “Fascination of Plants Day”.



EPSO is continuously looking for PhD students in biological, agricultural or food sciences for a remote or on-site (scholarship/grant holders) traineeship of 3 to 6 months. This Traineeship offer is for PhD students in biological, agricultural or food sciences.

See the EPSO Traineeship Call


Policy Intern

Expert from an EPSO Institutional Member

Each EPSO Institutional Member can offer an Internship Expert to EPSO for a stay of at least 6 months. See the EPSO call for internship experts from institutional members and the ‘Internship Agreement’.

See the EPSO Internship call including our former Internship Experts on Internship Expert Alumni Page.



LUKE, Finland

EPSO President

My goal is to help EPSO achieve public and governmental recognition that from basic science in crop and model plants transformative innovations emerge and that plants are the basis for human health and social stability. The wellbeing of Europe and the world depends not only on a few strategic crops but also on many regionally important diverse species that have received insufficient attention or funding, but contribute nutritionally to our diverse diets. In the face of a shifting climate and decreasing inputs, the EU needs both a bottom-up plant research agenda and science-driven crop improvement.


CNR – ISPA-Lecce, IT

Vice President

I strongly believe that nutritional security will be a challenge topic to reduce the impact of important human pathologies in Europe and improve people’s perception regarding the application of new breeding technologies in agriculture. Plant scientists are working strongly to improve the quality and nutritional value of main crops. I’ll work with EPSO to bridge the existing gaps among plant scientists, clinicians, politicians, consumers, industries and achieve this strategic goal.

Isabelle Litrico

INRAE, France

Plant Sciences in combination with other related disciplines, like agronomy or ecology, should more contribute to define actions for the EU transitions, particularly the agroecosystem transition (productivity with reducing pesticides, carbon sequestration, diversification…) while coping climate change.

The transitions need to consider the input of new biotechnology including their potential contribution in agroecology. I would like to be involved in some actions of EPSO allowing a developing of this interdisciplinary, and a major contribution of Plant Sciences and Biotechnology in great challenges of agriculture, environment and food.




Wageningen Plant Research,

EPSO Treasurer

I believe that there is a strong need within Europe to stress the importance of fundamental and applied plant sciences in relation to the great challenges the world is facing. My aim is helping to bridge the gap between the needs of society, government and industry and innovations from plant science. I would like to further strengthen collaboration within the plant science community to increase our visibility and influence in Europe.


CSIC, Spain

I strongly believe that plant science will become a strategic technological sector in the near future and will therefore make key contributions not only to food security or safety but to other areas such as water quality, and environmental sustainability. As a promoter of public-private-platforms, my aim is to encourage and strengthen the interaction between public and private sectors in Europe, while maintaining the excellence of basic science as the keystone for knowledge generation.


Forschungszentrum Jülich,

EPSO needs to be a key driver for plant sciences in Europe. We all, in the board and beyond, should work together to improve the basis for plant sciences in Europe and beyond. This requires emphasising the enormous importance of plants sciences (based on facts, not fiction), adequate funding and collaboration options within the science community, with industry and society, state-of-the-art infrastructures as well as technology-open perspectives to implement plant sciences and, last but not least, communication with politics, industry and society. We need to mobilise effective channels to communicate at the European and the national level.


Adam Mickiewicz University,



University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria (BOKU)

The motivation to serve EPSO is my passionate belief that plant sciences are highly important for a sustainable future and thus need a powerful independent advocate in Europe to increase visibility. As professor at the only University in Austria teaching Agricultural Sciences and Forestry among Food and Biotechnology, Environmental and Bioresources Management, Civil Engineering and Landscape Planning, I am trained to communicate and teach together with experts of these different fields which I consider as beneficial for several goals of EPSO. I feel that a fully environmentally friendly future depends on us plant scientist. My focus lies on education and the support and promotion of innovative ideas on how this goal can be reached.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences,

I strongly believe that plant science will play a major role in solving the grand challenges defined by the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. We need to develop more sustainable food and feed systems. I am very much concerned with understanding genetic diversity and the use of genomics, phenomics and biotechnology to utilize this diversity for breeding resilient, climate adapted and resource efficient cultivars. Translation of knowledge from model species to crop plants, implementation of new breeding technologies and international collaboration are essential elements for innovations in the plant sector. I have a keen interest in feed crops and sustainable grassland systems, and a better integration between livestock and crop production is needed to improve overall agricultural sustainability in Europe. Finally, I think EPSO need to focus on students also, plant science study programmes need to integrate technology and data science to attract the best students.

The James Hutton Institute, Dundee
United Kingdom

 As an EPSO Board member I have a number of goals. I aim to raise the profile of plant soil interactions as a way for Plant Sciences to achieve progress against Global Sustainability Goals and champion below ground process in Plant Physiology and Genetics. I will be an advocate for the use of heritage genotypes and underutilised crops as sources of genes and traits and alternatives for sustainability and climate resilience, while also championing the use of real crop genotypes in real world situations to answer questions of pressing need. Finally I believe it is important to promote stakeholder engagement so that the value of Plant Sciences is known along the whole length of the value chain in agricultural crops.

All Board Members

2018-2020 – Alan Schulman (2019 – President)

2018-2020 – Angelo Santino

2018-2020 – Josef Gloessl

2018-2020 – Przemyslaw Wojtaszek

2018-2020 – Antonio Leyva

2017-2019 – Ernst van den Ende

2015-2020 – Cathie Martin (2015 – Vice-President)

2015-2017 – Robbie Waugh

2014-2019 – Svend Christensen

2013-2020 – Carole Caranta

2013-2018 – Tomas Vanek

2013-2018 – Aldo Ceriotti (2017-2018 – President)

2013-2013 – Maurice Moloney

2012-2017 – Jose Pio Beltran (2014-2016 – President)

2012-2014 – Eckhard George (2013-2014 – Vice-President)

2011-2016 – Ton Bisseling

2011-2016 – Bruce Osborne

2011-2013 – Heribert Hirt (2011-2013 – President)

2009-2014 – Christophe Plomion

2009-2014 – Eva-Mari Aro

2009-2011 – Raoul Bino

2007-2012 – Jonathan Jones (2012 – Vice-President)

2007-2012 – Chiara Tonelli

2007-2012 – Jacek Hennig

2007-2008 – Dirk Inze (2007-2008 – Vice-President)

2006-2011 / 2018-2020 – Ulrich Schurr (2009-2011 / 2018-2020 – Vice-President)

2006-2011 – Pere Puigdomenech

2005-2010 – Wilhelm Gruissem (2007-2010 – President)

2005-2010 – Erkki Truve

2003-2008 – Helene Lucas

2003-2008 – Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey

2003-2005, 2014-2017 – Mark Stitt

2003-2005 – Paolo Costantino

2001-2006 – Denes Dudits

2001-2006 – Pierre de Witt

2001-2002 – Chris Bowler

2001-2002 – Lothar Willmitzer

2001-2006 – Mike Bevan (2001-2006 – Vice-Chair)

2000-2006 – Marc Zabeau (2000-2006 – Chair)