TOMRES is a Horizon 2020 project offering “A novel and integrated approach to increase multiple and combined stress tolerance in plants using tomato as a model”.

It aims to reduce N and P application by at least 20%, water input by 40%, while granting environmental sustainability and economic viability of the solutions proposed through novel genotypes X management strategies.

This relies on selecting rootstocks and scions tolerating both water and nutrient stress; as well as novel traits,  in particular belowground, for a breeding exploitation. Furthermore, studying the role of selected hormones, such as strigolactones and brassinosteroids, could allow to identify further resilience traits. Laboratory research is complemented by analysis of environmental  and of socio-economic impact to build a decision support system.

TOMRES has published two videos to explain to the general public its project as it is close to an end, especially focusing on the role of tomatoes in creating a sustainable crop for global production:

More scientific details are available on TOMRES website

Please disseminate these videos through your networks to scientists, companies, farmers and the general public.

ERC Advanced Grant support established, leading principal investigator who can demonstrate a ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.

The call is open to any field and nationality. It offers up to a maximum of EUR 2 500 000 for a period of 5 years.

Up to an additional EUR 1 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover (a) eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or (c) access to large facilities and/or (d) other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs. (As any additional funding is to cover major one-off costs it is not subject to pro-rata temporis reduction for projects of shorter duration. All funding requested is assessed during evaluation).

Deadline for application: 26 August 2020

Source : EC , 14.05.2020

Plant research and innovation can contribute through three main paths to achieve Nutritional Security (NS):

  1. Underutilised nutritious fruit and vegetable crops: improve their economic performance and further increase their nutritional quality – emerging over the past years and providing co-benefits in terms of NS and sustainable environment – the focus of this statement.
  2. Biofortification: increasing micronutrients in staple crops and / or enriching compounds enhancing the bioavailability of micronutrients – a strategy developed over the past decade which needs to be continued for consumers depending on or preferring staple crop products.
  3. Supplements: adding beneficial compounds during food processing for the end product – the most common strategy until now, but the mainly chemically synthesised compounds need to be replaced by their natural counterparts in future, e.g.  from niche crops or agri-food side-products.

Plant based foods are receiving a remarkable attention during the last decades in the research field of nutrition, due to the biological activities recognized for many classes of phytochemicals and the relevance that food security topics are obtaining in European countries. The availability and accessibility to nutritionally rich food sources are hallmarks for human health and wellbeing, that is why many efforts are being directed towards old and new generations of plant crops. At multiple levels, EPSO and scientists involved in the Nutritional Security (NS) working group are discussing the best strategies to increase the content in beneficial biocompounds in the daily diet of European consumers.

  1.  First level: Re-discovering underused species and landraces of fruits, vegetables and staple crops
  2. Second level: Use of new metabolic engineering / new breeding technologies to re-design high quality crops.
  3. Third level: Promoting co-developing improved crops and agricultural management practices and post-harvest processes for these to keep or even enhance nutritional quality in the fresh and transformed products.
  4. Fourth level: Linking the concept of diverse diets enriched in different classes of nutritionally active biocompounds with the prevention of human diseases.
  5. Fifth level: Linking the concept of diverse diets to human health AND environmental benefits.

This underpins the recommendation by plant scientists to develop ‘diverse crops with diverse cropping systems for diverse diets and human health and resilient production’ as a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectorial approach to achieve Nutritional Security and Environmental Sustainability as co-benefits.

The draft statement will be further discussed at the next EPSO NS Workshop early 2021 and then finalised. Contact the authors by end June to express your interest to participate in this workshop.

Click here to read the full EPSO draft statement

Contacts:

  • Angelo Santino, CNR, IT & EPSO NS WG chair
  • Monika Schreiner, IGZ Grossbeeren, DE & EPSO NS WG chair
  • Chiara Tonelli, University of Milano & EPSO NS WG chair
  • Karin Metzlaff, EPSO, BE

The University of Cologne Competence Area “Food Security” and the Institute of Geography invite you to the “2nd Cologne Conference on Food for Future” to be held between 13-14 September 2021 in Cologne, Germany (initially scheduled for 14 – 15 September 2020)

The general objective of the conference is to bring together scientists with different expertise to discuss cross-disciplinary aspects of the future of food production, development of new products & processes, land use change in urban and peri-urban agriculture and the impact of development on everyday rural livelihood to ensure global food and nutrition security.

This year’s conference focuses on:

  • Functional Food
  • Plant-Environment Interactions
  • Urbanization and Development
  • Food and Rural Livelihoods

We call for oral presentations and posters. Young investigators from developing countries have the opportunity to apply for travel grants.

Please find more information on www.food-for-future.eu

The ISDC has a mandate for:

  • Foresight work to inform CGIAR’s longer term research strategy;
  • Horizon scanning to provide analysis on how emerging trends and developments can be taken into account in CGIAR’s work;
  • Priority setting exercises and analyses integrating both ex-post and ex-ante analyses;
  • Guidance for periodic proposal assessment processes; and
  • Other functions, on the strategic direction of CGIAR and the value of its research agenda.

Successful candidates will be appointed to serve for three years to help the ISDC contribute to the strategic and portfolio planning and positioning of CGIAR. Specific disciplines and skills needed: water and soil management; non-economic social sciences; key development process experience and stakeholder engagement; and value chains and the private sector.

Applications and nominations must be submitted by not later than 6pm, local Montpellier, France time on Monday 1 June 2020 via email to [email protected]

Source : CGIAR, 07.05.2020

The CHIC project aims to develop sets of new chicory varieties to produce, on one hand, more and healthier inulin food fiber and, on the other hand, identify and produce medicinal terpenes in sufficient amounts. These varieties are developed via genome editing. Safety, socio-economic and environmental impact as well as stakeholders’ needs and concerns when implementing such new varieties are also investigated in this project.

The CHIC project is looking as well into the regulation and legislation of new plant breeding techniques comparing approaches across the world which could inspire solutions for Europe. Right now, it is dealing with two possible futures. Indeed products of CHIC projects could be regulated as gene edited only or GMO products.

EPSO is partner in the CHIC project focusing on stakeholder engagement and supporting communication.

Read more about CHIC progress in its third newsletter organised around the following focuses :

  1. Development of four conceptually different New Plant Breeding techniques (NPBTs)
  2. Implementation of NPBTs for dietary inulin
  3. Implementation of NPBT in chicory for bioactive terpenes
  4. Technical and risk and regulatory assessments of NPBTs
  5. Socio-economic and environmental impacts on the whole vale chain
  6. Stakeholder engagement
  7. Communication and dissemination
  8. Commercial exploitation of chicory as a multipurpose crop

CHIC is a research and innovation project supported through the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme with a budget of €7.3 million

Contacts: Macarena Sanz, ID Consortium, ES – Dirk Bosch, Wageningen University, NL (Coordinator)