The EPSO Working Group on Plants and Microbiomes has the pleasure to announce its third workshop to take place online on 13-14 January 2021, 09:00 – 12:00 and 09:00 – 13:15 respectively.

This third workshop has two aims. First, we will hear first highlights from (multi-)national plants and microbiomes research and innovation initiatives – to this end we will invite later on Expression of Interest from our Working Group members to present. Second, we will discuss in more detail two themes which need further elaboration by the Working Group: ‘Advancing from correlation to causation from lab to field to ecosystems’ and on ‘Research infrastructure’ – and provide advice to Horizon Europe and (multi-)national research strategies.

The meeting intends to increase collaborations between the working group members (via e.g. COST action, Coordination & Support Actions, initiate more collaborations both bi-and multi-lateral).

At the end of the meeting, a workshop report will be drafted on the current status, goals and next steps in plants and microbiomes research – particularly – and will be provided as science advice to policy to the European Commission.

We kindly ask you to register for your participation by e-mail to [email protected] before 18 December 2020.

We hope welcoming you in January!

Angela Sessitsch, Paul Schulze-Lefert, Corné Pieterse and Karin Metzlaff


Click here to read: The workshop Handout 08.12.2020

Contacts: Angela Sessitsch, Paul Schulze-Lefert, Corné Pieterse and Karin Metzlaff

The plant phenotyping initiatives IPPN and EMPHASIS have recently launched the Global Plant Phenotyping Survey 2021, which addresses participants from all geographic regions and in all professional disciplines in any way related to plant phenotyping. The survey is open until 9 February 2021.

For the past six years, IPPN and EMPHASIS IPPN and EMPHASIS have carried out their bi-annual Plant Phenotyping Surveys covering basic and advanced questions related to plant phenotyping for the purpose of assessing the status of global plant phenotyping and emerging fields, to identify potential gaps and understand the demands of the community. Participating in these surveys empowers everyone who contributes to add to the big picture of how plant phenotyping is applied and viewed.

Results will be made available online, and in the past, survey results have been extensively used for analyzing the global status of plant phenotyping (e.g. in this review by Yang

Source: Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Plant Sciences (IBG-2), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

This international conference will be held on 18 – 22 January 2021 in a virtual format. It is  hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) an will tackle key issues regarding the future of the global agri-food industry.

The programme is available at:

Participate to the Science Slam on 21 January 2021

A Science Slam will be held for the third time on the occasion of the 13th GFFA on 21 January 2021.

It will present four Science Slams of 10 minutes at most each connected with this year’s topic “How to Feed the World in Times of Pandemics and Climate Change?”. It should not only be characterised by scientific aspiration and originality but also by an entertaining and amusing delivery. Winners will be selected by the audience in the end in the form of an online vote.

Who can apply to the Science Slam? BMEL is looking for (junior) scientists and students from relevant research institutions and universities from the agri-food sector, who deal with this subject area and are interested in presenting a slam in English via live stream in front of a mixed audience.

For the GFFA Science Slam you can apply until 22 November 2020.

For more information:

Source: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

EPSO presents its work on the contributions of plant science to the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategies, EPSO’s activities in different working groups such as Agricultural Technologies, Plants and Microbiomes and Nutritional Security, and science support. Make best use of our series of national plant research structure and funding for your bilateral collaborations, in this issue we feature The Netherlands. Finally note that Horizon Europe first Work Programme 2021-22 is expected end Q1 2021 and that the European Green Deal Call under Horizon 2020 WP 2020 is open.

The shorter public version of the Newsletter is available here.
Please, log in and read the full version available in the Members’ Only section.

The table of content


Plant scientists are ready to contribute to implement the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategies

EPSO activities

  • The EPSO Regional General Meetings 2020: virtually and concretely successful
  • Agricultural Technology Working Group meets next 24.11.2020
  • Plants and Microbiomes Working Group gathers online for its 3rd workshop- 13-14.01.2021
  • Nutritional Security Working Group
  • Call for EPSO Internship Experts and PhD student trainees
  • Fascination of Plants Day postponed from May 2021 to May 2022
  • PBE 2021 will be hold online 28/06-01/07/2021
  • SusCrop mid-term symposium of research projects and activities planned for 2021
  • Translating the Green Deal into Practice – R&I opportunities for sustainable food systems developed by three Technology Platforms

Members’ news

  • Welcome to the University of Padova as new member
  • CRAG obtains again the Severo Ochoa award and opens new calls
  • TOMRES — increasing water and nutrient use efficiency in tomato
  • CHIC – Chicory as multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes
  • CropBooster-P— towards a draft Roadmap to future-proof European crops
  • RESPONSE – 3rd call for PhD candidates open
  • Plant Science pushes boundaries and crosses borders at the James Hutton Institute
  • Phenomics Webinars: an initiative by IPPN, EPPN2020 and EMPHASIS
  • ENDOSCAPE- non-viral gene delivery technology using secondary plant metabolite
  • PSC virtual Symposium 2020: Connectivity–Plant interactions reloaded – 02.12.2020

National, European and global funding:

  • National Research Funding Opportunities in The Netherlands
  • The European Green Deal Call under Horizon 2020 WP 2020
  • Horizon Europe – Work Programme 2021-22 expected end Q1 2021

Career opportunities and (postponed) meetings

 About EPSO

 Contacts: Alexandra Barnoux & Karin Metzlaff, EPSO

To hold the fascinating events about the world of plants, which hundreds of colleagues organise across the world, as physical interactive events, the Global and National Coordinators of the international Fascination of Plants Day (FoPD) decided to postpone the next FoPD from 2021 to 18th May 2022.

The Fascination of Plants Day, initiated and coordinated by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO), is brought to live by a team of National coordinators and hundreds of plant enthusiasts organising events. They invite everybody around the world to organise interactive events on the fascination, secrets, immense potential and manyfold uses of plants for your community, region, country around the 18th May 2022.

This ranges from basic to applied research, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, plant breeding, biodiversity, nourishment and nutrition, plant protection, environmental conservation, renewable resources, healthy and diverse food and high value products for medicine, cosmetics, food and much more.

Already 50 countries have confirmed their National FoPD Coordinators for 2022 and more are welcome to join in.

In 2019, the 5th FoPD generated over 860 interactive events in over 51 countries across the world with many thousand participants. Get inspired by The Fascination of Plants Day Success Stories 2019 for events you may organise.

Meanwhile, a group of FoPD National Coordinators will develop ideas to have some inspiring online events in 2021, the best option in times of remote working around the world, to share their enthusiasm and fascination of plants.

Looking forward preparing with you for most exciting events in 2022 and possibly see some interactive virtual events in 2021.

The FoPD Global and National Coordinators

Click here to read: Full EPSO news 16.10.2020


  • FoPD Global Coordinators: Karin Metzlaff & Alexandra Barnoux, EPSO; Trine Hvoslef-Eide, NMBU / NO; Przemysław Wojtaszek, AMU / PL
  • FoPD National Coordinators: click on the country of your choice.

The award honours a discovery made in basic research on bacteria, which has led to transformative applications in the plant and medical sciences. It is the first Nobel prize to be shared by two women.

In plant science, genome editing enables scientists and breeders to improve the whole range of plants, from fruit, fibre, and vegetable crops to legumes, cereals, and trees, on which people depend for food, health, and livelihoods. The method enables diversity enhancement and precise, targeted improvements leading to better nutritional quality, disease resistance, stress tolerance, and environmental sustainability for rapid advancement through breeding to farmers’ use. Even underutilised crops, on which critical-mass breeding efforts have not so far focused, due to their poor market share compared to the time and effort needed to improve them with classical methods, will benefit from the new genomic techniques. The resulting crops will contribute to environmental sustainability, very important in light of climate change, as well as to diverse diets and human health.

Plant scientists call upon policy makers to improve European legislation, so that the potential of genome editing to improve underutilised crops is unfettered from the substantial time and financial burden of the GM legislation to which it is currently tied. If genome-edited plants were only subject to the standard legislation any new plant variety has to follow, the diversity of cultivated crops as a whole, a main target of the European Biodiversity strategy for 2030, would be substantially increased.

Finally, the application of genome editing to neglected and medicinal species will help to explore and secure biodiversity, demonstrating its value by revealing the metabolic pathways of a large variety of bioactive secondary metabolites, which may for example have high potential in fighting against new diseases or against antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Click here to read: Full EPSO statement 07.10.2020, Nobel Prize PR, 07.10.2020


  • Alan Schulman, LUKE, FI & EPSO President
  • Angelo Santino, CNR, IT & EPSO Nutritional Security WG co-chair
  • Frank Hartung, JKI, DE & EPSO Agricultural Technologies WG co-chair
  • Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, VTT, FI & EPSO Molecular Farming WG co-chair
  • Karin Metzlaff, EPSO