Research on carotenoids is crucial to solve the global challenge of producing health-promoting sustainable foods.

The article, published in Progress in Lipid Research (, reviews the biosynthesis of carotenoids in plants and other organisms, highlights their importance in agro-food and health and outlines further research needs.

It is one of the outcomes of the COST Action EUROCAROTEN (, which brings together stakeholders from 38 countries.

 “Carotenoids are extraordinary compounds that  illustrate the magic and wisdom of Nature, which has learnt to harness this ancient compound group for the most diverse purposes, including making our diets healthier and more appealing”, says Prof. Antonio J. Meléndez Martínez, the COST Action Chair.

Read the full EUROCAROTEN announcement or click below to download, 13.5.2021

Contact: Antonio J. Meléndez Martínez, Universidad de Sevilla, [email protected] ;

The EPSO Briefing on the Horizon Europe Draft Work Programmes 2021-22 has been published on the Members’ only Website*.  It contains all information for plant scientists already available in one document, It provides you as well additional researched information and final call texts already available.

 *Access to the Members’ only Website is restricted to EPSO active Members (not sleeping members, not external Personal Members) – please contact Sofia to get access.

Some Work Programmes are published and fully covered in the briefing. For those only available as Draft, publication is foreseen end May and we provide first information on the programme. For pillar 2 this includes for instance the list of topics relevant to plant scientists in the ‘Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment’.

 Excellent Science

Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness – Thematic clusters


Innovative Europe

Widening Participation and Strengthening the European research Area

[Draft – 01.2021]

Further Work Programmes are available on the Funding & Tenders portal

 We aim to update the briefing upon publication of official WPs still missing now with the help from some Board members. We will notify you then – likely end May / early June.

Wishing you success with your proposals

Karin Metzlaff, Alexandra Barnoux, Alan Schulman and Ernst van den Ende

Contact: Karin Metzlaff

The 3rd European-wide seminar of the new series supported by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) and aimed at the Plant Science community and its stakeholders.

TTT: The seminar will be held online each third Thursday of the month at three (CET).

On 20th May 2021 at 15:00 (CET) we will present talks exploring ‘New Routes to Understanding Roots’:

 Prof Ari Pekka Mähönen, University of Helsinki, Finland

“An inducible genome editing system for plants and its use in understanding root development”

Prof Dorte Dresbøll, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

“Root uptake of resources from deep soil layers – can we measure it and does it matter?”

 Prof Lionel Dupuy, Ikerbasque, Bilbao, Spain

“Visualising rhizosphere development: New tools and first-generation models”

The seminars will be hosted on Zoom and last approximately 1.5 hours. Numbers will be limited to 300 attendees and therefore please register early if you would like to join. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions and join the debate. So please join us to support this new and exciting initiative for European Plant Science by following this link just prior to the start of the seminar.

EPSO members register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In the coming months we will be on the lookout for talented plant scientists among the EPSO membership to present their findings and perspectives to the EPSO seminar series. If we approach you to talk, we hope you will be happy to support the initiative. This is a fantastic opportunity for both eminent world leaders and talented up-and-coming early career researchers to present their research to an international audience and to network with potential collaborators. If you wish to suggest a theme for one of the autumn seminars and / or nominate yourself or one of your colleagues to give a seminar, we most welcome your suggestions. Please contact Tim George ([email protected]) to provide your name and potential talk title.

We look forward to seeing you all for the 3rd EPSO seminar on the 20th May 2021

 Tim George, Alan Schulman and Emily Breeze

EPSO Plant Science Seminar Series Organising Committee

 Click here to read: Full EPSO news item 3.5.2021


  • Tim George, Hutton / UK & EPSO Board
  • Alan Schulman, LUKE / FI & EPSO President
  • Emily Breeze, Warwick University / UK & EPSO Representative

The study cites the substantial link between innovation in plant science and the ambitious goals of the EU claimed in The Green Deal and its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, which is greatly supported by EPSO. The use of NGTs in plants can support the transition to a resilient, sustainable and secure agriculture for food and feed production, thereby also contributing to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. The study also underlines the necessity to update the European legislation on GMOs in order to address innovation and biosafety concerns appropriately without preventing scientific and societal progress. Moreover, the legislation must allow Europe to maintain its research and innovation environment among worldwide competition so that Europe can still produce its own food and contribute to food and nutritional security globally.

NGTs and NGT-products have a role to play in the European Farm-to-Fork strategy by ensuring sustainable food production and the shift to healthy, sustainable diets, for example through disease-resistant crops (reducing pesticide use) with better water and nutrient use efficiency (lowering water and fertiliser use) that yield allergen-free and nutritious food promoting human health in the light of climate change. They can also contribute to implementation of the European Biodiversity strategy by improving the performance and nutritional content of underutilised fruit, vegetable, legume, and cereal crops and thereby substantially increase the diversity of cultivated crops.

EPSO looks forward to engaging as a major stakeholder with the European Commission, as the EC indicated to communicate with Member States, European Parliament and stakeholders to achieve a well-balanced policy action on plants derived from targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis. EPSO will provide scientific input in the course of the consultations with the EC and other stakeholders.

EPSO First reaction and related EPSO publications, 30.4.2021

EC Study on new genomic techniques, 29.4.2021


  • Ralf Wilhelm, Frank Hartung & Jens Sundstrom, EPSO Chairs WG Agricultural Technologies
  • Alan Schulman, Ernst van den Ende & Karin Metzlaff (EPSO President, Board, Executive Director)

EPSO presents its offer to contribute to developing and implementing the Biodiversity Partnership, as well as its new Plant Science Seminar Series launched first quarter 2021. We showcase EPSO’s activities  in different working groups such as Nutritional Security, Plants and Microbiomes and Tree Biology and Biotechnology, 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 Belgium and Finland. Finally note that the Horizon Europe first Work Programme 2021-22 publication by the European Commission is now expected in May 2021.

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


  • EPSO offers to contribute to developing and implementing the Biodiversity Partnership

EPSO activities

  • New EPSO Plant Science Seminar Series Goes Live
  • EPSO upcoming Workshop ‘Addressing the Nutritional Security challenge is a strategic issue for Europe under COVID-19 pandemic’- 15-16.6.2021
  • EPSO Workshop ‘Implementing a Plants and Microbiomes Strategy in Europe’ – 13.-14.01.2021
  • Survey on the new EU forest strategy: the “Tree Biology and Biotechnology” Working Group speaks up on behalf of EPSO
  • Plant Biology 2021 Congress: last update
  • Virtual Fascination of Plants Day 2021 in May—Check out our events
  • ERA-Net SusCrop— a joint call of 4 ERA-Nets, outreach activities

Members’ news

  • Welcome to the Future Food Beacon, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Welcome to the University of Melbourne, Australia
  • CHIC—progress on chicory for dietary fiber and medicinal terpenes
  • TOMRES – water and nutrient use efficiency—final meeting in April
  • CropBooster-P- Towards the development of a roadmap for the European Commission
  • InnCoCells – Innovative high-value cosmetic products from plants and plant cells (2021-2025), a new EU H2020 project
  • The H2020 FORGENIUS Project takes wing
  • A new national project: Food without fields – Disruptive food production technologies contributing to reach the Finnish carbon neutrality goals (2021-2023)
  • RESPONSE – 4th Call for PhD candidates open
  • Fruitful research at Hutton, from micro to macro

National, European and global funding

  • National Research Funding Opportunities in Belgium
  • National Research Funding Opportunities in Finland
  • Horizon Europe – Work Programmes 2021-22 expected in May 2021

Career opportunities and (postponed) meetings

About EPSO

Contacts: Alexandra Barnoux & Karin Metzlaff, EPSO

This is the joint conference by EPSO and FESPB. EPSO members can register as full member. Poster abstracts have to be submitted until April 30 too.

Preliminary program, registration details and deadlines, and abstract submission information is available on the Congress website .

Please disseminate through your networks to make this a unique meeting for exchange of ideas for the future of plant sciences in Europe and a springboard for the junior scientists to build their networks.

 Science themes include for example: Plant performance under abiotic stress (incl. adaptation to climate change), Cell signaling in plants, Plant Metabolism and bioactive compounds (incl. crop improvement for healthy diet), Plants in extreme environments, Plant evolution and development, Trafficking and transport in plants, Chloroplast biology (incl. molecular and cellular organization of the photosynthetic systems), Carbon fixation and productivity, From plant defense to plant immunity, Plant epigenetics, The plant microbiome, Plant nutrition, Translating plant research from lab to field, Genomics and genome editing for crop design.

In addition, the two EPSO Young Plant Scientists Awardees, Ann-Katrin Beuel (on applied plant research) and Apolonio Huerta (on fundamental plant research) will present their work. EPSO is inviting you to the science and policy session ‘Plant Research – European Green Deal – Global Future’ discussing with you contributions of plant science to the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme. The European Commission and EPSO will hold the session on ‘The ERC – European funding for frontier research in plant’ and the GPC and EPSO invite you to their workshop on the Nagoya Protocol.

Looking forward to welcoming you there

Alan, Andrea and Karin

Alan Schulman (EPSO President), Andrea Schubert (Conference Organiser) and Karin Metzlaff (EPSO Executive Director)