National funders in the European Research Area Network on Sustainable Crop Production (SusCrop ERA-net) together with experts from science and stakeholders developed (supported by 2 workshops)  the white paper on ‘Future Research Needs in Sustainable Agriculture’. 

The four main research needs are:

  • Topic 1: Knowledge generation in relation to nutritional value and health benefits of protein / niche crops;
  • Topic 2: Knowledge generation and transfer on multi-stress resistance for stable yield;
  • Topic 3: Innovation pipeline: Protein / niche crops for food and feed value chains: How to build a value chain for uncultivated protein / niche crops;
  • Topic 4: Impact assessment and trade-offs.

The white paper is available both on the SusCrop website and to download here.

Please disseminate this widely for consideration at European as well as national levels.


Heather McKhann, INRAE & SusCrop ERA-Net (prepared synthesis as white paper)

Christian Breuer, PTJ & SusCrop ERA-Net co-ordinator

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO & official observer SusCrop ERA-Net

Weave is a bottom-up, cross-European initiative developed by European research funders organised in Science Europe to support excellent collaborative research projects across borders.

Weave currently comprises national and regional research funders from 11 European countries: AT, BE, CZ, DE, LUX, HR, NO, PL, SV, SE and CH.

As chair of the ISE (Initiative for Science in Europe) Horizon Europe Working Group, Karin Metzlaff is organising with national funders the ISE webinar on WEAVE on 22 September 2023 from 2-3:30 P.M. CET.

Please disseminate to interested colleagues at your university / institute, who are welcome to join the webinar.

To help us prepare the seminar, please confirm your participation by email to [email protected] and cc [email protected], best by 11 September 2023 and send your name, to which ISE member organisation you belong (for EPSO members: EPSO) and your email address.

We will send the link to those who confirmed participation on 14th September.

Looking forward to discussing with you in the webinar!

Monica Dietl, ISE Coordinator

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO Executive Director & ISE chair Horizon Europe WG

Click here to read:

WEAVE webinar announcement, 29.8.2023

WEAVE Briefing for Plant Scientists, 22.8.2023


Kari Metzlaff, EPSO, Executive Director & ISE chair Horizon Europe WG

Monica Dietl, ISE Coordinator


The EPSO Working Group on Plants and Microbiomes has the pleasure to announce that its fifth workshop will take place in Vienna on 11-12 December 2023.

The workshop has three main themes:

  1. WG progress and reports on major (national & EU) projects and initiatives
  2. Development of best practices and recommendations
    1. Topic 1 – Culture collections
    2. Topic 2 – Minimum experimental standards for microbiome analysis
    3. Topic 3 – Simplified systems to measure plant microbiome functions
  3. Joint discussion on recommendations for European programmes.


To develop the programme further, we kindly ask you to contribute by submitting a mini–abstract and indicate to which programme theme / topic this refers, to [email protected] until 15 October.

We look forward to meeting you in December,

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

Click here to read: The workshop Draft Programme 20.7.2023


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


Plants comprise the key component for direct or indirect human nutrition. Agriculture must be highly productive and sustainable in order to meet the increasing demand for food, feed, fuel and fibre to support a rapidly growing global human population, as well as reach higher quality providing health benefits.

As a result of the large areas devoted to agriculture and the high demand of resources, the technologies used in the production and protection of plants are most relevant for the global environment.

Pathogens and pests compete with humans for plant-based food. Plant protection to pests in agriculture, horticulture and forestry is the main area of focus for EPSO’s Plant Health Working Group (WG).

In this context, the Plant Health WG proposes to join efforts on three major challenges:

  • To develop novel and sustainable pest control methods
  • To detect pests that affect plant health and reduce crop yields
  • To develop and validate pest and crop management technologies and disseminate them to end users

The Plant Health WG aims to provide tools and raise societal awareness on how plant health protection could contribute to food and nutritional security, sustain farmers’ income, protect biodiversity and reduce impacts on the environment, ensuring high-quality products and boosting economic development. This requires a joint effort and engagement of academia with industry, farmers, citizens, non-governmental organisations and policy makers.

The next meeting of the Plant Health WG will build on this statement and will be announced by the WG Chairs.

Looking forward to further collaborating with you in the Plant Health WG,

Beat, Tina, Maria, Gian Paolo, Andreas and Karin

 Plant Health WG co-chairs: Beat Keller, Tina Romeis, Maria Pozo, Gian Paolo Accotto and Andreas Voloudakis.

EPSO Executive Director: Karin Metzlaff


Click here to read: Full ‘EPSO Plant Health statement’


EPSO Plant Health WG Chairs:

Beat Keller, Uni ZUR, CH

Tina Romeis, IPB, DE

Maria Pozo, CSIC, ES

Gian Paolo Accotto, CNR / IT

Andreas Voloudakis, AUA, GR

EPSO:    Karin Metzlaff, EPSO Executive Director

EPSO welcomes the proposal and sees the move towards a proportionate, more product-based regulatory environment, with evaluation on a case-by-case basis, as an important step into the future.

It will enable Category-1 NGTs (NGT1), which cannot be distinguished from conventional plants produced by random mutagenesis, to make a substantial contribution to the Farm-to-Fork and Biodiversity Strategies under the EU Green Deal.

These NGTs, regulated like other breeding methods under current standards, will provide additional tools for breeding environmentally sustainable, future-climate-ready, healthful, and more diverse crops and foods, contributing to Food and Nutritional Security, which will help fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Consumer surveys in various European countries have found increasingly positive attitudes towards NGT use to deliver e.g. improved nutritional qualities and environmental benefits.

 For issues which need further clarification and could be improved, see the first reaction and later on the full statement EPSO will develop in the coming weeks.


EPSO looks forward to engaging as a major stakeholder with Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission to achieve a well-balanced regulation. EPSO will continue providing scientific input in the course of the discussions with policy makers and other stakeholders.

Read the full “EPSO first reaction to the EC’s legal proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on plants obtained by certain NGTs and their food and feed”, 6.7.2023



Jens Sundström, SLU Uppsala, EPSO Chair WG Agricultural Technologies

Alan Schulman, LUKE / FI, EPSO Chair WG Agricultural Technologies

Odd Arne Rognli, NMBU / NO, EPSO President

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO, Executive Director


The EPSO Working Group on Nutritional Security finalised its statement on Nutritional Security and has the pleasure to announce its fourth workshop will take place online on 4th December 2023

Nutritional Security Statement:

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

  • Underutilised nutritious fruit, vegetable, and pulse crops: improve their economic performance and further increase their nutritional quality
  • Biofortification: increase micronutrients in staple crops, enrich compounds that enhance the bioavailability of micronutrients, or both
  • Supplements: add beneficial compounds during food processing – the most common strategy until now, but the mainly synthetic compounds need to be replaced by their natural counterparts in future
  • Novel Food: re-design food systems to include alternative, resource-saving terrestrial and aquatic food sources such as halophytes and macroalgae

For all four pathways attention has to be paid to reducing allergens and anti-nutrients.

 The fourth workshop:

UPDATE: The next meeting foreseen in Milan in September is postponed to 4th December and will be held online.

The food nutritional security goal foresees to ensure sufficient, safe, highly nutritious food, sustain local communities and foster correct lifestyles and healthy ageing for all. The current climate change and other stressors, such as world population growth, wars and local conflicts, new emerging zoonotic diseases, are impacting on our dietary choices. To reach the nutritional security goal, there is a need to redesign our food systems towards more sustainable, resilient ones which can be capable of providing enough food with a high nutritional quality for everyone.

In this context, the EPSO ‘Nutritional Security’ Working Group aims to discuss and contribute to defining new paths and solutions for innovative solutions in the food and nutrition area.

Registration and talk title submission should be made by email to Katia Petroni and Angelo Santino until 20th October 2023.

We look forward to meeting you in September!

Katia, Angelo, Monica, Chiara, Marina, Theresa and Karin

Katia Petroni, Angelo Santino, Monica Schreiner, Chiara Tonelli, Marina Korn, Theresa Fitzpatrick (Organising Committee) and Karin Metzlaff (EPSO Executive Director).

Click here to read:

The Statement on Nutritional Security, 31.05.2023

Updated announcement, 12.07.2023


Katia Petroni, University of Milan, IT & EPSO NS WG

Angelo Santino, CNR, IT & EPSO NS WG Chair