Christine Raines, Andreas Weber, Francesco Loreto, Alain Gojon, René Klein Lankhorst


Our climate is changing and the world population is growing to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. This will cause serious problems in global food supply, for environment sustainability and safeguarding Earth’s biodiversity. To overcome these challenges, agriculture will have to adapt and a key element in this will be the development of “future-proof” crops. These crops will not only have to be high-yielding and providing high-quality products, but should also be able to withstand future climate conditions, make efficient use of scarce resources such as water and minerals, and sustainably self-defend against abiotic and biotic stresses. Future crops should also support the circular bio-based economy and contribute to mitigating the biodiversity crisis and reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration.

The WG “Future proofed crops” will support the delivery of high yielding, resilient European crops fit for climatological, environmental, and societal constraints. Our major focus is on developing crops that have a more efficient photosynthesis, that can resist to abiotic stress to avoid nutrient and/or water limitation of CO2 fixation and that have an optimizing resource use efficiency. We acknowledge that future-proofed crops will have to be grown in a sustainable agricultural system that takes into account Earth’s capacities. Therefore, this WG will actively engage with other entities involved in, for instance, protection against future pests and diseases (EPSO Plant Health WG), plants and microbiome interaction (EPSO MiBi WG), nutritional security (EPSO WG NS), agricultural technologies (EPSO AgT WG), adaptation of agronomy and cultivation/production systems, agro-ecology, and development of future post-harvest processing and food production.

We also have a clear focus on future proofing crops for non-food purposes.  The main drivers behind this aspect are increasing the photosynthetic sink of CO2 for climate change mitigation, and supporting a global shift from a fossil based economy towards a biobased economy.

The WG will form a platform for European scientists to cooperate and exchange information about future proofing European crops. We have a clear focus on developing practical measures for crop improvement which will require a close cooperation with the breeding industry, farmers and other stakeholders in plant-based value chains. Industrial parties therefore are explicitly welcomed as observers of our working group.

Furthermore, this WG will advise the European Commission and other European bodies in matters pertaining to the design and implementation of future crops. Also, we will stimulate research cooperation at the European level and leverage funding for scientific research in the field of future proofing crops.

This WG evolved from the Horizon 2020 funded ‘CropBooster-P’ (1.11.2018 – 30.4.2022) Coordination and Support Action developing a roadmap for boosting global crop yield for food and nutritional security and to fuel the bioeconomy.


EPSO news developed by this WG:


Opinion paper: Designing the Crops for the Future; The CropBooster Program – mobilize the European plant research community and all interested actors in agri-food research and innovation to face the challenge

Our climate is changing and the world population is growing to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. This may cause serious problems in global food supply, protection of the environment and safeguarding Earth’s biodiversity. To face this challenge, agriculture will...

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Juan  Arellano, IRNASA-CSIC, ES

Etienne Bucher, Agroscope, CH

Camila Caldana, MPIMP, DE

Amanda Cavanagh, Univ Essex, UK

Alisdair Fernie, MPIMP, DE

Alain Gojon, INRAE, FR

Neil Graham, Univ Nottingham, UK

Jeremy Harbinson, WUR, NL

Liina Jakobson, ETKI, EE

René Klein Lankhorst, WUR, NL

Lorenz Kottmann, JKI, DE

Tracy Lawson, Univ Essex, UK

Franceso Loreto, CNR , IT

Rosa Morcuende, IRNASA-CSIC, ES

Sonia Negrao, UCD, IE

Guillermina Mendiondo, Univ Nottingham, UK

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO

Pablo Pulido, CNB-CSIC , ES

Christine Raines, Univ Essex, UK

Nelson Saibo, ITQB, PT

Andrea Schubert, UNITO, IT

Rüdiger Simon, Heinrich-Heine Univ, DE

Tracy Valentine, Hutton, UK

Frank Van Breusegem, VIB-UGent, BE

Andreas Weber, Heinrich-Heine Univ, DE

Samuel Zeeman, ETH, CH

Guido van den Ackerveken, Utrecht Univ, NL

Ralf Wilhelm, JKI, DE

Carlota Vaz Patto, ITQB, PT

Jian Xu, Univ Radboud, NL


Amrit Nanda, Plant ETP