Photosynthesis, Abiotic Stress, Input Use Efficiency as drivers of yield and environmental sustainability in changing environments


Christine Raines, Univ Essex, UK, Andreas Weber, Univ Dusseldorf, DE,  Francesco Loreto, CNR, IT,  Philippe Nacry, INRAE, FR,  David Kramer, WUR, NL


Our climate is changing and it is anticipated that the world population will grow to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. This will cause serious problems for global food supply, environmental 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-proofed” 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 “Photosynthesis, abiotic stress and input use efficiency” 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 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 bio-based economy.

The WG will serve as 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 close cooperation with the breeding industry, farmers and other stakeholders in plant-based value chains. Industrial parties are therefore 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. We will also 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.

This WG was first named ‘Future Proofed Crops’. To distinguish it from the broader effort towards Future Proofed Crops across several EPSO WGs, in 2024 it has been renamed as Photosynthesis, Abiotic Stress, Input Use Efficiency (PAI) as drivers of yield and environmental sustainability in changing environments.


The first meeting took place online on 13th July 2023. A second meeting is planned in 2024. Please contact the chairs via epso(at) if you are interested in attending future meetings.

EPSO news developed by this WG:


Relevant news from other sources:

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Alessandro Alboresi, Univ. Padova, IT

Juan  Arellano, IRNASA-CSIC, ES

Alexandra Baekelandt, VIB-UGent, BE

Etienne Bucher, Agroscope, CH

Francesca Cardinale, Univ Torino, IT

Camila Caldana, MPIMP, DE

Anders Carlsson, SLU, SE

Siri Caspersen, SLU, SE

Amanda Cavanagh, Univ. Essex, UK

Gabriella Consonni, Univ. Milano, IT

Evelyne Costes, INRAE, FR

Manuela Dahinden, ETH Zurich, CH

Pingtao Ding, Univ. Leiden, NL

Åshild Ergon, NMBU, NO

Alisdair Fernie, MPIMP, DE

Alain Gojon, INRAE, FR

Thorsten Hamann, NTNU, NO

Rob Hancock, Hutton, UK

Mats Hansson, Univ. Lund, SE

Jeremy Harbinson, WUR, NL

Liina Jakobson, METK, EE

Hamid Khazaei, LUKE, FI

Alexander Laarman, WUR, NL

Edith Khaembah, PFR, NZ

René Klein Lankhorst, WUR, NL

Lorenz Kottmann, JKI, DE

David Kramer, WUR, NL

Tracy Lawson, Univ. Essex, UK

Francesco Loreto, CNR , IT

Fatemeh Maghuly, BOKU, AT

Celine Masclaux-Daubresse, INRAE, FR

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO

Rosa Morcuende, IRNASA-CSIC, ES

Tomas Morosinotto, Univ. Padova, IT

Joelle Muhlemann, KU Leuven, BE

Philippe Nacry, INRAE, FR

Sonia Negrao, UCD, IE

Eduardo Oliveira, PFR, NZ

Pablo Pulido, CNB-CSIC , ES

Christine Raines, Univ. Essex, UK

Odd-Arne Rognli, NMBU, NO

Nelson Saibo, ITQB, PT

Giedre Samuoliene, LAMMC, LT

Angelo Santino, ISPA-CNR, IT

Stefan Schillberg IME Fraunhofer,DE

Andrea Schubert, UNITO, IT

Ingo Schubert, IPK, DE

Andrew Simkin, Univ. Essex , UK

Rüdiger Simon, Univ. Dusseldorf, DE

Vita Tilvikiene, LAMMC, LT

Szilvia Toth, BRC, HU

Tracy Valentine, Hutton, UK

Frank Van Breusegem, VIB-UGent, BE

Olivier Van Aken, Univ. Lund, SE

Guido van den Ackerveken, Univ. Utrecht, NL

Carlota Vaz Patto, ITQB, PT

Ruben Vicente, ITQB, PT

Sirja Viitala, LUKE, FI

Andreas Weber, Univ. Dusseldorf, DE

Ralf Wilhelm, JKI, DE

Jian Xu, Univ. Radboud, NL

Samuel Zeeman, ETH, CH


Amrit Nanda, Plant ETP, BE

Shyam Pariyar, Univ. Bonn, DE

Michael Selvaraj, CGIAR,

Nick Vangheluwe,  Euroseeds, BE