'Plants for the future': A European vision for plant biotechnology towards 2025


Today, the "Plants for the Future" European Technology Platform on plant genomics and biotechnology, launches a new era for plant biotechnology in Europe.

This long term vision for 2025 has been created by leading representatives from research (such as EPSO, the European Plant Science Organisation), the food and biotech industry (such as EuropaBio, CIAA, ESA), the farming community (such as COPA/COGECA) and consumer organisations (BEUC). The vision document has been presented to European Commissioner Busquin.

"Our society faces tremendous challenges in the coming decades. There will be an increased demand for healthier, higher quality and more diverse food. The need for animal feed will grow. Agricultural production needs to become more environmentally friendly: maintaining productivity while reducing inputs including water, pesticides, fertilisers, energy. The issue of economical sustainability will necessitate the development of novel biomaterials, bioenergy and renewable resources. Agriculture will also face consequences of climatic changes causing drought and spread of diseases to new areas of Europe and beyond. It is imperative that we enable developing countries to achieve self-sufficiency and become more competitive and, together with North America, to contribute to meeting the growing global food demands," says Marc Zabeau, chair of EPSO.

These immense challenges can be met by prioritizing basic and applied research goals that are tailored to the needs of European society and the agriculture and the food industries. The expertise and capabilities of European plant scientists also need to be effectively harnessed to generate a more profound understanding of plant biology. Together this new set of capabilities and priorities will enable key characteristics such as improved quality and nutrition, sustainable production, safe co-existence, and improved yield, harvestability, processability and environmental stability to be created, Novel public- private partnerships will also need to be created to develop these products and bring them to market.

"EPSO and EuropaBio will develop this Technology Platform in the framework of an EU supported project that started on 1st June 2004. We aim to broaden the stakeholder forum, to articulate the Long Term Strategic Research Agenda 2025 and the Action Plan 2010 and discuss these with member states," says Karin Metzlaff, Director of EPSO. "These activities are also a key step towards implementing a long-term research policy for Europe at European, national and regional levels."

EPSO hopes that this initiative will attract young talented researchers and entrepreneurs as well as public and private funding into this sector of science and industry to the benefit of science and society in Europe and beyond.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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