Plantum has the opportunity to start a research programme on abiotic stress. There is 1.5 million euros of new money available with the condition that the companies have to match that with the same budget in cash. The budget is spread over the total running time of the programme of five years. In a matchmakings event on 20 September about 20 researchers from different universities of the Netherlands came to our meeting to pitched their ideas of how we could work on breeding related to abiotic stress. After the pitches the representations of the breeding companies spoke after with each other to check if the presented solutions gave confidence in answering the questions of the companies. In general they were positive so Plantum and TTW, the owner of the public money, will go on with defining the call aim, borders and conditions. The aim is to open the call beginning of 2019. The projects can start than in January 2020.
Scope of the programme
One of the challenges is to define the optimal broadness of the call. If it is too narrow, we’ll lose opportunities for companies that don’t fit anymore. If it is too broad, the programme will not be a programme but some individual projects. We want to make a programme were all members of Plantum can address their questions related to abiotic stress. The consortia can for example be made based on a crop but also on a type of stress(es) or on a horizontal usable technique. The companies gave some first ideas of how the programme can have the highest impact. Stimulating the universities to work together is one of those ideas. As the programme is tailor made by Plantum and TTW to serve the needs of the breeding and if interested also the propagation companies, we’ll take these ideas to build the programme on.
What we do next
First Plantum will identify the topics where the members are interested in. This will be used for the scope of the programme and can also be used as a start-up for matchmaking to create consortia. After this step we’ll start writing the call text. Therefore we’ll need help from some people of the companies and some researchers to be sure that the right definitions of both the needs and solutions are used. The building of consortia will be a flexible process. We start and what comes up during the process that’s needed will be done. The process will be discussed within the standing committee Research and in the commission research vegetable seeds.