European funding for sustainable crop production
Frank Takken and Martijn Rep awarded Marie Curie Grant
Frank Takken and Martijn Rep researchers at the Molecular Plant Pathology group, of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) awarded a Marie Curie Action programme entailing around 4 million Euro. The grant is shared by five partner organisations and 12 beneficiaries, among which the University of Amsterdam. The project offers positions to 15 PhD candidates, two of which will be hosted at SILS.
The grant is awarded to the BestPass project, an acronym for Boosting plant-Endophyte STability, compatibility and Performance Across ScaleS. Frank Takken explains: ‘We need to increase the crop yield while reducing pesticides and use of inorganic fertilisers to meet the challenges of world population growth and climate change. Microorganisms that live in the plants (endophytes) can improve plant yield and enhance plant tolerance to abiotic stress as well as to pathogens under experimental conditions.
However, these effects are often not sufficiently stable for practical application. This project aims to increase our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying crop-endophyte interactions, to boost the increased use of endophytes to improve sustainability and plant productivity in a reliable way.”
The participants in this project comprise many of the key institutions and industries working with these problems and provide a uniquely strong consortium to address the key issues. Furthermore, the consortium will train a new generation of scientists who have the insight and skills to continue this task in their careers.