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EPSO News archive from 15.03.2006 to 30.9.2012



Commission launches consultation on EU 2020: a new strategy to make the EU a smarter, greener social market
The Commission today issued a public consultation document on giving the EU economy a brighter future through the EU 2020 Strategy. EU 2020 aims to deliver greener and socially inclusive growth, as outlined by President Barroso in his Political Guidelines. The new Strategy will build on the achievements of the Lisbon Strategy, while learning its lessons. The consultation paper sets out a vision for how EU 2020 will focus on entrenching recovery from the crisis, helping to prevent a similar one in future and on three thematic objectives: creating value through knowledge; empowering people in inclusive societies; and creating a competitive, connected and greener economy. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 15 January 2010. The new Commission will then make a detailed proposal to the Spring European Council. To view the consultation document and send your comments please go to:

EC President Barroso announced new commissioners, 27 November 2009, Brussels
In addition to previous item: a link to PDF with full information
EC President Barroso announced new commissioners, 27 November 2009, Brussels
The new College will have 27 members, including President Barroso and 7 Vice-Presidents. President Barroso has reconfigured a number of portfolios such as Research and Innovation with Maire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN as Commissioner-designate. The new Commission must gain approval from the European Parliament, - which should have the vote of consent on 26 January, - then be appointed by the European Council before it takes office for a term of office running until 2014.
CST-SA - ICC International Grains Symposium, 3-5 February 2010, Pretoria, South Africa
This Symposium features a wide range of topics such as breeding, processing, legislation, nutrition, quality and safety of grains. The aim is to bring together grain producers, seed breeders, grain scientists and technologists, millers, bakers, cereal and grain food processors and suppliers from all over the world to discuss all aspects of quality and safety of grain crops and food made from them.
FAO Forum on 2050: Increased investment in agricultural research essential
The FAO High-Level Expert Forum was set up to examine policy options that governments should consider adopting to ensure that the world population can be fed when it nears its peak of nearly 9.2 billion people in the middle of this century. Experts worldwide invited to this Forum will prepare the ground for the World Summit on Food Security from 16 to 18 November 2009. The news item below provides direct access to the Technology Challenge discussion paper.
Technology Challenge Discussion Paper
Africa's biotechnology battle
A review of the controversial book "Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa"
Statistical considerations for the safety evaluation of GMOs,0.pdf?ssbinary=true
EFSA has published a new opinion aimed at harmonising how data from field trials carried out for the risk assessment of GM plants and derived food and feed are produced and analysed. The objective of the document is to contribute to greater transparency in the risk assessment of GMOs and also to allow for a more rapid evaluation of applications.
DNA barcodes for plants a step closer
Biologists agree on genetic sequences to uniquely identify plant species.
Plant Research to Save the Planet
A Global Plant Council has been formed as part of an historic and groundbreaking summit of major plant science societies from around the world.
Dutch government grants 25 million euros for research into energy from plants and algae
The research focuses on increasing the efficiency of sunlight conversion into energy and nutrients in plants and algae through photosynthesis. Part of the programme will involve the development of so-called artificial leaves.
Opening of the international hosting platform of RicE FUnctional GEnomics (REFUGE)
Funded by the Agropolis Fondation, REFUGE is an international hosting platform, based in Montpellier, France. It offers international scientists an access to bioinformatic, biological, and molecular resources using rice as a model system to elucidate gene function through functional genomics strategies.
Research and development is a priority for Swedish EU presidency
One of the issues that the Swedish Presidency has chosen to prioritise involves governance of the European Research Area (ERA). Another priority involves the direction of the forthcoming programmes for research and development.
Armenise-Harvard Career Development Award
The Career Development Award provides three to five years of support for newly independent scientists at an agreed host institute in Italy. The application deadline is 15 July 2009.
Czech researchers working with GMO publish a white book
In response to an invitation from the Council of the Ministers of Environment, Czech scientists working with GM crops compiled a White Book entitled "EU regulations and research experience from the Czech Republic" that summarizes the results of their analysis of relevant EU legislation and provides examples of conducted research.
EU ministers adopt legal framework for European research infrastructures
The decision paves the way for the creation of world class infrastructures that should help Europe to take the lead in a wide range of research fields.
Pg Economics report: “GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2007”
Gates Foundation Invests in 81 Unconventional Global Health Research Projects
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced 81 grants of US$100,000 each to explore bold and largely unproven ways to prevent infectious disease in developing countries, including the use of tomatoes, cows and magnets. Eric Lam at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in the U.S. will work to develop a tomato that delivers antiviral drugs when eaten.
Olivier Voinnet awarded 2009 EMBO Gold Medal
Olivier Voinnet from the CNRS Institute of Plant Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, France, is awarded the 2009 EMBO Gold Medal. The researcher receives this medal for his pioneering work on the mechanisms and roles of gene silencing via RNA in plants.
Report: 'Feed the World: The Challenge of Agricultural Development'
The report, written by agricultural economist Douglas Southgate and published by International Policy Network, shows that governments were the primary cause of the crisis, which began in 2007. Government policies have prolonged the crisis, particularly affecting the world’s poorest people. Professor Southgate, of Ohio State University, said that governments’ responses – such as bans on food exports in emerging economies, coddling of biofuels development and needless restrictions on agricultural biotechnology – have made the food crisis worse.
Long-term solutions needed to feed the world's poor
An editorial from David Dickson, Director of SciDev.Net, the Science and Development Network
Germany bans cultivation of GM corn
German agriculture minister Ilse Aigner has banned the cultivation of MON810 Bt maize in Germany with immediate effect, invoking a safeguard clause in European genetic technology legislation.
Europe must lead ‘green revolution’
An interview with Janez Potočnik, Commissioner responsible for Science and Research.
Agriculture and Climate Change: An Agenda for Negotiation in Copenhagen
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)publishes the first document in a series of briefs prepared to support the goal of putting agriculture on the agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Anti-HIV protein made in plants
Researchers have used plants (Nicotiana benthamiana) to produce a protein that could be the basis of a new HIV microbicide.
Water scarcity in Europe.
From golf courses to books, olive oil to vaccinations, all the goods and services that we rely on, together with many of our daily activities, require a vital resource: water. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms that in many parts of Europe water use is unsustainable and provides recommendations for a new approach to managing water resources.
Ministers back right to refuse GM crop cultivation
On 2 March 2009, EU environment ministers from the 27-Members States found a qualified majority against a Commission proposal to force Austria and Hungary to allow the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize on their territory.
Documentary on biotechnologies on French TV tonight
Today, Thursday 19 February, a one-hour documentary called “Les Prêcheurs de l'apocalypse” (“The preachers of apocalypse”) will be broadcasted by the national French TV network France 2 at 10.45 PM (GMT+1) in French (interviewees are voiced over). This film presents how science can contribute and offer solutions to the current challenges such as climate change, food crisis, energy needs, loss of biodiversity.
VIB poplar field trial approved
The VIB (Belgium) has received the formal authorisation from the Belgian federal government to perform the field trial with their genetically modified poplar trees. This authorisation is a landmark in the Belgian history of field research with genetically modified plants, as it is the first authorisation for a field trial since 2002.
Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2008
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) publishes its annual study on cultivation of genetically modified crops around the world.
Charles Darwin's revolution is unfinished
Charles Darwin’s ideas have spread widely, but his revolution is not yet complete. An article from The Economist.
Sequencing of sorghum genome completed
In a paper published in the journal Nature this week, Rutgers researchers Joachim Messing, Rémy Bruggmann, and a team of international collaborators have described the genome of sorghum, a drought-tolerant African grass. The findings could one day help researchers to produce better food crops for arid regions with rapidly expanding human populations, such as West Africa.
UK Sustainable Bioenergy Centre launched
The UK's main funding agency for the biosciences (BBSRC) has launched a £27 million Sustainable Bioenergy Centre to carry out research to develop clean, green and sustainable fuels derived from plants.
European Innovation Scoreboard 2008 published
The scoreboard assesses innovation performance of EU Member States. Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark and the UK are the innovation leaders.
European Group on Ethics (EGE) asks European Commission to embed ethical principles in agriculture policies
EGE rapporteurs met on 21st January with Commissioner for Agriculture Ms Mariann Fischer Boel, in order to officially hand in its Opinion Nr. 24 on the ethics of modern development in agriculture technologies.
Plant life video contest
Win up to $1000 for your eye-catching, informative and creative videos that illustrate the amazing qualities of plant life, from the molecular and cellular levels to the whole plant and ecosystem levels.
Climate change & food insecurity
In a paper published in Science, atmospheric scientist David Battisti (University of Washington, USA) and economist Rosamond Naylor (Stanford University, USA) apply climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to estimate end-of-century temperatures. The authors predict that temperature stresses could reduce crop yields by as much as 20–30 per cent across the tropics and subtropics by the end of the century.
Till Behrend of the German weekly Focus spoke with the geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard about green biotech
Ethics of modern developments in agricultural technologies
The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies has adopted its latest opinion on ethics of modern developments in agricultural technologies
The food crisis isn't over
Although the credit crunch has lowered the price of food, a global recession now raises the hunger pains of the most vulnerable. The stage is set for the next international food crisis, says Joachim von Braun, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC.
New roadmap for research infrastructures unveiled
Ten new research infrastructures have been added to the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures produced by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).
The FAO publishes "The state of food insecurity in the world - 2008"
Another 40 million people have been pushed into hunger this year primarily due to higher food prices, according to preliminary estimates published by FAO today. This brings the overall number of undernourished people in the world to 963 million, compared to 923 million in 2007 and the ongoing financial and economic crisis could tip even more people into hunger and poverty, FAO warned.
ESF call for proposals: organisers 2009 summer school
The ESF-funded summer school "Plants genomics and bioinformatics" (2007-2012) invites interested organisers for the 2009 summer school to submit a proposal by 1 February 2009.
The EU Competitiveness Council adopts a 'Vision 2020' for the ERA
The ministers stressed that maintaining R&D investment and strengthening the "knowledge triangle" of education, research and innovation were key to the successful completion of the ERA. The ministers also agreed on a procedure for joint research programmes, aimed at better responding to major societal challenges such as the food crisis and its consequences for agriculture, as well as how to manage our ecosystem, climate change or the ageing of the European population.
Action Document from the 2008 Venice Conference 'The Future of Science - Food and Water for Life'
As the world population increases, the Millennium Goals of reducing hunger by a third and the proportion without access to safe water by half, are increasingly unlikely to be realised by the target year 2015. The Action Document presents what needs to be done to overcome the major obstacles to achieving the Millennium Goals and how to start doing it.
EMBO honours 59 leading life scientists, among which 5 plant scientists
The FAO publishes "State of Food and Agriculture 2008 - BIOFUELS: prospects, risks and opportunities"
In its annual flagship publication, the FAO weighs opportunities and risks of biofuels and concludes that "biofuel policies and subsidies should be urgently reviewed in order to preserve the goal of world food security, protect poor farmers, promote broad-based rural development and ensure environmental sustainability."
International research team maps largest wheat chromosome
Plant geneticist Catherine Feuillet of INRA-UBP in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and her colleagues of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium have isolated the largest wheat chromosome — chromosome 3B — and assemble a physical map representing more than 80 percent of the chromosome. This paves the way to sequencing the complex polyploid wheat genome .
European Biofuels TP Newsletter - October 2008
The newsletter provides an update on recent EBTP activities, including the identification of value chains most likely to make a contribution to the ambitious EU 2020 objectives for innovative bioenergy and biofuel within the European Industrial Initiative on BioEnergy (EII-B). Recent biofuels technology events and reports, membership changes within the Steering Committee, and an update on the R&D&D Mapping database are also included.
Responding to the World Food Crisis: Three Perspectives
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) publishes three essays addressing the global food crisis. The authors point to the dangers and pitfalls of misguided policies, but also to the very real opportunities for responding in a way that prevents future crises and assures food security now and in the long term.
A strategic European framework for international cooperation in science and technology
A communication from the European Commission setting out a European framework for international cooperation in science and technology. It proposes ways to improve cooperation instruments with strategic partners.
Eurostat booklet: 'Food: from farm to fork statistics'
The booklet presents statistics for each step in the production-consumption chain, including food and feed.
The Royal Society launches a study on biological approaches to enhance food-crop production
The study aims to provide a balanced assessment of the challenges to world food-crop yields, the different biological approaches that could be used to enhance supplies and their likely consequences and impacts. Organisations and individuals are invited to contribute to the study by responding to the call for evidence by Monday 06 October 2008.
Report on enhancing cooperation between Finland and Estonia published
The report issues a total of 55 recommendations and outlines a vision of the Finnish-Estonian relations in 2030. According to the report, Finland and Estonia can combine their forces especially in innovation policy and the development of skills. It proposes the establishment of a science, technology and development council for the coordination of a joint area of education and research.
How research can help solve global food crisis
Aninterview with Guy Riba, deputy director of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).
Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries since 1990,3343,en_2649_33793_40374392_1_1_1_1,00.html
The report provides comparative data for OECD countries up to 2004 across a range of indicators, including agricultural production and land, nutrients, pesticides, energy, soil, water, air, biodiversity and farm management.
In Need of a Green Revolution
An Interview With Robert Paarlberg, Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Paarlberg's principal research interests are international agricultural and environmental policy.
Papaya's genome deciphered
A collaboration of 22 research institutions in the U.S. and China has produced a first draft of the papaya genome.
France, Italy and Switzerland launches national initiatives for financial support to ERC Starting Grant finalists who cannot be funded by the ERC
EU27 R&D spending stable at 1.84% of GDP in 2006
Website launched to attract foreign researchers to Germany
Nominations are now invited for the 2009 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award
The E10 000 award highlights the major contributions made by female scientists to life sciences research. The deadline is 15 August 2008
Call for proposals for ERC finalists launched by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (deadline is 21 April 2008)
In Italian: In English:
Plant DNA barcode - >Applicability of DNA barcoding for biodiversity inventories demonstrated.
The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will receive a grant of US$19.9 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop stress-tolerant rice varieties
Publication Analysis 1999-2005 for Plant Science
An interesting article on Plant Science and Plant Scientists in Europe.
Scientists of the VIB (Ghent, Belgium) produce antibodies in plant seeds
Scientists of the university of Malaga to design biochips to select pine trees for industrial and environmental ends
Olive oil consumption can prevent obesity in the long run
Andalusian scientists prove that Mediterranean diet significally reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
Investing in green and white biotech, Nature Biotechnology, July 2006
A joint paper from EPSO and European Federation of Biotechnology, Section of Applied Biocatalysis (ESAB), emphasises European strengths in the fields of plant biotechnology and catalysis and how these can be deployed for sustainable biomass and biofuels production. The paper notes that realigning a small proportion of the funds currented used by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development towards R&D in this field will make important contributions to reinvigorating rural economies
Seville-based scientists design leguminous plants resistant to soil acidity or salinity
GMO-Compass Website launched


Printed from on 10/12/18 07:03:34 AM

EPSO is an independent academic organisation currently representing 61 institutional members bringing together more than 204 research institutes, departments and universities from 29 countries in Europe and beyond.