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Mission

Mission

EPSO's mission is to improve the impact and visibility of plant science in Europe, particularly to:

1. Promote plant science and support plant scientists

2. Discuss future plant science programmes across Europe

3. Provide authoritative source of independent information on plant science -  science advice to policy

4. Promote training of plant scientists to meet the 21st century challenges in breeding, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, plant ecology and sectors related to plant science

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The EPSO Manifesto - what EPSO is for:

 

 Plants matter

  • Photosynthesis fuels all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and is the ultimate source of all our food.
  • Plants are essential for ecosystem services by, for example, preventing soil erosion and maintaining quality of watercourses.
  • Plant populations are crucial to the amenity value of forests, grasslands and agricultural environments.
  • Plant communities are extremely vulnerable to climate change.
  • Most of the cultivable land in Europe (and globally) is devoted to agriculture.  Wise judgements about coexistence of wildlife and agriculture require scientific evidence.
  • A better understanding of plants is vital for sustainable human existence.

Imagine a world without plants! Not very attractive, is it?

  

 Plant matter matters

  • Plant yields are critical to farming, food and biomass energy production.
  • In 2010, ~ one billion people have inadequate food. Enhancing crop yields and quality can reduce food prices and malnutrition, and enhance rural incomes.
  • Plants provide timber, fibre (cotton), animal feed, high value substances (fragrances, aromas, pigments), oils, grains, fruit, vegetables, flowers, biomass for energy, and new sources of sustainable chemical feedstocks.
  • Plant-derived chemicals play a vital role in preventive medicine.
  • Plants take CO2 out of the air and sequester carbon above and below ground

  

 EPSO goals

  • Biology education needs to properly instruct pupils, students and the public of the importance and properties of plants. Teaching should recognise the contribution of plants to discovery in biology, such Mendel’s Laws in genetics.
  • European agencies and individual governments should fund high-quality pan-European plant science projects, irrespective of nationality, and neither requiring nor excluding industrial participation. Currently, different programs enable different subsets of EU nations to participate in projects with each other, but exclude certain countries from working together.
  • The EU Framework programs must have a strong plant science component, and as well as applied projects, should help drive exciting discoveries that create new and unexpected opportunities for valuable new technology.
  • World food supplies are more vulnerable than most realize, and will become more vulnerable; strengthening plant science is critical to future advances in crop yield.
  • Plant breeding is critical to improved crop yields, but is declining in the public sector. Private breeders are having difficulty recruiting new breeders because so few are being trained. Public sector breeding and germplasm improvement must be revived.
  • Biotech (GM) traits are being deployed worldwide to solve weed and insect problems in crops, and to improve drought tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency and disease resistance.  EPSO urges a case-by-case appraisal of individual biotech traits, focusing on the quality of the crop trait rather than the method used to improve it.
  • We should seize the huge opportunities afforded by plant science (including GM) to improve the quality of the human diet.
  • Plant and crop evaluation policy should be evidence-based.

EPSO will cooperate with other organisations to advance these goals.

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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.