PlantLink News February

2023 starts in a really busy way! PlantLink released a new round of Industrial Mentorship Program for PhD students and postdocs and is ready to match passionate young researchers with innovative companies in the region! For MSc students, there is ELLS Plant Health Grand Challenges competition and various ELLS summer courses, which have been recently opened. We should also not forget high school students and their 2-week university project in cooperation with Forskningsnätet Skåne and supported by PlantLink! EPSO is releasing a new seminar, while NJB prepared a special issue on plant ecotypes. Moreover, Food Science Sweden conference is getting closer! Last but not least, PlantEd presents new online lectures and a training school. There are also a lot of new positions and two PhD courses open in the region. This time, we are not only finishing with Karolina Östbring as the new “Researcher in Spotlight”, PlantLink is happy to introduce a new series “Story of success”, represented by Arwa FoodTech AB.


We are saddened to learn that Kenneth Fredlund is no longer with us.

1. PlantLink Industrial Mentorship program – sign up until 1 March!

As a PhD student or new postdoc, it may not be easy to get practical work experience throughout the studies. How is working life outside of academia? To better understand how it works in industry or non-academic organisations, PlantLink offers a practical mentorship program for PhD students and postdocs in plant and food science. It works the other way around too! The mentorship programme is an excellent chance for companies and organisations to gain more insights into PhD students and postdoc work/needs.
The mentor program extends roughly 7 months, starting with a joint informal meeting between mentors and mentees at the end of May. THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION IS 1 MARCH!
Click here for more information and instructions for applicants.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate and contact Anna Maňourová.

2. Researchers, PlantLink can support you with 2-week projects for high school students! 

PlantLink and Forskningsnätet Skåne are looking for 2-week summer projects for high school students. Researchers! Do you have a suitable 2-week internship this summer? For a fifth consecutive year, PlantLink and Forskningsnätet Skåne are looking for short summer internships at SLU Alnarp and Lund University for 2-3 school students over the age of 18 entering their last year of high school study and who are especially interested in science and research. Forskningsnätet Skåne has been promoting contact between high school students and universities by bringing academic researchers to the classrooms during the last 15 years and will grant stipends for the selected students. PlantLink supports the hosting researcher with 5000 SEK. The students can be guided by researchers at any level, but the project should contain some practical aspects. Let us know before 15 February!
If you have a suitable project, please contact Anna Maňourová.

3. ELLS MSc student Competition: Plant Health Grand Challenges – deadline 26 February

We are happy to announce that two projects funded by Euro League for Life Sciences (ELLS) have been awarded in the subject of Plant Health, with the participation of SLU students.

A) If you are an MSc student at an ELLS university interested in Plant Health, you should enter the ELLS student competition to find solutions to the grand challenges in Plant Health! You will be teamed up with two students at two other ELLS universities, follow some inspirational online lectures and reason around a solution to a grand challenge in Plant Health. The winning group will attend the 12th International Congress on Plant Pathology held in Lyon 20-25 of August 2023. Conference fees, travel and accommodation will be covered.

The online lectures are open to any ELLS student also if not participating in the competition. The deadline for registration is 26 February!
More information and sign-up form
B) Circular Case Studies: Food systems transformation through transdisciplinarity and cooperation” (2CS) project will be implemented within various courses at three partner universities BOKU, CZU and SLU. More information is coming soon!

4. ELLS Summer Schools 2023 are open for registration! 

From Bioeconomy to Food in vitro digestion! Would you like to broaden your horizons in Life Sciences? Are you interested in getting experience abroad? Check out the upcoming ELLS summer courses/schools and select the best ones for you!

5. PlantLink wants to promote MSc and BSc student achievements!

Following the example of the “Project in Food Product Development” course at Lund University, PlantLink would like to focus on the academic achievements and innovations of students. The highlights will be shared on our webpage and social media. Please, if you would like to promote your students’ achievements, contact us! E-mail to Anna Maňourová
See the LU course post highlighting food products based on lupin, amaranth and buckwheat here!

6. EPSO Plant Science Seminar – 16 February 

Registration is now open for the 20th European-wide seminar of the series by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) with the title “Development of Plant Pan Genomes”. The seminar will be held online each third Thursday of the month at three (CET).  The seminars will be hosted on Zoom and last approximately 1.5 hours. Numbers will be limited to 300 attendees, make sure to register!

7. NordPlant News – major funding and meeting report

The UPSCALE project receives 10 million NOK from NordForsk to link phenotypic biosignatures. This project builds on initiatives from the NordPlant University Hub. More information here. If you have not read the report from the NordPlant annual meeting, “Envirotyping for plant breeding and precision agriculture”, you can do it here!
Also, big congratulations go to four other SLU Alnarp-associated projects, including “Validating the Introduction of Kernza in the Nordic Region” lead by Linda-Maria Dimitrova Mårtensson, receiving funding from NordForsk.
Read the full article on all funded projects.

8. NJB special issue on plant ecotypes – abstract deadline 31 January

Nordic Journal of Botany launches a special issue “Plant ecotypes in the 21 century: from local adaptation to ecological speciation and conservation biology” where contributions on the origin, systematics, conservation implications of ecotypes and other kinds of local adaptation in plants and fungi are welcomed. Contributions on how the ecotype concept and research in the field have developed since the days of Turesson are accepted too!
Abstract deadline: 31st January; Full paper submission deadline: 30th April; please send abstract to:
Guest editors: Renate Wesselingh, Stefan Andersson
More information

9. Food Science Sweden Conference 2023 – 15 March

Research and innovation for food security is the theme for the upcoming Food Science Sweden Conference 2023. Food security is high on the agenda due to Climate change, COVID-19, and war in Europe. A robust food system is urgently needed, and industry and researchers must collaborate to develop the best practices. Join the discussions at the Food Science Sweden Conference 2023! The deadline for signing up is on the 3rd of March.
Full program and registration.

10. PlantEd online lectures continue!

Following last year´s success, PlantEd continues in online lecture series on genome editing in plants with high-profile speakers.
More information and registration

11. PlantEd: WG1 Training School – Plant transformation systems – 5-8 June

The WG1 Training School will focus on targeted mutagenesis using CRISPR/Cas technology for cereal and Brassica crops. Participants will get hands-on experience in the transformation of wheat, barley and Brassica to deliver editing components. The number of participants is limited to 12 and the deadline for application is the 28th of February!
More information

12. PhD course: Applied population genetics in plant disease epidemiology – 1-17 March

If you are working with pathogenic microorganisms, this course will help you understand how evolution affects the life cycles and shape pathogen populations. The course will provide you with theoretical background in population genetics and practical experience in how to apply data analysis
tools during practical exercises.
The course starts with a theoretical block online, followed by a three-day session with practical exercises at SLU Ultuna or online. Register to the course by sending an email to at the latest February 20th.
More information

13. PhD course: Insect Chemical Ecology – 5-16 June

New edition of the two-week-long course in Insect Chemical Ecology (ICE 23) will be conducted at SLU Alnarp on June 5 -16. ICE 23 is a continuation of the highly successful ICE course series that annually rotates between Penn State, USA, Max Planck Jena, Germany, icipe, Kenya and SLU Alnarp. There is an upper limit to the number of participants, therefore registration will be on a first-come first-serve basis, where PhD students will have priority, but post-docs and others will be accepted as well if there is room.
Those students very much interested, please send e-mail to (pre)reserve a spot: Sebastian Larsson-Herrera (, Guillermo Rehermann (
More information


14. Open positions 

Research assistants at Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre.
More information
Associate senior lecturer in horticultural science with an emphasis on quality and post-harvest of fruit and vegetables, as well as the use of side streams. SLU Alnarp.
More information
Associate senior lecturer in Biology with emphasis on Plant Biotechnology, Cellular Totipotency and Tissue Culture. SLU Alnarp.
More information
Postdoctoral position in bee behaviour, crop pollination, and biocontrol. SLU Alnarp.
More information
Postdoctoral position on Small-RNAs role in Plant-microbe interactions. SLU Alnarp.
More information
Associate professor in ecology. Umeå University.
More information
Associate professor in Earth science. Umeå University.
More information

15. New series: Story of success – Arwa FoodTech AB

The Story of Success highlights innovative regional companies in Plant and Food science which are bridging the gap between research and industry. In this interview, Arwa Mustafa introduces her company Arwa FoodTech AB focusing on baobab products. How to develop healthy novel foods while giving back knowledge to the countries of origin?
Read the interview below!


16. PlantLink Researcher in the spotlight – Karolina Östbring

Karolina Östbring is an associate professor at the Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition at Lund University. Her research focuses on the transformation of plant proteins into meat analogues. Would you like to find out more?
Read the interview below!

17. Kenneth Fredlund, 1963-2023

Kenneth Fredlund passed away on the 18th of January, 2023, after some time of progressive illness. Kenneth studied biology at Lund and completed an excellent PhD on respiratory processes in the Department of Plant Physiology at Lund University in 1996. He was thereafter a long-term associate of the sugar beet research unit in Hilleshög, Landskrona (now DLF Beet Seed AB). Our thoughts go to his family and we are grateful for the inspirational contributions Kenneth made, especially to the regional development of plant research. Text written by Kenneth’s former colleagues Allan Rasmusson and Mats Levall