PlantLink News February 2024

A warm welcome in 2024! We are excited to announce that Svend Christensen, PLEN Copenhagen University, is PlantLink’s new chair!  Several new projects are getting underway with support from the EU and NordForsk. As always, we present a variety of courses and seminars to keep an eye on, open positions, and – revived – updates about PhD thesis defences. Researchers interested in recruiting a two-week summer intern student, please get in touch with us! And, to add an auditory dimension to our newsletter, we are concluding with captivating radio interviews from the world of plant sciences.

1) PlantLink has a new chairman!

We warmly welcome our new chair, Svend Christensen, who is Head of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN) at the University of Copenhagen. Svend has a wide background in plant science and an extensive contact network in the region. He has headed PLEN for the last 15 years and has been involved in initiating the Plant Biologicals Network and Nordic Plant Phenotyping Network. We believe that Svend will further strengthen Swedish-Danish ties around plant science, started by our previous chair, Thomas Moritz, who has led the PlantLink steering committee since 2019. We thank Thomas for his five years in PlantLink and are very grateful for all his efforts.

We wish Thomas all the best for the future and with his position at the University of Copenhagen!

2) DLF will stop all activities in Landskrona R&D site

DLF Seeds A/S will stop all activities at the R&D site in Landskrona, Sweden, before 1st July 2024 and close the site. Since the announcement of the new Joint Venture for sugar beet and fodder beet, the EMB has been collaborating with the local team in Landskrona to investigate alternative options for the site. This effort, however, has not been able to identify an economically viable option within DLF Seeds’ current business portfolio. The situation leads to the consequence that the R&D site in Landskrona will be closed from July 2024, affecting approximately 70 employees.

Read more

3) Newclim Erasmus+ project has been launched in France

The PlantLink supported project Newclim (“New trainings to manage climate & ecological transitions in perennial fruit crops”) project aims at enhancing cooperation between EU universities from France (L’Institut Agro – IA), Sweden (The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – SLU), Germany (Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society – LUBS) and NEU university from Chile (The University of Chile), with a focus on how to integrate the climate transition and smarter practices in the agricultural sector, focusing on two major economic value fruit crops. The project will be dedicated to the production of a digital platform displaying open-source educational materials. Those educational materials will be fed by research resources on the topic issued from the scientific and educational activities of the four universities. More information

The first conference of the Newclim project took place on the 11-12th of December at L’Institut Agro Dijon, France.

The week after midsummer there will be a course at SLU Alnarp for students. More information will come soon. 

Please contact Swedish coordinator Annie Drottberger (SLU) for more information about NewClim.

4) DETECTIVE – A Horizon Europe project on new genomic techniques just started

DETECTIVE is a four-year EU-funded research project that was launched in Malmö, Sweden, from 17 to 19 January 2024. It aims to develop, validate, and promote innovative detection methods for plant and animal products of new genomic techniques (NGTs) such as gene editing and cisgenesis.

DETECTIVE will complement its technical R&D activities in analytical methods with a comprehensive exploration of non-technical approaches. Using responsible research innovation and systems mapping approaches, DETECTIVE will actively involve stakeholders to support a plan to improve the detection capabilities of laboratories, enabling them to fulfil their responsibilities for the detection of NGTs.

Contact Dennis Eriksson for more information

5) Four PPP projects have been granted in spring wheat, oats, potatoes and berries 

The Nordic growing conditions and climate change require adapted crops. However, plant breeding processes are costly and take a long time. Therefore, much is to be gained from cooperation between private and public actors. Four projects were recently granted for the sixth round of PPP funding.

The PPP projects are funded by the Nordic governments and private companies that take part in the projects. The four projects: “BERRIES – Development of Germplasm for Berry Crops”, “RobOat – Robustness of Oats for the Nordic Region”, “CResWheat – Pre-breeding for Nordic climate-resilient spring wheat II” and “SustainPotato – PPP Collaboration to Advance Nordic Potato Variety Development With Enhanced Resistance to Diseases by Pre-breeding Phase II”, have been granted total funding of 34,7 million SEK from 2024 to 2026. The costs are shared equally between the public and the private sector.

Read more 

6) New oats project was released – “OatFrontiers – Adapting oats to Final Frontier”

Northern periphery areas (NPA) represent the final frontier where cereal cultivation can still be expanded in Northern Europe. The new EU NPA “OatFrontiers – Adapting oats to Final Frontier” project’s objective is to increase possibilities for oat cultivation within the NPA region. By piloting diverse oat materials over the different environments of the NPA, networks of local farmers and co-operatives are made aware of the existing and future good-yielding and stress-tolerant cultivars with high quality. Lead Partner: Natural Resources Institute Finland (FI); Partners: Agricultural University of Iceland (IS), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NO)Graminor Ltd. (NO), Lantmannen (SE), Teagasc – Agriculture and Food Development Authority (IE), University College Dublin (IE), Boreal Plant Breeding Ltd. (FI), Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NO), Lund university (SE)

More information

7) PlantLink will support researchers to host 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 sixth 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 5,000 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

8) Join ELLS MSc/PhD course “Plant Health in the wake of AI” – 14-22 June, Pieve Tesino, Italy

The MSc/PhD course “Plant health in the wake of AI” (5 ECTs) in Pieve Tesino, Italy, 14-22 June 2024, is given with financial support of ELLS and the LTV faculty at SLU Alnarp and in conjunction with the course “Robotic weeding in sugar beet “10 – 14 June 2024 at UHOH in Stuttgart (more info). 

The aim of the course is to bring together PhD and MSc students from different backgrounds (biology, agronomy, horticulture, agroecology, etc.) working on plant health-related areas and relate them to aspects of policy governing these fields. A special focus will be given to AI in relation to plant health. This implies machine and deep learning methods for disease and weed monitoring as well as broader aspects and a discussion on how AI will influence the research field of plant health. No advanced understanding of machine and deep learning methods is needed. 

Deadline to apply: April 2

More information

9) Sign up for NordPlant/NPPN/PhotoSyntech “Crop field and algae phenotyping” workshop – 20 March, Oslo

This joint NordPlant/UPSCALE, NPPN and PhotoSyntech workshop on ”Crop field and algae phenotyping” will take place in Oslo, Norway, on 20 March and will be followed by Norwegian Plant Biology 2024. It will feature lectures in the morning and three parallel hands-on sessions in the afternoon. The number of participants is limited to 50.

More information and registration on UPSCALE-NordPlant’s homepage

10) FASEM2024 – advanced school on structural X-ray and neutron scattering techniques – 11-15 March, Lund

FASEM2024 is a French-Swedish advanced school organised in Lund from March 11 to 15, 2024, for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and researchers in Life Sciences who wish to discover or deepen structural X-ray and neutron scattering techniques, from experimentation to complete and in-depth analysis of data, based on modelling approachesRegistration fees are reduced to only 100 €, and grants can be requested for transport costs, particularly for participants from outside Sweden. Priority will be given to participants from French and Swedish laboratories.

Check the program and Register here before February 10, 2024 – a CV and a short cover letter are required.

11) Call for short-term monitoring projects in forest damage

The SLU Forest Damage Centre announces a call with a focus on monitoring forest damage. The call is for short-term monitoring projects that focus on method development and will be carried out in 2024 or until early 2025. The main applicant needs to be employed at SLU!

Application deadline: February 15

More information

12) Save the date: 30th SPPS conference – 27-29 August, Copenhagen

The 30th SPPS Conference will be held in Copenhagen on 27-29th of August. The conference will be held at the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre. Apart from renowned speakers and SPPS prize winners, many young researchers will present their work. Do not miss the chance to meet new colleagues and talk to experienced researchers! A limited number of travel grants are available to PhD students who actively participate in the conference.

Details and registration are coming up soon!
More information

13) Alnarp’s conference 2024: biological diversity in agriculture and forestry

The goal of the SLU Alnarp’s conference is to convey knowledge and create dialogue between participants. The program provides examples and solutions both from research and from practice. The event aims to inspire the participants to continue knowledge development, innovation and action. This year’s theme is biological diversity in agriculture and forestry.

More information and registration

14) Open positions

SLU Alnarp
Associate Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor in landscape architecture with a focus on soil-plant systems for an urban context
More information

Associate Senior lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Conservation Ecology with a focus on the effects of forestry on ground vegetation
More information

Postdoc on developing genomic resources for a newly domesticated crop
More information

Postdoc position in Plant host-microbiome interactions
More information

Postdoctoral position in Plant Health in Relation to Microbial Influence
More information

Postdoc position in browsing tolerant trees
More information

Lund University
Postdoctoral Fellow in Applications of SERS for Soil Fungal Systems
More information

Doctoral student in biology
More information

15) PhD thesis defence

Linnea Stridh, Dept. of Plant Protection Biology, SLUAlternative strategies to treat potato early blight16 February, 9:00 Crafoord Hall, SLU or online:; Passcode: 449649

Rimsha Ashraf, Dept. of Plant Breeding, SLU: Determination, characterisation and combination of novel resistance genes to stripe and stem rust in wheat” 23 February, 9:00 Crafoord Hall, SLU

Ying Liu, Dept. of Plant Breeding, SLUModulation of the glycoalkaloid biosynthesis pathway in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and development of CRISPR/Cas9 methodology for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.); 1 March, 9:00 Crafoord Hall, SLU or online:; Passcode: 057501

16) Researchers on the air

Cecilia Tullberg, LU/ScanOats, was one of the speakers in Sveriges Radio p1 program “Grejen med havregynsgröt”. Listen here (Swedish only)

Cecilia Hammenhag, SLU, talked about peas and how to cook them; Sveriges Radio “Därför är ärtorna för hårda för soppa: ”Kommer aldrig kokas mjuka”. Listen here (Swedish only)