PlantLink News – November

Autumn continues at its busy pace and PlantLink has some exciting news to share! We are delighted to announce the appointment of Olivier Van Aken as our new Assistant Director. Welcome on board! We are also happy to share that PlantLink’s Day drew a record number of attendees last month! Following the PlantLink Day, PlantLink Industrial Mentorship Program visited several facilities in north-west Skåne. The cooperation between SLU and Lund University has been very fruitful, resulting in the inauguration of collaboration in plant perennials and an excellent publication on urban farming. There is a last chance to register for the NordPlant annual meeting as well as to apply for SASUF satellite events and workshops, and SASUF course. Several interesting seminars will take place in November, save the date for SITES and Ett rikt odlingslandskap. Three professor positions are open at SLU Alnarp. Are you a member of PlantEd? Make sure to join the new AAB-PlantEd mailing list! Congratulations to Nordgen for receiving a new project aimed at increasing knowledge about plant-based protein sources. We conclude the newsletter with an interview with Erik Andreasson, professor of Plant Protection and head of the Resistance Biology Unit at SLU Alnarp.


1. Welcome Olivier Van Aken, PlantLink’s new Assistant Director 

We cordially welcome Olivier Van Aken as our new assistant director. Olivier is a senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, Lund University. We are happy to have you on board!

Erik Alexandersson will continue as acting director of PlantLink.

Olivier’s research is focused on the understanding of signal transduction pathways in response to environmental stress in plants.

See his research profile and current Science publication.

2. Record attendance at PlantLink Day

Over 160 persons signed up for the PlantLink day in Lund, which is a new record by far! If you were not there, we recommend reading a very nice and extensive summarising post by Sancha Salgueiro on LinkedIn! A report will be soon released on the PlantLink webpage.

3. Last chance to sign up for the Final NordPlant Annual meeting: The future of plant phenotyping, 22-23 November, Båstad

Join NordPlant’s last annual meeting! We will sum up the progress around plant phenotyping and modelling for future climates, but foremost, we will look into the future of plant phenotyping! Keynote speakers are David Rousseau (INREA)Shawn Kefauver (University of Barcelona) and Øystein Opedal (LU). We will also have presentations of NordPlant researchers Laura Jaakola (UiT), Kristiina Himanen (UHEL), Thomas Roitsch (UCPH), Lars Eklundh (LU), Svante Resjö (SLU), Qinlin Xiao (SLU), Chandana Pandey (UCPH) and El Houssaine Bouras (LU) as well as Jussi Gillberg (YieldSystems).
The meeting will be in Hotell Skansen, Båstad, Sweden and back-to-back with the NPPN annual workshop.

The deadline for signing up for physical attendance is 7 November!

Full program and sign up for the meeting here!

4. PlantEd turns into AAB-PlantEd

The very successful COST Action PlantEd is coming to an end this month. PlantEd has brought together a network of 600+ members who are interested in the technical and policy aspects of plant gene editing. In order to keep this network alive, the PlantEd leadership has agreed to inaugurate a new specialist group of the Association of Applied Biologists (AAB). The AAB is a learned society based in the UK that promotes applied biology in the context of plant and agricultural science. As a specialist group, PlantEd will have access to organisational support from AAB in order to organise relevant events that support the network.

To all PlantEd members, we suggest moving to an AAB mailing list that will inform you of activities that are relevant to the PlantEd community!

PlantEd specialist group activities will be decided by a committee of up to 10 people selected from across the community. Specialist group committees are reimbursed for any costs they incur whilst undertaking AAB activities. This can be a good opportunity for early and mid-career scientists to be involved with the activities of a learned society.

If you wish to be included in the AAB-PlantEd mailing list or are interested in joining the specialist group committee, please email Geraint Parry, AAB Executive Officer.

5. Unique collaboration in perennials was inaugurated between Lund University and SLU

As part of research on revolutionary perennial agricultural crops, a unique infrastructure has been built in collaboration between the Department of Natural Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES) and LUCSUS at Lund University and SLU Alnarp. The facility is financed by projects from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant) and Formas. This initiative should pave the way for further and in-depth research collaboration between LU and SLU in the field of agriculture!

Read more 

6. Can Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science be interesting for your research? 1 November, Alnarp

Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science (SITES) is a national infrastructure of nine field research stations which cover diverse habitats and climate zones; from agricultural land, forests, mountain areas and wetlands to different types of inland waters. Lönnstorp is one of the SITES stations, meaning that the SLU LTV faculty is directly engaged in SITES. Since its start in 2013, SITES has hosted 1,000 separate users and published over 1,000 data sets. The research infrastructure is looking for ways to alert more scientists to the possibilities that SITES provides for field-based research.

The seminar will take place at Green Innovation Park in Alnarp on November 1st from 9:30 to 10:30.

More information and registration

7. Seminar: Ett rikt odlingslandskap – 14-15 November

Registration for this year’s seminar on the Environmental Quality Goals – A rich agricultural landscape is now open! OBS, Swedish only! The seminar will take place on November 14-15, and you can either participate remotely or follow the broadcast from one of the three regional hubs. The program is divided into the following three sessions:

1: News about new strategies and legislation related to a rich agricultural landscape

2: Meadows and pastures – status of biodiversity and tools for change

3: Roads towards the rich plains landscape – innovation of small biotopes

More information, detailed program and registration

8. Propose your workshops and satellite events for the SASUF Research and Innovation week – Alnarp, Lund, Malmö, 13-17 May

The SASUF (South African Sweden University Forum) Research and Innovation week is bringing together researchers, teachers, students, university management representatives, and many more from all the 40 SASUF partner universities. The Research and Innovation Week consists of two days filled with Satellite Events across the host country, followed by a three-day Sustainability Forum where everyone gathers for joint workshops.

The event is hosted by Malmö UniversityLund University and SLU Alnarp on 13-17 May.
The deadline for applying for satellite events and workshops is 17 November!
More information

9. Last chance to apply for SASUF course: “Applying GIS, Remote Sensing and Hyperspectral Imaging for sustainable urban-rural development and food production”

A call to MSc and PhD students at LU and SLU or at any of the 40 SASUF associated universities – Apply for the SASUF online course “Applying GIS, Remote Sensing and Hyperspectral Imaging for sustainable urban-rural development and food production”, corresponding to 7.5 ECTs, 22 Jan-19 Apr 2024.
The deadline for registration is 3 November.

More information and registration

10. PhD course: Applied methods in crop physiology at Aarhus University, 8-12 April 2024

This course will give the students an up-to-date introduction to measurements of plant processes, both in the field and under protection, to allow them to select and develop suitable methods for measuring and analysing data in their PhD work. Furthermore, the course will present the latest knowledge and an overview of the current status of plant physiological measurement problems. New and emerging technologies will be presented!

More information and registration here

11. NordGen was granted a million-dollar project to increase knowledge about plant-based protein sources

In a new project financed by Novo Nordisk FoundationNordGen and Aarhus University will map the Nordic seed collection of protein crops. The project will lead to a substantial lift for the genebank collection and will contribute to researchers and plant breeders getting access to brand new information about NordGen’s seeds – information which is vital for developing future plant-based protein sources.

Furthermore, in the project called “Next generation genebanking: Unlocking the potential of plant genetic resources in the sequencing era”, NordGen and the Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics at Aarhus University will create an entirely new genebank infrastructure, which will make it easier and faster for researchers to find the genes responsible for certain plant traits. 

Read more

12. PlantLink Industrial Mentorship Program visited facilities in north-west Skåne

On the 6th of October, PlantLink industrial mentorship program visited several different research and industrial facilities in north-west Skåne. The visit started at Skogforsk nearby Svälov, where the participants learned about tree breeding, particularly the breeding of Swedish forests and explored the newest, soon-to-be-ready tree indoor growth facilities. The next stop was at Bjuv Foodhills, where Bengt Felbe, the Bjuv kommun representative, gave a captivating presentation about Foodhills’ circularity. Next, Ekobalans AB presented its main product – digestate-based cycle fertiliser, which is produced in ecologically sustainable manner. More can be seen in this post. The last stop was hosted by Agnese Brantestam at Findus and Nomad Foods facilities, with a short presentation of the company and an exciting tour through the greenhouses with practical examples of pea breeding.

13. Congratulation on another great publication of joint SLU and Lund University team

The environmental impacts of food systems will increase in tandem with rapid urban population growth, which calls for alternative solutions, such as urban agriculture, to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Among several urban agriculture systems, rooftop farming and its subset, rooftop greenhouses, are promising technologies. Read more in this thorough review!

Congratulations to Annie DrottbergerMarie-Claude Dubois and their team representing a great multidisciplinary collaboration between LU and SLU! 

14. Open positions

SLU Alnarp

Professor in Plant Breeding and Crop Diversity

Read more

Professor (fully tenured) in forestry with focus on forest regeneration

Read more

Professor (fully tenured) in forestry with focus on forest management systems

Read more

Postdoctoral position on Small-RNAs role in Potato-Phytophthora infestans interactions

Read more

Lund University

Postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Science with focus on nature based solutions

Read more

Research Engineer at Lund Protein Production Platform

Read more

15. Researcher in the spotlight – Erik Andreasson

Erik Andreasson is a professor in Plant Protection and the head of the Resistance Biology Unit at SLU Alnarp. Through the application and development of molecular tools, his research focuses on plants’ ability to respond to and resist abiotic stress and diseases. Can we develop more resistant crops through gene editing? What is the current status of potato late blight research?

Read the interview