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The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) makes an alliance with two other european research centers to promote excellence in agricultural genomics research

  • The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) from Barcelona (Spain) tightens its relation with the John Innes Centre (JIC) from United Kingdom and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) from Germany
  • One of the objectives of the agreement between CRAG, JIC and MPIPZ is to contribute to the training of the new generation of scientists in plant biology, a key discipline to face current and future societal challenges

    This summer, three leading European plant science institutes from Spain, UK and Germany, have signed an agreement that will strengthen their relationship at scientific and institutional level, promoting the vision of a pan-continental European Research Area. Through this agreement an alliance between the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), from Barcelona (Spain), the John Innes Centre (JIC), from Norwich (UK), and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ), from Cologne (Germany), is born.

    Scientific research is, nowadays, a collective and international activity. The majority of the scientific publications are signed by authors who do their research in distant countries, and the researchers have a high international mobility. In this context, the interactions between CRAG, JIC and MPIPZ researchers have frequented in recent years. Now, the directors of these international research centres aim to strengthen this affinity with an alliance that will exploit their synergies in research and that will promote mutual learning in scientific policy and administrative issues.

    Looking to the future: opportunities for early-career researchers

    CRAG, JIC and MPIPZ recognise the importance of young researchers developing scientific networks across Europe. For this reason, the new alliance will focus first on enabling graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to work together, share experiences and move between the three centres.

    The first early-career researcher to move as part of the new alliance is the CRAG postdoctoral researcher Inmaculada Ferriol, who arrived in Norwich from Barcelona on the 3rd of September. Inmaculada Ferriol will spend six months at the JIC, where she will continue studying the potentially devastating viruses of cucumber in the lab of Professor George Lomonossoff.

    The agreement between the three centres also contemplates a biennial meeting of early-career researchers from CRAG, JIC and MPIPZ to share their research and facilitate the building of many new networks for the future. The firsts of these meetings will take place in Catalonia in the Autumn of 2019.

    In relation to this alliance, Professor José Luis Riechmann, Director of the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics said “We are very excited about this initiative that will enhance the training and networking opportunities for young plant science researchers in Europe, and increase the research collaborations among JIC, MPIPZ, and CRAG. Given the importance of plant research for addressing many of the societal challenges that we will face in coming decades, Europe must stay at the forefront of plant science research, and we hope this initiative will significantly contribute to that aim

    Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre, explained “The success of the John Innes Centre is built on our international workforce, our international collaborations and our international outlook. We remain committed to being part of an open and successful European Research Area. For that reason, I am absolutely delighted to join with two of our strongest peers in Europe to form this new alliance”.

    Professor Miltos Tsiantis, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research said “We are delighted to have forged a research partnership with two European centres of excellence in biological sciences, CRAG and JIC, and look forward to rewarding interactions with both”.


    About the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG)

    The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) is a centre that forms part of the CERCA system of research centers of the Government of Catalonia, and which was established as a partnership of four institutions: the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Institute for Agri-Food Research and Technology (IRTA), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the University of Barcelona (UB). CRAG’s research spans from basic research in plant and farm animal molecular biology, to applications of molecular approaches for breeding of species important for agriculture and food production in close collaboration with industry. CRAG has been recognized as “Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2016-2019” by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

    About the John Innes Centre (JIC)

    John Innes Centre’s mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply this knowledge of nature’s diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and engage with policy makers and the public. The John Innes Centre is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

    About the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ)

    The Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research carries out basic molecular biological research on plants. The goal of the Cologne-based scientists is to improve conventional breeding methods and to develop environmentally-friendly plant protection strategies for crops.

    For more information:

    Communication Department

    Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG)

    Bellaterra – Barcelona – Spain

    +34 93 563 66 00 Ext 3033

    +34 609 088 368