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Rita Groß-Hardt and collaborators secure €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council

17.2.2022 | The money will go towards a project on climate change-resistant plants with industry partners Aardevo and KWS.
AcademiaNet member Professor Rita Groß-Hardt has had her project on three-parent plant breeding funded by EU’s European Innovation Council, as one of 42 projects out of 292 proposals. The molecular geneticist, who is based at the University of Bremen, says that the goal is to create crop plants that can withstand a changing climate. This could help secure the future of agriculture and world food supplies.


“With our partners, Aardevo and KWS, we would like to implement three-parent hybridization technology in order to cross agricultural plants with more climate-resilient wild plants,” Prof Groß-Hardt explains in a press release.


The project will build on work from 2017, when Prof Groß-Hardt described a new strategy for creating three-parent plants, allowing desirable aspects of three plants, rather than just two, to be combined in an offspring plant. It should also make it possible to combine plants even when they are only distantly related. Prof Groß-Hardt and her partners have a patent pending for the breeding method.


With the new funding, the team plans to implement the new method, focusing on climate-proofing potatoes and sugar beet. “Here in Bremen, we will additionally work on technologies [that] can increase the efficiency in creating and detecting three-parent plants,” Prof Groß-Hardt says.


The whole consortium will receive €2.5 million, with €1.6 million going to Prof Groß-Hardt and the Bremen team. This is not the first time she receives EU funding, securing first an ERC Consolidator grant in 2015 and then an ERC Proof of Concept Grant in 2020.
  (© Emilie Steinmark / AcademiaNet / Spektrum.de)

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