Partners information


Fonds Zur Fördering Der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)

The FWF was founded by the Austrian government in 1968 as an independent and autonomous fund for the support and the promotion of basic research. The FWF is equally committed to all fields of science and the humanities and in all its activities is guided solely by the standards of the international scientific community. The FWF's corporate policy is to strengthen science and the humanities in Austria by funding high-quality scientific research, by supporting education and training through research and by fostering knowledge transfer and a science-friendly culture by means of an exchange between science and other areas of society. The aims of the FWF are the continued improvement of science in Austria and an increase of its international competitiveness, an enhancement of the qualifications of young scientists and a strengthening of the awareness that science represents a significant aspect of our culture.
The FWF, apart from the strategy and service departments, is organised in three operating departments: Humanities and Social Sciences, Biology and Medicine, and Natural and Technical Sciences. Funding follows to a large extent the bottom-up approach, applications are evaluated by international peer review of all proposals. The funding decision is taken by the FWF Board (5 times per year). All decision making bodies of the FWF are comprised almost exclusively of full professors at Austrian universities; representatives from the government have Observer status. With a staff of around 80 employees, the FWF processed close to 2.000 applications during 2010, with a final approval rate of 35% across all programs. In 2010, the FWF’s total budget amounting to 165 million EUR was provided to a wide extent by the government. 40% of the total financial support granted went to the life sciences (including medicine) and 40% to the natural sciences, followed by the humanities and social sciences with 20%. Of this about 50% is spent on individual research grants and 20% for Research Networks.
Since 1974 the FWF has been a member of the ESF (European Science Foundation). To promote transnational research cooperation the FWF has signed agreements (the D-A-CH Agreements) with the German DFG and the Swiss SNF. In recent years, the FWF substantially expanded its activities in the field of bilateral research cooperation (joint calls with a number of partner countries). Finally, the FWF participates in about 20 different ERA-NETs. As FWF favours the bottom-up approach, there is no thematic allocation of funds, but normally all topics concerning ERA-CAPs are funded within our broad funding portfolio. http://www.fwf.ac.at/en/projects/index.html Through FWF’s international funding activities 12-19 Mio Euro per year is dedicated for all different kinds of international and transnational projects and approximately 10-20 Mio Euro per year are allocated to projects in the research area of ERA-CAPs through the different funding programmes of FWF (awards, projects). FWF was a partner in ERA-PG and funded 2 projects with a combined estimated value €720.000.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Bettina Reitner is a trained aquatic microbial ecologist, who worked some years as Post- Doc at the University. Here at the FWF she is responsible for projects dealing with general biology, agriculture or ecology. She is also familiar with Eurocores (e.g. EuroClimate, EuroDiversity) and ERA-Net (EuroPolar), where she has been a member of Steering Commitees and Management Boards.


Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique F.R.S.-FNRS

The Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-Fnrs) is a research fundi ng agency that promotes and supports basic scientific research in the French-speaking community of Belgium. Founded in 1928, it mainly receives public subsidies, currently from the French-speaking Community of Belgium, the Walloon Region and the Federal Government of Belgium. The Fund supports individual researchers on the basis of the criterion of excellence by offering temporary or permanent positions; funding to research teams; grants and credits for international collaboration and scientific prizes. F.R.S.-Fnrs fosters research in all scientific fields, following a bottom-up approach of investigator-driven research. Further, the Fund supports researchers in an ever growing context of internationalisation through facilitating their mobility, allowing for collaborative transnational projects and supporting a high level international working environment. Since October 2008, Dr. Ir. Véronique Halloin is the Secretary-General of F.R.S.-Fnrs.

Activities relevant to Molecular Plant Sciences :

As described above, F.R.S.-Fnrs maintains a bottom-up strategy, which entails that researchers from all scientific domains are eligible to apply for funding. In 2009, the overall funding was of 155 M€. Public funding reaches 93% of this total. The financial support is mainly distributed between fellowships (mandates and research projects. Molecular Plant Sciences fall under the division of life sciences, exact and natural sciences and are supported through grants for collaborative research projects and support to individual researchers in the field. The division’s project budget accounts for about 11 % of the fund’s annual collaborative research budget of 45M€. In 2009, over 30 new projects were funded in the field of exact, natural and life sciences accounting for a total of 5.1M€, among which are projects in molecular plant sciences. Support to individual researchers of the division reaches 15% of the fund’s annual mandates budget of 97M€. Molecular plant sciences are in open competition with other scientific domains in the division and are also supported through grants for small and large equipment and mobility schemes.
The French-speaking research community in Belgium has shown a vivid interest in the theme of molecular plant sciences with research teams and academics involved at several universities and publications alike. To date, F.R.S.-Fnrs has participated in several ERA-Net Coordination Actions at various stages: drafting of new proposals, participation to joint calls, implementation of specific tasks, organisation of network activities and workshops and other related tasks.

Key Persons Involved :

The staff involved will be Mrs. Freia Van Hee, policy officer at the Unit of International and European Affairs as well Mr. Jean-François Chevalier, IT Technician Support will also be provided by the Evaluation and Strategic foresight Department at F.R.S.-Fnrs. Additional expertise will be provided by Dr. Claire Remacle, who is a Professor at the Institute of Botany and Director of the Genetics of Microorganisms research group of the Life Science Department at Université de Liège and is as such involved in molecular plant science research. She is currently the Coordinator of an FP7 supported Marie Curie Action also coordinates an FP7-KBBE research project: As a scientific advisor; she will contribute to defining the scientific content of several tasks.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

The DFG is the central public funding organisation responsible for promoting research in Germany. The DFG serves all branches of science and the humanities. Its activities focus on funding research projects by scientists working at universities or research institutes. Its legal status is that of an association under private law. DFG membership is made up of German universities, nonuniversity research institutions, scientific associations as well as the Academies of Science and Humanities. The DFG receives its funding from the federal (Bund) and state (Länder) authorities. The DFG promotes scientific excellence by funding the best research projects, following a bottomup approach of investigator-driven research. The vast majority of funds is directed towards unsolicited research proposals, which are selected on a peer review basis. In addition, the DFG advises parliaments and public authorities on questions relating to science and research. In all its programmes, the DFG actively promotes collaboration between researchers in Germany and colleagues abroad. Special emphasis is given to strengthening European cooperation. The DFG promotes the careers of young scientists by appropriate programmes.

Activities relevant to Molecular Plant Sciences :

The DFG funded the Arabidopsis Functional Genomics Network (AFGN) with an annual budget of ca. 2M EUR. AFGN, the largest initiative within the DFG’s plant genomics programme portfolio, started in 2001 and finished in 2010. It was tightly linked with the "Arabidopsis 2010 Project" of the National Science Foundation (U.S.A). DFG also participated in the two calls of ERA-PG, providing funds of 10M EUR in total. National coordinated research programmes in the area of molecular plant science/ plant functional genomics, each established for a 6- year period, include for example the Priority Programmes SPP 1149 “Plant Heterosis” (2003 – 2009), SPP1212 “Plant-Micro: Microbial Reprogramming of Plant Cell Development” (2007-2013), SPP 1529 “Adaptomics - Evolutionary plant solutions to ecological challenges: Molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive traits in the Brassicaceae” (2011-2017, annual budget 2.2M EUR), SPP 1530 “Flowering time control: from natural variation to crop improvement” (2011-2017, annual budget 1.9M EUR). The current annual budget for the unsolicited proposals in molecular plant science, agricultural and forestry research is about 40M EUR.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Dr. Catherine Kistner (DFG), DFG Programme Officer in the Scientific Affairs Dept., Life Sciences Division 2, responsible for Molecular Plant Science, i.e. research proposals and coordinated programmes in plant physiology, biochemistry and biophysics, molecular plant-microbe interactions, joint calls in plant genomics (e.g. ERA-PG, AFGN, ESF EUROCORES “EuroEEFG”). She represents the DFG in the ESF Member Forum on Peer Review. Dr. Kistner is a biochemist. She joined the DFG in 2002, after her postdoc time at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK. Research experience: plant molecular biology and biochemistry, abiotic stress, molecular plant pathology, plant symbioses. Task 4.4 (Sharing and Accessing Data Arising from ERA-CAPS Funding) will be supported by Dr. Katja Hartig, DFG Programme Officer in the Life Sciences Division 2 (plant developmental biology and genetics; forestry), who is responsible within DFG for data management and corresponding infrastructures in the life sciences.


Styrelsen for Forskning og Innovation (DASTI)

The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) is an agency under the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education. DASTI performs tasks relating to research and innovation policy. It also provides secretariat services and supervision to the scientific research councils which allocate funds for independent research, for strategic research and for innovation. Further the agency advises the political system and a key challenge lies in translating the high political prioritisation of research and innovation into growth, prosperity and cultural development in Denmark. The Agency is also responsible for organising the interaction between the agency itself, government ministries, the independent councils for scientific research and innovation, universities, other research institutions and private enterprises. The object is to create partnerships and alliances to strengthen the quality and relevance of Danish research. DASTI coordinates the ERA-NET on research within ICT and robotics in agriculture and related environmental issues (ICT-AGRI). DASTI is an active contributor to several KBBE ERA-Nets, notably EUPHRESCO, EMIDA and IB etc. and to several JPI’s including the JPI on Antimicrobial resistance and JPI for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Danish Council for Strategic Research (DCSR) is placed in DASTI. DCSR will be responsible for the Danish involvement in ERA-CAPS. The aim of DCSR is to ensure Denmark’s position as a global frontrunner regarding welfare, wealth and science in the short and long term. The Council consists of a Board and a number of programme commissions on specific research areas. DCSR doesn't have a specific budget dedicated to research on infectious diseases - applications on infectious diseases are evaluated in two programme commissions under DCSR (Programme Commission on 'Food, Health and Welfare' - 2011budget: 29 M€, and Programme Commission on 'Individuals, Diseases and Society' – 2011 budget: 25,7 M€). In 2011, 3.6 M€ were allocated to research related to infectious diseases.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Niels Gøtke is Head of Division in the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI). From 2003 until 2010 Niels Gøtke was in charge of research an innovation policies within the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Danish Food Industry Agency (DFIA). Niels Gøtke is the Danish representative in the SCAR Committee and in the KBBE-NET Plenary group. Niels Gøtke is member of the Governing Board of the JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change. Niels Gøtke has experience in the coordination and management of ERA-Nets. Niels Gøtke is the coordinator of the FP7 ERA-NET ICT-AGRI. He is the Danish representative in the Governing Boards of following ERA-nets: EUPHRESCO, EMIDA, RURAGRI and MariFish. Niels Gøtke has a M.Sc. in Economics.
  • Head of Section Anna Munck Laybourn works at the secretariat for strategic research within the Programme Commission on Health, Food and Welfare. Anna holds a M.Sc. in agronomy, and is specialized within plant interactions, protection and breeding. She has a background from an SME developing natural plant additives to agriculture, and from where she has experience in applying for transnational grants. Anna is experienced in coordinating trials, science projects and conferences. At DASTI, Anna is also the coordinator of a national cross-ministerial coordination group on bioeconomy initiatives.
  • Per Hasselholm Mogensen M.Sc. holds a M.Sc. in Biology from University of Copenhagen. He has good experience with project management and the ERA-NET programme from his time working as head of Section in the Danish Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Danish Food Industry Agency. He has been involved with arranging conferences and workshops and has good experience with the management of ERA-net budgets. Per Hasselholm Mogensen is currently working with the management and coordination of the ERA-Net ICT-AGRI within DASTI.


Estonian Research Council (ETAG)

The Estonian Research Council (ETAG, website: http://www.etf.ee), established in July 1990 by the Estonian Government, is an expert research funding organisation. In years 1990-2012, the organisation was named as the Estonian Science Foundation. Its main goal is to support the most promising research initiatives in all fields of basic and applied research including humanities and social sciences. ETAG uses state budget appropriations to award peer-reviewed research grants on a competitive basis. The Council is a private body fulfilling public functions, responsible to the Ministry of Education and Research. One of the priorities of ETAG is supporting young scientists and creating favourable conditions for their subsequent research work. A special programme My First Grant is launched for young researchers. Since 2005, ETAG has arranged the funding of post-doctoral research grants. Facilitating international collaboration of Estonian researchers with foreign colleagues is another priority of ETAG.
ETAG also represents the Estonian scientific community on an international level. ETAG is a member of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and a founding member of Science Europe.
Within the Framework Programmes (FP) ETAG has been a partner in several ERA-NET projects and is fulfilling rather demanding tasks in some of them. ETAG has made funding commitments in most of the mentioned ERA-NET joint calls. Also, it has funded the Estonian research groups successful in other joint calls but represented by some other organization.
On the local context we are funding promising investigator groups working on the fields related to plant biology and genomics. The funding reaches approximately € 0,6M annually.

Key Persons Involved :

  • MERILI ROOGER, holds a MSc from the Tallinn University of Technology. She is currently working as a chief specialist for the Expert Commission for Environmental and Biosciences. Her duties of work are mostly administrative and coordinative. She is also a representative of ETAG on international level in the fields of environmental and biological sciences.
  • MARGIT SUUROJA, MSc in Geology form the University of Tartu, works at the office of ETAG within the area of environmental and life sciences. She has good experience with project management of the ERA-Net projects (BONUS, AMPERA, BiodivERsA).
  • MEELIS SIRENDI, PhD, was the executive Board Member of ETAG in 2002-2010 and is currently working in ETAG as counsellor. Since 1999, he has been involved in the EC Framework Programmes as a PC member in food related thematic programmes. In ETAG, he is responsible person for ERA-NETs and other international issues.


Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)

The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) has taken all the R&D political responsibilities of the former Ministry of Science and Innovation, and which were distributed among other ministries in the past (mainly Education and Science, Health, and Industry). MINECO issues non-thematically oriented, bottom-up calls, and thus there is no specific programme on “Molecular Plant Sciences”. The general policy and strategy is defined, every four years, in the National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation. The Directorate General of Research manages yearly calls for proposals within the National Programme of Fundamental Research. Projects in Molecular Plant Science are mainly funded within the areas of Agrifood and Biotechnology. The annual budget for research proposals in this field has been around 12 M€ (9 M€ for national and 3 M€ for international programmes) in the last years. This budget does not include the salaries of the researchers, which are paid by the hosting institutions, or fellowships, which are covered by separate training and mobility programmes. The Unit for International Projects manages the National Programme of Internationalization, which includes funding of transnational calls within the ERA-NET scheme. MINECO has participated and/or participates in ERA-PG and in other ERA-NETs within the KBBE theme of the European Commission, like ERASysBio, ERASynBio, ERA-IB and FORESTERRA. The Spanish ministry is, together with its German and French counterparts, founder of the multilateral programme PLANT-KBBE for Plant Genomics, Biotechnology and Molecular Breeding.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Dr. David Gonzalez Martinez: Dr. Gonzales is a unit head at the MINECO's Directorate General for Scientific and Technical Research.  He holds a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Cadiz and the Spanish Research Council.  He has been a postdoc at the University College London and the University of Liège in Belgium from 2002 until 2008 in the field of life sciences.  Since 2006, he has gained a sound experience in project and programme management at the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Spanish Reserach Council and the Ministry for Economy and Competetiveness.
  • Dr. Ana María Barra Ahijado: profile to be completed.


Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

INRA, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (National Institute for Agricultural Research) is a major actor of agricultural research in Europe (the first in terms of scientific publications on plant and animal science and on agricultural sciences). INRA is placed under the aegis of both the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Its activity is defined through a quadrennial contract with these two ministries. The research conducted at INRA concerns agriculture, food, nutrition and food safety, environment and land management, with particular emphasis on sustainable development. INRA covers the whole field of agricultural research including environmental research, rural areas and rural development, food and nutrition and employs 10 200 people (among them 1,800 researchers and 1,600 doctoral students), in 14 scientific divisions. Its budget is around 700 millions €. INRA has a large and long experience of cooperation at the European and international level: it is involved in many European research projects and networks (more than 140) and is coordinating more than 40 out of them. It is also involved in coordination of national programmes (such as plant genomics). It runs strategic cooperation with other agricultural research organisations around the world and especially in Europe and with Brazil, China and India.
INRA has been involved as a partner or coordinator in the following ERA-NETs: ERA-PG: (plant genomics), EUPHRESCO (Coordination of European Phytosanitary Research), WOODWISDOM (Networking and Integration of National Programmes in the Area of Wood Material Science and Engineering) and EMIDA (Coordination of European Research on Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock), CORE ORGANIC, FORSOCIETY. Moreover, the French Institute of Biodiversity, a joint research unit of INRA, is coordinator of BiodivERsA (Biodiversity research). INRA currently coordinates ARIMNET and RURAGRI and participates in WoodWisdom II, CORE ORGANIC II and EUPHRESCO II. It also is co-coordinator, on behalf of the Ministry of Research and Education, of the joint programming initiative “Agriculture, food security and climate change”. INRA will represent France, on behalf of the French Ministries of Research and Education and of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Françoise Vedele : Initially trained in molecular biology at the Pasteur Institute, Françoise Vedele has focused her research career on nitrogen transport and assimilation pathways in higher plants. Since 2011, Françoise Vedele has been the deputy head of the Plant Biology Division of INRA. The division’s activities include the development of a research strategy in basic plant science (from plant major pathways to systems biology and modeling) and the management of 210 permanent staff working in 8 research units over the French territory. Françoise Vedele is also deputy director of the IJPB research unit (http://www-ijpb.versailles.inra.fr/), gathering more than 350 people working in plant biology, genetics and plant breeding.
  • Pierre Chilès: since 2004, Pierre Chilès is lawyer at the Unit of Contracts and Intellectual Property of INRA. He was involved as WP leader in the ERA-PG activities regarding the legal framework in which he drafted, with the help of the members of the IPR workgroup, the model of Consortium Agreement and Material Transfer Agreement of ERA-PG. He also participated in the SSA Epipagri for which he drafted a report on the collective management of public Intellectual Property. He has a Magistère and Master 2 in Information and Communication Technologies law and is currently performing a PhD in research law. He is guest lecturer on plant variety protection law at the Master 2 of research law and innovation valorisation of Poitiers’ University.

United Kingdom

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC )

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, www.bbsrc.ac.uk) is one of seven Research Councils that work together as Research Councils UK (RCUK). BBSRC is funded from the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the budget for the financial year 2010/ 2011 is £470M. It supports a total of around 1600 scientists and 2000 research students in universities and institutes in the UK.
BBSRC’s mission is to promote and support high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and postgraduate training relating to the understanding and exploitation of biological systems. To advance knowledge and technology and provide trained scientists and engineers, which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries (including the agriculture, bioprocessing, chemical, food, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other biotechnological related industries), thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom and the quality of life.

BBSRC provides competitive research funding to universities and academic institutions in the UK, but also supports a number of specialist research institutes and centres. The institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities and have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research. The institutes provide a strategic research capacity in plant and microbial sciences (the John Innes Centre), sustainable agriculture and land use (Rothamsted Research and IBERS), animal health and welfare, and biomedical and food sciences. The specialist centres include the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC), The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), and a number of systems biology and structural biology centres that are based in universities.

Support for Plant Sciences :

BBSRC is the principal funder of plant science research in the UK. This research is supported through a variety of mechanisms: Strategic programme grants to the institutes; Responsive-mode grants to universities and institutes; Directed initiatives such as the joint calls with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) on sustainable agricultural and crop research, and contributions to international programmes such as ERA-NETs and EUROCORES. Two of BBSRC’s top priorities are research underpinning Food Security (includes increased crop yields, harvesting natural diversity, and reducing the impacts of pests and diseases) and Bioenergy (includes second and third generation biofuels).

Key Persons Involved :

  • Dr Alf Game, Deputy Director: Research, Innovation and Skills. Over the last six years Alf has led the conception, funding and delivery of programmes to establish facilities and national research capability in genomics, stem cells, systems biology and, currently, bioenergy. He is also involved in various programmes to develop European- and international-scale activity in these fields, and to address the socio-economic, ethical and public perception issues surrounding them. His other recent scientific interests include crop science, genomics, bioinformatics, biodiversity and bioscience of ageing. Much of this work involves driving and managing the transition of biology to “big science” and equipping the UK bioscience community with the facilities, skills and working practices to tackle problem-oriented large-scale, integrated and interdisciplinary science.
  • Dr Rowan McKibbin, Deputy Head, International Relations Unit. Rowan has a degree in genetics and plant science, a PhD in molecular plant biology and spent several years as a researcher. Positions in BBSRC’s Head Office have been Programme Manager for Agri-Food, Senior Programme Manager for Plant and Microbial Sciences, then Deputy Head, International.
  • Dr Paul Wiley, Senior Programme Manager – ERA-CAPS, International Relations Unit. Paul obtained a PhD on grain texture in wheat at Rothamsted Research in the UK. This was followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Plant Industry division of CSIRO in Australia. Before joining the International Relations Unit, Paul worked in BBSRC’s Corporate Policy and Strategy group as a Data and Policy Analyst.


Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

As of June 2013, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA ATK) has joined the ERA-CAPS Consortium. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) operates the only full-time research institute network in Hungary and it is committed to the advancement, shaping and serving of science. Keeping the criteria of excellence in the forefront, the main responsibilities of the Academy, as the prime representative of Hungarian science, are to support and represent various scientific fields, and to distribute scientific results. MTA contributes not only to the organisation of scientific research in Hungary, but also aims to tying the connection between Hungarian and international research closer.
The Centre for Agricultural Research of MTA is the largest agricultural research complex in Hungary. Its mission is to focus on both valuable scientific achievements based on highly promising discovery research and applied research and development activities in the fields of agriculture, soil and environmental science as well as veterinary science. In terms of plant science the Centre’s focal points are plant breeding, molecular plant biology, plant pathology and plant stress resistance. The Centre will strengthen the activities of ERA-CAPS in Hungary by providing technical expertise to the Network as well as linkages to the Hungarian research community in plant science.

Key Persons Involved :

Ervin Balázs, scientific advisor of the Applied Genomic Department of the Agricultural Research Institute of MTA ATK at Martonvásár, Hungary, a former founding general director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Center Gödöllő, Hungary, leads a unit on molecular virology and genetic engineering of crops which also includes a service facility for plant breeders to use all current molecular tools. He spent several years abroad, working at Cornell University, Plant Pathology Department, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, then IBMC Strasbourg, France, at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland, and at INRA Versailles. He has been involved in exploring Cauliflower Mosaic Virus genome, including its promoters, and later he has developed a plant transformation vector based on 19S promoter of the virus. During the last two decades he has produced several transgenic virus resistant plants, such as tobacco, potato and pepper. Today he is further working on plant host - plant virus interaction and modeling, beside his effort on research of seed molecular biology. Recently he is leading a team working with Professor Vince Ördög’s institute staff on the molecular aspects of algae. He is an advocate of the introduction of the new technology into the daily agricultural practice and supports internationally harmonized regulation of the biotechnology. He published more than two hundred scientific papers. He has been awarded with Honorary Doctoral Degree at University of West Hungary. Elected to be member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and has been awarded with the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair (2001) and with the International Institute of Biotechnology (Royal Society of Arts, London) lecture award in 2005. Last year he was appointed as honorary professor at University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.


Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD)

Agricultural research in Israel is carried out by the public and the private sectors and is primarily funded by the public sector (85%), of which the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD; www.moag.gov.il) provides the major share (approximately € 50 millions in 2011, the major part of it associated with plant science research). Other sources of funding include national, bi-national and international funds. The farming sector funds research through the production and marketing boards, and the Farmers Organization. The private sector funds the other 15% of the agricultural research, which is carried out mainly by manufacturers of agriculturally related products (e.g. fertilizers, seeds, irrigation equipment, pesticides etc.) and is partially supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. MOARD Chief Scientist's major goals are to identify agricultural problems in which knowledge gaps exist, to determine research goals aimed to bridge such gaps, to fund such research activity and to monitor research performance. Financial support is given for research programs within ministry units as well as to universities and other research centres.
The major subjects that are currently supported and controlled by MOARD Chief Scientist are:

  • Agricultural biotechnology and its regulation.
  • Animal and Aquaculture production.
  • Coping with foreseen agricultural threats arising from possible future climate changes.
  • Economical, marketing and rural development policy.
  • Food safety and quality.
  • Horticulture and ornamental molecular and conventional breeding and production of new varieties for exportation.
  • Irrigation and water management (potable; brackish; recycled; desalinated).
  • Marketing driven R&D for new agricultural products.
  • Organic farming.
  • Pest management aimed at reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Post harvest improvement of shelf-life and surface transportation of exported fresh agricultural products.
  • Reducing man-power needs by improved and innovative technologies.
  • Sustainable agriculture


Key Persons involved:

  • Dr. Yuval Eshdat, Chief Scientist of MOARD (in ERA-PG: NSC, national coordinator, call coordinator).
  • Dr. Orit Shmueli, MOARD, assistant of the Chief Scientist (in ERA-PG national contact person).
  • Dr Avihai Perl, Principal Scientist, The Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet-Dagan Israel (Scientific representative, plant molecular breeding).


Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca (MIUR)

Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) is the Ministry that supports and coordinates most of the research in Italy, basic and applied. All State Universities and a number of large research organizations, such as the National Council for Research (CNR) are supported by, and under the control of MIUR. MIUR also supports research of other organizations, through the launch of open national and international research programmes. Consequently, the range and variety of research activities in MIUR-supported/ controlled laboratories is quite vast, and will definitely include those that could be foreseen by the ERA-Net in Plant Molecular Sciences. MIUR participated in the ERA-Net on Plant Genomics, contributing 3 million Euros to support 6 transnational projects.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Signatory of the letter of intent:
    Dr. Mario Alì
    Direttore Generale
    P.le J.F.Kennedy 20
    00144 Roma
    phone: +39. 06.58497585; +39. 06.58497744; +39. 06.58497327
    e-mail: mario.ali@miur.it
  • Member of the Steering Committee:
    Ms. Maria Uccellatore
    Dirigente Uff.III
    P.le J.F.Kennedy 20
    00144 Roma
    phone: +39. 06.97727639
    e-mail: maria.uccellatore@miur.it
  • Scientific representative and contact person:
    Prof. Paolo Costantino
    Dpt. Biologia e Biotecnologie
    Università La Sapienza
    P.le A. Moro 5
    00185 Roma, Italy
    phone: +39.06.4455344; +39.06.49912411
    mobile: +39.328.1991006
    e-mail: paolo.costantino@uniroma1.it


Latvijas Zinatnu Akademija (LZA)

The Latvian Academy of Sciences (abbreviated in Latvian - LZA) is Latvia’s national academy of sciences dedicated to the promotion of science and high-quality research, the study and development of the history, culture, language of Latvian people and the state, Latvia’s natural resources and environment. The Latvian Academy of Sciences (hereinafter – LAS) takes active part in the development of science policy of Latvia and consultation the government in matters of science. The LAS takes care about publishing scientific literature, organization of scientific conferences / seminars, popularization of scientific achievements, maintenance of international contacts of Latvian scientists, protection and maintenance of research ethics, discussion principles and traditions. The LAS is an autonomous legal entity; and executes its obligations and taskwork assigned by the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) on the basis of an agreement with the ministry, thus being partly funded by the Ministry.
The LAS is involved in the designing of Latvia’s science strategy, and evaluation and monitoring of state research programs and projects. Under the supervision of the MoES the LAS is involved in the management of some state research programs according to the research priorities approved by the Government for each four years. MoES has delegated the LAS, since 2008, to implement the ERA-net projects of FP7 in Latvia. The LAS is the partner in the following ERA-net projects: Matera+, SmartGrids, Ruragri, ICT-Agri, Wood-WidomNet-2, EuroNanoMed, Priomedchild. Apart from this, the LAS represent the national government also in COST, EUREKA, European Joint Initiatives, Eurostars and BONUS programs.
Studies in plant science are carried out in the framework of the National Research Programme "Sustainable use of local resources (underground, forests, food and transport): new materials and technologies" (2010-2013).
In addition, several grants (competitive) are conducted in plant sciences including:

  1. Vascular plant flora and vegetation in Latvia;
  2. Identification and functional characterization of molecular mechanisms of hypersensitive response and disease resistance in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.);
  3. Biological diversity at genetic, species, ecosystem and landscape levels;
  4. Adaptive changes of genetic polymorphism of cultivated plants under selection and environment influence;
  5. Biological plant protection, maintenance of biological diversity and plant mineral nutrition under conditions of global change.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Gunars Lacis holds a Ph.D in genetics and breeding from the Swedish University of Agriculture and M Sc. in biology from the University of Latvia. He is an expert in the molecular biology and genetics of horticultural crops, evaluation, characterization and management of plant genetic resources. Over the five years he has been involved in Latvia genetic resources coordination as a member of the Council of Genetic Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Anita Draveniece holds a Ph.D and MSc. in geography from the University of Latvia. She is working for international research collaboration at the LAS, which includes cooperation with learned societies, scientific unions and associations and representation of science of Latvia in international scientific organizations. She has been working as a program officer for bilateral scientific collaboration programs in the frames of bilateral inter-academy agreements. Over the recent six years she has been involved in analysis and reporting on issues dealing with R&D system and policy in Latvia and over the same period is leading the group of international relations of the LAS. Over the last decade she has been involved as a coordinator in execution of one international project and several national research grants. Dr. A. Draveniece is an expert of the Latvian Council of Science.


Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)

NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, promotes (the quality of) basic research at Dutch universities and research institutes. A key element in this endeavour is delivered through Open Competitions, with the best proposals in such a round receive funding. NWO is mainly funded through the national government (~600 M€ annually). Its predecessor was established by an Act of Parliament 60 years ago. The organisation comprises eight research divisions, among which is the division for Earth and Life Sciences. NWO is an active participant in several international activities like being a member of the European Science Foundation and EUROHORCS. Plant Science fits very well within the Dutch research strategy and in 2011 the Netherlands’ government has declared Horticulture and Agrofood as an economic priority area. On the one hand, through Open Competitions over all scientific disciplines, NWO provides basic funding for innovative applications. Applications in the field of plant sciences prove to be very competitive and successful in this respect. Complementing the Open Competitions, are the thematically focussed initiatives. The Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) for instance, supports plant genomics, performed at the Centre for BioSystems Genomics (CBSG) by 4 M€ a year. Other initiatives, like its Systems Biology programme CSBR may result in major plant science initiatives, as well. Traditionally, the Netherlands are very much involved in plant breeding. As a consequence Dutch research are interested in a wide range of plant biotechnology research. Another consequence is the private sector being strongly involved in research, for instance within CBSG and the Technological Top Institute for Green Genetics (TTI-GG). All these activities rely heavily on sharing and exchanging facilities with partner countries, mostly within Europe.
The NWO division Earth and Life Science and the TTI Green Genetics implement a joint fundamental plant science research programme. The Dutch Graduate School ‘Experimental Plant Sciences’ also is financed by NWO, resulting in PhD students receiving a state of the art education. In total NWO and NGI provide an estimated 6 million Euros per annum to fund plant science initiatives that, in competition with other proposals, showed most scientific promise. NWO has been involved in approximately 20 ERANETS in FP6 and participated in about 10 transnational calls, in 4 of these NWO ran the secretariat and organised the peer review procedure for the common call. NWO participates annually in 3-4 calls of the transnational ESF EUROCORES scheme.

Key Persons Involved :

is director of the division for Earth and Life and also responsible for the NWO theme ‘Systems Biology’. He is a member of the ESFRI road map working group for Environment. He is also involved in several ERA-nets within the life sciences.

  • Dr. Frans Martens is director of the division for Earth and Life and also responsible for the NWO theme ‘Systems Biology’. He is a member of the ESFRI road map working group for Environment. He is also involved in several ERA-nets within the life sciences.
  • Dr. Theo Saat is senior programme manager at the Division Earth and Life Sciences for a.o. plant sciences, He is manager for the national programmes “Centres for Systems Biology research” and ”Ecological Risks of Genetically modified Organisms (ERGO)”. He also participates in management committees of several ESF Eurocores in the biological field.


Norges Forskningsrad (RCN)

RCN has an annual budget of more than 600 million EUR and plays a central role in Norwegian research. The mandate of RCN is to promote and support basic and applied research in all areas of science, technology, medicine and the humanities. Important goals include raising the general level of the understanding of research in society as a whole and supporting innovation in all sectors and branches of industry. The Research Council of Norway is a strategic body which identifies areas of special effort, allocates research funds and evaluates the resulting research. RCN is the principal research policy adviser to the government, and it acts as a meeting-place and network-builder for Norwegian research.
RCN is organized in four research divisions, one division for administrative affairs and one international unit organised directly under the Director General. RCN carries the national responsibility for the management of EU framework programmes for research and technological development. The broad thematic and horizontal approach of the framework programme is reflected by the way EU-R&D-management is organised in the Research Council: departments being responsible for national R&D-programmes also host contact points for the respective activity in the framework programme. In addition to providing information and guidance to Norwegian stakeholders from industry, academia and authorities on European collaborative research, the Research Council also plays a role as an entry point for researchers and students from other countries.
Plant molecular science has been funded by two major national activities. Firstly, our national strategic program on functional genomics (FUGE) for the past 10 years, and, secondly, by ouropen arena for basic research. We are currently working out a new strategic research program,and expect plant biotechnology to be part of this program. Although the part of the program dedicated to plant biotechnology is still uncertain, we believe that we and our researchers will benefit from participation in ERA-CAPS. RCN also supports relevant research through independent programs such as The Food Program, Nature-based Industry, and Clean Energy for the Future.

Key Persons Involved :

The person in charge for the ERA-NET ERA-CAPS is Senior adviser Dr. Monica Bergem. She holds a MS in plant sciences and PhD in molecular genetics. She is currently the program coordinator of our national strategic program on functional genomics51. The high level group representative will be Dr. Kristin Danielsen, director of the dept. of the Knowledge-based Bio-economy at RCN. She holds a PhD in animal nutrition and is administrative responsible for several national research programs related to the knowledge-based bio-economy (food and non-food) and biotechnology.

New Zealand

Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI)

The Foundation for Research, Science & Technology is the main science funding agency for new Zealand. It invests approximately €250 million a year in science and technology research on behalf of the New Zealand Government. The investments cover a range of areas that support New Zealand’s economy, environment and society. A key area is research into solving the productivity, sustainability, product quality and market access challenges that face New Zealand’s bio-economy. From forage development for the pastoral livestock production to quality-enhanced fruit, vegetable and forestry varieties, plant molecular science is a important component of this research and covers a range of activities including genetics, genomics and use of this information in biological systems.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Dr Prue Williams
    Chief Science Advisor
    Dr Prue Williams (BAgrSci(hons), PhD) is the Chief Science Advisor to the Foundation for Research, Science & Technology. She has a twenty year career in research followed by six years of research management experience. Her current role is to provide advice on science quality, international linkages and research capability that is used in funding decisions.
  • Dr Williams has been involved with EU Framework 6 and 7 Programmes since 2003 as an evaluator and expert. She was part of a New Zealand consortium that participated in a very successful FP6 Specific Support action project (Food FRENZ) that brought together researchers from Europe and New Zealand to develop collaborative links on animal welfare, sustainable production, food safety and personalised foods.
  • Suzanne Bertrand, Director International Linkages, Ministry of Research, Science & Technology.
  • Karla Falloon, Science Counsellor, Ministry of Research, Science & Technology.


Narodowe Centrum Badan I Rozwoju (NCBiR)

NCBiR is a Polish government-funded agency that operates since July 1, 2007. The total budget of NCBiR in 2012 is going to reach the level of over 1 billion €. The main task of the NCBiR is to manage and implement strategic scientific research and development programmes. The tasks of the NCBiR include support for commercialization and other forms of transferring the scientific research results to the economy, ensuring solid conditions for scientists development, particularly the participation of young scientists in research programmes and implementation of international scientists mobility programmes. In addition, the NCBiR implements the tasks commissioned by the Minister of Science and Higher Education. In 2007 it was granted ERA-NET and EUREKA projects and asked to supervise contracted research projects. NCBiR is presently involved in over 20 various ERANET projects.

Key Persons Involved :

  • Aleksandra Moscicka-Studzinska, is a Project Coordinator in the Section for research programmes BIOMED and is involved in the area of biotechnology, genetic engineering and biomedical engineering. She’s been in the NCBR since 2007. She has an experience in cooperation within ERA-NET and ERA-NET PLUS scheme projects. At the national level participates in Innovative Medicine Programme. She has got M.Sc. Eng. degree in Industrial Biotechnology from Warsaw University of Technology and is involved in researches on drug delivery systems.
  • Edyta Roman is an Officer in the Department for Applied Research Programmes, Section for research programmes BIOMED. She holds M.Sc. in Biology in the field of environmental biology. She’s in charge of administrative aspects of projects.


Fundacao Para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT)

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) is the Portugal’s main funding agency for research and it is responsible for following the bilateral and multilateral international agreements in science and technology. FCT is a public autonomous institute under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and Science-. FCT covers all fields of science, from natural sciences to humanities, normally in a responsive mode, aiming at capability enhancement and research excellence.
FCT’s mission consists in continuously promoting the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge in Portugal, exploring opportunities that become available in any scientific or technological domain to attain the highest international standards in the creation of knowledge, and to stimulate their diffusion and contribution to improve education, health, environment, and the quality of life and well being of the general public. This mission is mainly accomplished through the financing subsequent to the evaluation of the merit of proposals presented by institutions, research teams or individuals in public open calls, and also through cooperation agreements and other forms of support in partnership with universities and other public or private institutions.

FCT’s budget for 2011 was around 470 million €. Funding is structured around the following schemes: promotion of training and career development (fellowships, scholarships, mainly for PhD, Post-doc and PhD in industry), support of centres of excellence (associated laboratories) and research centres (institutional funding), support to infrastructures, promotion and development of scientific activity (research projects) and for diffusion of scientific culture.
FCT’s research programme supports competitive research activities that for evaluation and management purposes are sub-grouped in thematic areas. Research on Molecular Plant Sciences is considered under the “Agronomy and Forestry” and “Biological Sciences and Biothecnology” sub-programmes. Moreover in 2009 a call was launched for the “Isolation and Characterization of the Quercus suber ESTs”, this call is the first step of an initiative aiming to producing the Quercus Suber DNA chip. FCT also provides the institutional framework for the Research Councils. The Research Council for Natural Sciences and Environment will be in the future the main responsible for setting up priorities and propose specific research programs in Biodiversity research. FCT has experience in coordinated actions at national level (join calls with other Ministries) and at the European level; FCT participates in several ERA-Nets coordinated actions.

Key Persons Involved :

The key persons to be involved in ERA-CAPs on behalf of FCT is Catarina Resende who is responsible for the project management of the Bio-cluster of ERA-NETs at Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). She has a MSc. in Biology, and studied at the University of Lisbon. She got her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Lisbon. Dr. Resende performed postdoctoral studies at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Marie Curie fellowship), and at EMBL, Heidelberg (FCT fellowship). Since 2006 she is manager of Science and Technology at Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).


Ministarstvo Prosvete i Nauke (MPN)

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the implementation of the National Research Programs. The Department for Technological Development of the Ministry conducts activities related to: monitoring in relation to technology and technology solutions, technology programs and projects, industrial research, innovation programs, knowledge transfer and technology with innovation and regional development, cooperation between science and economy, innovation centres (science parks, technology parks, scientific and technological parks, incubators of technology companies, centres for technology transfer and business innovation centres), involvement in making the certificate for the application of technology and technological solutions and work related with the normative regulations. Technological Research projects are financed from the budget which is annually adopted and planned for 4 years. The planned budget for 2011 for the Technological Programs is around 2.500.000.000 RSD, of which around RSD will be for Plant sciences projects. A second national program is the Basic Sciences program with a budget of RSD which will devote around 168.000.000 RSD for research projects in the field of Plant Sciences.

Previous experience:

The Department for International Cooperation and European Integration, within the Ministry, administers activities linked to RTD activities on EU and international levels and manage the FP7 NCP network. The Ministry is one of the project partners in WBC-INCO.NET, with the main objective to coordinate Research Policies in the Western Balkan Countries. The Ministry participate(d) in 8 FP6 SSA projects and 12 FP7 projects, and supported activities in several other FP7 projects as advisor or data provider.

Key Persons Involved :

  • NEDOVIĆ, Viktor. Born in Serbia, in 1964, PhD in Biotechnology. He is a professor at Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade. His present position is assistant minister in the Ministry of Science and Technological Development. He is responsible for conducting the Ministry’s policy in terms of international cooperation in science and technology. His portfolio comprises the country’s association to the Framework Programme 7, support for the inclusion of research institution in the FP7 projects, international bilateral and multilateral cooperation, EU integration process, CARDS/ IPA funds in RTD, EUREKA, COST and other EU programs in Science and Technology, NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, nuclear safety, country cooperation with IAEA etc.
  • DUKIĆ, Željka. Born in Croatia, in 1974. She graduated in Biology (MSc) at the University of Belgrade. Ms Dukić is adviser in the Ministry of Science and Technological Development. She is mainly responsible for coordination of the program of EU in the field of Health, Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology and INCO. She is involved in European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research (COST) and bilateral scientific program with several European countries.

United States



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