Early-career researchers are the future of a European Research Area

September 07, 2018

The John Innes Centre has formed an alliance with two other leading plant science institutes to promote the vision of a pan-continental European Research Area, and to strengthen research links across Europe. Together the three institutes to form a new partnership are: the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona, Spain; the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne; and the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

The new alliance will initially focus 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 arrived in Norwich this week, from Barcelona. Dr Inmaculada Ferriol-Safont is a post-doctoral researcher who will study the potentially devastating viruses of cucumber in the lab of Professor George Lomonossoff.

“I decided to take this opportunity because I believe that exchanging knowledge between different laboratories is a key point to grow and develop new skills as a scientist and as a postdoctoral researcher. During my stay at the laboratory of Prof. Lomonossoff our goal is to gain insight into the formation of virus-like particles (VLPs) of plant viruses infecting cucurbit crops. During my first week at the JIC and Norwich, everything has been very easy and everyone has been helpful and nice” said Dr Ferriol-Safont.

Early-career researchers from the three institutes are already planning a conference for their group in Catalonia in the Autumn of 2019, which will facilitate the building of many new networks for the future.

Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre, said: “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 José Luis Riechmann, Director of the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona 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 Miltos Tsiantis, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne said:  “We are delighted to have forged a research partnership with two European centres of excellence in biological sciences and look forward to rewarding interactions with both.”


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About the John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.

Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply our 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). In 2015-2016 the John Innes Centre received a total of £30.1 million from the BBSRC.


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 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.



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