Open Calls for proposals in the BreedingValue project: European berry breeders invited to apply for funding
The EU-funded research project BreedingValue, focusing on genetic resources in berries, has launched the first Open Calls for proposals. The Open Calls are a mechanism to transfer funding and knowledge from the project to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the field of berry breeding. With their launch, the project consortium, consisting of 20 partners from eight European countries, invites berry breeders from across Europe to test tools developed within the project. In turn, it allows them to explore the most promising genetic resources of their own breeding material.
BreedingValue aims to address the current berry breeding challenges for strawberries, raspberries and blueberries brought on by climate change, environmental preservation and the need for new cultivation systems as well as high-quality produce. The project will identify and introduce superior germplasm for European berry breeding programmes, as a valuable source to develop cultivars ensuring high yield combined with high sensorial quality by sustainable production methods under different climatic environments.
Throughout the course of the project, a total of four Open Calls funding a total of 14 projects have and will be launched. Following the idea of co-creation, the Calls will offer the opportunity to test, further optimise and validate the tools developed within BreedingValue. Open Call#1, Open Call #2 and Open Call#3 are set up to transfer new genotyping tools (sMTA, MAS, GWAS and genomic selection) to breeders, whereas Open Call#4 aims to train experts in sensorial quality assessments, quality control tools and consumer sciences studies.
The project coordinator, Bruno Mezzetti from the Università Politecnica Delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, underlines the importance of the participation of breeders in the project: “The involvement and interaction with the breeding community is fundamental for the success of the BreedingValue project. By launching the Open Calls, we establish a valuable connection between science and industry and transfer not only funding, but also cutting-edge expertise to the berry breeders. The breeders, in return, help us to test our tools and thereby will be an important part of the BreedingValue project.”
In brief, these are the objectives of the four Open Calls in the BreedingValue project:
Open Call #1 – opens in September 2021
The objective of the BreedingValue Open Call #1 is to share a low-density SNP array Marker tool developed within the BreedingValue project with breeders to enable them to do better Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) and pedigree analyses. In return, the results obtained by the breeders will allow the consortium to validate the low-density SNP array in larger genetic backgrounds. In the Open Call #1 the BreedingValue consortium will fund three projects with 20,000€ each. Open Call #1 is coordinated by the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE).
Open Call #2 – open from March 2021 to 30 June 2021
The objective of the BreedingValue Open Call #2 is to employ state-of-the-art methodology on breeders’ material and implement genomic selection to the breeders. This can help breeders to do selection in the early stages of their breeding programme, accelerating the generation cycles by identifying superior parents, and increasing the likelihood of identifying good candidates for advanced trialing. In the Open Call #2 the BreedingValue consortium will fund two projects with 20,000 € each. Open Call #2 is coordinated by the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO).
Open Call #3 – open from March 2021 to 30 June 2021
The objective of the Open Call#3 is to offer breeders an opportunity to screen and select their genotypes of interest against a suite of markers, which can help breeders to better select parental material depending on the trait of interest. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) delves further into the genetic variants within screened markers across different individuals to determine if any of these variants are associated with a particular trait or disease such as yellow rust susceptibility. In this Open Call the BreedingValue consortium will fund two projects with 20,000€ each. Open Call #3 is coordinated by the James Hutton Institute in the UK.
Open Call #4 – opens in July 2021
The objective of the BreedingValue Open Call #4 is to involve breeders and pre-breeders in a professional and scientifically sound training, propose and have practical experience in up-to-date sensory tests, learn the use of a specific lexicon to address and describe sensory attributes. The training will be applied to evaluate selected genotypes, proposed by the selected applicants. In the Open Call #4 the BreedingValue consortium will fund seven projects with 13,600 € each. Open Call #4 is coordinated by the Italian National Research Council: Institute of BioEconomy .