AgroBioInstitute

Sofia, Bulgaria

AgroBioInstitute

Sofia, Bulgaria

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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2011.3.5-01 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2011

The project aims at 1 providing baseline data on biodiversity in agro-ecosystems in the EU, 2 translating regional protection goals in measurable assessment endpoints, 3 defining lists of suitable bioindicators for various European regions, 4 improving knowledge on potential long term environmental effects of genetically modified plants (GMPs), 5 testing the efficacy of the EFSA Guidance Document (GD) for the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of GMPs, 6 exploring new strategies for post market monitoring, 7 estimating the compatibility of GMPs with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles implemented in the EU, 8 providing a systematic analysis of economical aspects of GMPs cultivation in the EU, and 9 setting a training and communication plan addressing public concerns about GMPs. The consortium includes 22 partners (Research institutes, Universities, State Agencies and SMEs) located in 15 EU countries and. An ICPC country (Argentina) will contribute in validating the monitoring methodology in areas where GM crops are cultivated on larger scales. A cornerstone is the application of the EFSA ERA GD, which is the basis for the update of the regulatory process of GMPs in the EU. The GD has provided ecologically sound principles for ERA, triggering the need of practically testing them. Partners of the consortium participated to the preparation of GD and 3 of them are senior authors of relevant chapters. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers. To be implemented in 4 years, the project estimated costs are 7779852.15 , requested grant 5997963 .


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2016 | Award Amount: 171.75K | Year: 2016

FRESH (Find Research Everywhere and SHare) is led by the Center for Research and Analysis with 13 partners and 5 associated partners. The Consortium includes Bulgarias first technological park, a chamber of industry and commerce, a pan-European organisation, leading research organisations, academia, and media. The aim is to create a series of participatory and media events to promote research careers, aimed in particular towards young people and their parents. Building on existing understanding developed through previous local initiatives including Researchers Night, and with reference to Europe-wide research like the Special Eurobarometer 401, as well as the MASIS report and the in-depth Education and Training Monitor 2015 for Bulgaria , the focus of this 20-month programme will be on enhancing the public understanding of and engagement with science. Core activities during the Night will include a digital participatory campaign to engage audiences across the country; international live streaming; science city quests and quizzes; science cafes; hands-on experiments; science shows; simulations; games and competitions. Thematic programmes will include, among other, food and nutrition, inspired by 2016 International Year of Pulses , engineering, oceanology, innovation and business incubators, technological transfer, medicine, and others. The on-the-ground activities will take place in the largest cities including several where Researchers Night has not been marked. Innovation will be an intricate part of the events through the use of online technology to enhance the physical activity, engage particularly young audiences and to guarantee sustainability outside the lifespan of the project. The activities of the first year will allow learning to accrue from a thorough evaluation. The project will strengthen the capabilities of the partners in organising events for a general audience, and for underserved audiences, including girls and people with hearing disabilities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.5-02 | Award Amount: 1.21M | Year: 2013

The objective of the PreSto GMO ERA-Net project is to clearly map out the steps needed to create and successfully implement an ERA-Net that will coordinate transnational research on the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the areas of human and animal health, the environment, and techno- economics and societies. The focus of the ERA-Net will be on GMOs intentionally released into the environment and/or used immediately in feed and food applications. PreSto GMO ERA-Net brings together ministries, agencies, and funding bodies from different Members States and the scientific community to jointly prepare a strategic plan and roadmap for the implementation of the ERA-Net. In addition, the ERA-Net will explicitly take into account the wider views of a diversity of stakeholders and end-users (e.g. non-governmental organisations, industry, farmers). This is intended to strengthen ownership of the ERA-Net among stakeholders in order to encourage participation of different scientific communities in the future joint transnational calls, to enhance collaboration between actors and to increase the accountability of research trajectories and outcomes. The results of the project will form the basis for a robust ERA-Net proposal. In achieving this the project work will (1) promote the accessibility of existing scientific information to interested stakeholders and end-users, (2) lead to the harmonisation of research requirements and capacity building within Europe, (3) complement international developments, (4) contribute to a more efficient use of research funds internationally and (5) identify how strategic collaboration can be used to respond to these future research and training needs through enhancement of durable partnerships.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.19M | Year: 2010

The QualiRedFruits project deals with the competitiveness of raspberry production and market. This market is in constant evolution due to consumer interest in the health benefits of antioxidant molecules (AOM) in raspberry fruits and public requirement for new fruit production technology safer for the environment. The aims of the project are therefore to identify raspberry varieties with higher quality in terms of AOM content and conceive innovative cultural practices respectful of the environment. It brings together 5 SMEs and 5 RTD performers with high expertise level in this area to reach the project objectives. Research activities will include screening of raspberry varieties for their AOM content and the development of new cultural practices involving the use of beneficial micro-organisms (biotisation) and of natural elicitors of plant defence reactions in order to drastically reduce chemical input and to increase AOM synthesis in raspberry. This will be associated with the development of a quality insurance scheme for raspberry plant production. Molecular markers will be designed for the specific identification of varieties together with a cryo-preservation protocol for germplasm long-term conservation. Molecular methods will also be developed for the identification of beneficial and pathogenic micro-organisms in order to assess plant sanitary status. All these approaches will be tested in real production trials, from in vitro culture to the field for their validation. Finally, recommendations for quality production of raspberry to SMEs will be drawn. The new technologies developed in this project will have an important impact on the production of raspberry fresh fruits of higher quality by the SMEs involved and will also impact the frozen and processed fruit market. The results from QualiRedFruits will therefore be the driving force to obtain competitive advantages for these companies on the European and International market.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.4-05 | Award Amount: 1.21M | Year: 2012

While there are many European scientific activities for each of the items related to either animal health or the occurrence of GM ingredients in animal feed, the proposed MARLON project will be unique in bringing these widely different fields of scientific expertise together for the cross-disciplinary task of developing an epidemiological model for the case-specific monitoring of potential health impacts of GM animal feeds in livestock. More specifically, the proposed MARLON project will create an inventory of which epidemiological and monitoring initiatives exist, both within and outside the EU, which could provide useful data for the purpose of monitoring for health impacts of animal feeds, in particular those containing GM ingredients, on livestock animals. It will also collate, in a systematized manner, information on the factors that have to be considered when developing an epidemiological model specifically geared towards this purpose. These factors include 1) the possibility to determine the exposure of animals to GM feed ingredients, 2) the health indicators that have to be considered for particular cases of health impacts identified during pre-market risk assessment of the GMOs, 3) the characteristics of the animal feed and livestock production chains. The project also will develop an epidemiological model specifically geared towards establishing links between measured health effects in livestock and their intake of GM ingredients from animal feed. As previously stated, there are many activities in the EU focusing on the specific items that together constitute the cross-disciplinary research within the proposed MARLON project, but so far none of them has done this in its totality for the specific purpose of linking health impacts in livestock to GM feed consumption. The proposed MARLON project is to take stock of these initiatives and assess the applicability of the data collected and/or generated by them for the purpose of case-specific monitoring.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.5-04 | Award Amount: 7.76M | Year: 2012

The project GRACE will a) elaborate and sustainably implement a transparent framework for the review of GMOs or GM food and feed effects on environment, socio-economics and health and b) reconsider the design, execution and interpretation of results of animal feeding trials as well as in vitro studies for assessing the safety of GM food and feed. The framework will create high quality reviewing processes for different fields of GMO impact assessment and address the need for a well documented, transparent and sustainable representation of these reviewing processes. This will provide valuable and accessible information addressing the main issues associated with GMOs and enabling risk assessors, managers, scientists and the general public to reiterate and update their evaluations and conclusions on GMOs. It will adapt recently elaborated methodologies for (systematic) reviewing of the risk assessment information of GMOs and derived food and feed. The quality assessment for all reviewed papers and studies as well as the reviews conducted by the consortium, will be referenced by an open access database and one-stop-shop for data and information relevant to GMO risk assessment. Animal feeding trials and in vitro studies will clarify and compare the scientific added value of 90day feeding trials with whole foods with advanced state-of-the-art analytical, in vitro and in-silico tools. Suitable animal GMO-feeding models will be investigated, that are based on European (EFSA) and international guidance, and the project will provide guidance for relevant, alternative in vitro cell-based approaches for specific topics within the overall food and feed safety assessment. Available standard or scientifically approved protocols form the basis of the investigations also in the case of the analytical, in-vitro and second in-silico approaches. GRACE will provide guidance for the use and improvement of existing and suggested assessment tools in the field of food and feed safety.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.1.2-04 | Award Amount: 8.49M | Year: 2013

The strategic goal of the project is to help the European vineyard sector facing the increasingly global competition by meeting: * Consumer demands for diversified high quality wines and concerns for food safety * Citizens requests for environment-friendly production systems involving decreased or no use of pesticides and spare of not renewable natural resources * Producers needs of plant material, tools and methods to help them cope with the negative impacts of climate change while responding to demands for quality, environmental friendliness and needs of profitability To reach this overall goal, the project will: * At the plant level, improve and design agricultural practices (canopy management, irrigation, fertilisation, training systems, pest and disease control, etc.) aimed at maximising berry quality, durable resistance to pests and and diseases, and adaptation to climate change (higher CO2, drought, UV light, and higher temperatures) * At the vineyard level, design, develop and test innovative agronomic systems integrating new agricultural practices and taking into account the variability of constraints met by European vineyards grown under a wide range of environments * At the breeding level, diversify grapevine varieties with regard to desirable adaptative traits building on tools and knowledge developed through international breeding and genomic initiatives. The project will combine short, medium, and long-term approaches to respectively conceive innovative viticulture systems, design and test novel agronomic practices and decision support systems, and exploit the genetic diversity of grapevine that all together will ensure a progress towards sustainable viticulture.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISSI-5-2015 | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2016

STAR BIOS 2 (Structural Transformation to Attain Responsible BIOSciences),coordinated by the University of Tor Vergata (IT), has been designed to respond to the Topic ISSI 5 (Workprogramme Science With And For Society). The general aim of project is that of contributing to the advancement of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) strategy, which underpins Horizon 2020, by promoting 6 Action Plans (APs) oriented to attain a RRI structural change in research institutions from Europe and developing 3 further APs in non-european entities, all active in the field of biosciences. This strategy is geared to cope more in general with one of the main risk, for European research, i.e., its inadequate connection with society, by promoting its increasing alignment, in terms of both process and outcomes, with the needs and values of European society. This entails, in the RRI perspective, an increasing involvement of stakeholders at any level of the research and innovation process. The project has three main focuses: 1) Develop RRI-oriented structural change processes in the already mentioned institutions involved in biosciences research. This aim will be pursued through designing, implementing and evaluating RRI Action Plans. In order to secure the results emerging from the APs, a sustainability strategy will be developed and implemented during the project lifespan. APs will be supported by a central technical assistance and the project will be monitored and assessed. 2) Develop a learning process concerning: a) resistances and barriers to RRI (which are they, how they manifest themselves, which impact they have, etc.); b) key factors favouring or supporting RRI; c) strategic options and RRI-oriented tools. 3) Develop a sustainable model for RRI in biosciences.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-2-15 | Award Amount: 9.60M | Year: 2009

The MAIN AIM of the proposed integrating project NUE-CROPS is to develop knowledge, models and tools required to (a) breed/select NUTRIENT USE EFFICIENT (NUE) CROPS and (b) integrate NUE-crops with AGRONOMIC INNOVATIONS to significantly reduce fertiliser use and associated negative environmental impacts of crop production, while maintaining or improving crop yield and quality. The consortium includes 10 academic centres of excellence and 3 large breeding companies in 6 EU member states, China (an ICPC region) and the USA. The strategic CONCEPTS/OBJECTIVES of NUE-CROPS are to support the: 1. DEVELOPMENT OF NUE-VARIETIES of 4 MAJOR EUROPEAN CROPS (wheat, oilseed rape, potato, maize) for different MACROCLIMATIC REGIONS. This will be based on (a) classical QTL identification methods, (b) association genetics approaches, (c) gene expression profiling (and where appropriate proteomic, metabolomic analyses and/or analytical transformation analyses) and (d) whole plant physiological studies. R&D activities will focus on the 4 major crops species, but deliverables from studies with model plants/crops (Arabidopsis, Brassica rapa, barley) will be used as genetic bridges for the genetically complex crops wheat and oilseed rape. 2. INTEGRATION of NUE-CROPS with INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT approaches (e.g. improved fertilisation regimes, rotational designs, winter cover crop use and, tillage systems). This will be based on: (a) field experiments to evaluate the impact of NUE crops under contrasting agronomic scenarios and (b) the construction/validation of models/algorithms for nutrient budgeting/precision farming systems 3. To ESTABLISH an EFFICIENT TRAINING and DISSEMINATION programme aimed at rapid exploitation and application of project deliverables in commercial crop production.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.34M | Year: 2009

Galanthamine is an alkaloid produced exclusively by plants of the family Amaryllidaceae, mainly belonging to the genus Galanthus, Leucojum and Narcissus. Owing to its acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity, galanthamine is used and marketed for the treatment of the Alzheimers disease, among others. Although it is obtained by organic synthesis, galanthamine is also being extracted from natural sources. Both Galanthus and Leucojum plants are very widespread in the Eastern European countries, whereas Narcissus plants are mainly distributed in the Mediterranean region. For industrial purposes, Leucojum aestivum plants are gathered from wild populations in their natural habitat, which causes increasing problems regarding quality of the plant material as well as depletion pressure on the natural populations of L. aestivum. By development of an in vitro production method, both problems will be overcome. Narcissus confusus, an endemic species growing in Spain, was found to produce around two-fold higher amount of galanthamine than L. aestivum. Both plant species will also be propagated and subjected to further agronomic studies for the initiation of new crops of highly galanthamine-containing plants. Integrating both research approaches, the initiation of new crops of L. aestivum and N. confusus and the establishment of the in vitro production method, will result in the development of a sustainable production method of galanthamine. Since galanthamine in Europe is produced by highly specialised SMEs, significant improvement in this field can only be achieved by cooperation on European level. The co-operative research implemented in the SUPROGAL project will thus markedly improve the competitiveness of the involved SMEs.

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