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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: PEOPLE-2007-1-1-ITN | Award Amount: 1.95M | Year: 2008

A future challenge for the European agriculture is to satisfy the growing demands for food in a sustainable manner. Understanding the basic mechanics of plant growth will ultimately lead to our ability to increase yield, while decreasing the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Plant growth is regulated by developmental programmes that can be modified by environmental cues acting through endogenous signalling molecules such as plant hormones. Brassinosteroids (BRs) are the growth-promoting polyhydroxylated steroid hormones of plants. BRs are implicated in multiple developmental processes and as such they determine important agronomic traits including biomass, crop yield, and stress and pathogen adaptation. In addition to the well-elucidated BR biosynthetic pathway, during the past decade a significant progress led to the identification of multiple BR signalling components. Despite this key issues remained unsolved. It is still unclear how BRs control growth, how the levels of BRs change throughout development and in response to environment and how different hormonal pathways interact within cells. It is still unknown if different signaling pathways mediated other non BRs effects and how the redundancy in BR signaling components fine tunes the pleiotropic action of those hormones. The BRAVISSIMO network will created a training programme which will guarantee the comprehensive education needed in future to establish a competitive and leading European science in the interdisciplinary field of plant signaling. BRAVISSIMO will strengthen the BR field of research in Europe and will increase its ability to compete effectively with non-EU researchers via coordination, integration and introduction of more interdisciplinary approaches.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2011

The main objective of BIONUT-ITN is to provide state-of-the-art training for young researchers in the highly strategic field of plant nutrition and productivity through an international programme of research, training and transfer of knowledge. The interdisciplinary training will include biochemical and genetic technology in the laboratory with field agronomy and high throughput phenotyping technologies, combining inputs from academia and industry. The training will be based around a research project which will address important biological questions using model plants and the major crop species, wheat and rice, with the overall goal of increasing the understanding of genetic control of nutrient use efficiency of plants and thus addressing one of the major challenges of European society, global food security. The overarching and long term scientific questions of BIONUT-ITN are: what controls nutrient use efficiency of plants and how can we use this knowledge to generate crop plants with optimised yields without increasing inputs? BIONUT-ITN addresses this by bringing together a group of world class researchers to adopt a multidisciplinary approach and to provide the necessary breadth of academic as well as industrial expertise essential to training and transfer of knowledge. The scientific themes providing the backbone of our training activities are (1) Genetic control of nutrient use efficiency, (2) Function of new genes affecting plant mineral nutrition, and (3) From the laboratory to the field. By bringing complementary intersectoral providers of research training together into a cohesive network, BIONUT-ITN will move the biologists working in the field of plant nutrition closer to the end-users of the research achievements including agroindustry, breeders and farmers and as a consequence, enhance the career prospects of the trainees.

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