The birth of the Italian Technology Platform "Plants for The Future"

The establishment of the European Technology Platform "Plants for the Future" represents an important opportunity for relaunching plant research, a sector that is often neglected in funding under the VI and VII framework programme. This has led to a serious delay in advanced plant research compared to other industrialised countries and emerging economies.

In future, national and European economic development will increasingly depend on the competitiveness of its agro-industrial and agri-food chains, including renewable energy sources deriving from vegetable oils and biomass. An equally important role, above all in the light of the climate changes that are increasingly affecting our farming system, will also be played by the sustainability of agricultural practices and their impact on the territory. In this context, the "Plants for the future" technology platform is leading the field for defining the guidelines for agro-industrial and agri-food research in the VIII Framework Programme funded by the European Union. In order to promote plant research nationally, from 2007 the University of Bologna has been promoting the creation of the national Technology Platform (PT) "Plants for the future" (IT-Plants) to support the European platform.

IT-Plants has the following objectives:

  • to involve the world of industry to play an active part in the national PT, particularly concerning the definition of practical objectives
  • to stimulate a strong alliance and common strategies with other universities and national research centres in the sector to create synergies among all stakeholders in the supply chain, in order to establish a nation-wide critical mass
  • to foster a network of cooperation between industry, university, public and private research centres, associations, consortia in the agri-food sector
  • to work as an interface for other national PTs in the Knowledge-Based – Bio-Economy area (Food For Life, Forestry- based Sector, SuSChem, Biofuels and Global Animal Health) to enhance the complementarities and specificities of each PT in proposing topics of interest at national and Community level.
  • to work at Ministerial level to suggest areas of national/European interest in which strategic research programmes can be developed for national agriculture.

Following the establishment and launch of the PT on 17 June 2008 at the National Academy of Science in Rome, through national consultation the Executive Committee and Scientific Council drafted a Vision Document and an Implementation Action Plan for the PT, the texts of which are available in the archive.