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Pan-Euro Plant Genomics to Get $22.3M Boost for Collaborative Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A European plant genomics initiative backed by €15 million ($22.3 million) in new funding from nine different nations has put out a trans-national call for collaborative research proposals that will advance the field by integrating new technologies in new studies.
The European Research Area Network on Plant Genomics, or ERA-PG, recently launched its second call, which is focused on driving genomics-based technology forward and creating “a strong and competitive European bioeconomy,” ERA-PG said last week.
ERA-PG was conceived as a pan-European funding collaboration in 2004 under the European Framework Programme 6 ERA-Net plan, and in 2006 it issued its first call for applications to be supported by a total available budget of €35 million. That program aimed to satisfy different research interests, and covered 29 projects in Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Flanders, and Portugal.
Funders contributing to this program will include: Austria’s Federal Ministry for Science and Research; Belgium’s Flemish Government; Finland’s Academy of Finland; Germany’s German Research Foundation; Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Portugal’s Foundation for Science and Technology; the Netherlands Genomics Initiative and Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Canada’s Genome Canada may participate, although its involvement has not been confirmed.
The group said its ambition is to support a “broad and inclusive” range of studies, including applying genomics-based technologies to pursue questions that are relevant to the bio-economy it hopes to help cultivate.
ERA-PG’s areas of interest include feedstock modification; plant variation and biodiversity; development of protein crops; improved nutritional qualities in crops; food storage traits; quality modification for human and animal food; trees for fuel and fiber production; fuel sources and biodegradable packaging; environmental integration studies; and the development of genomic tools.
The group said it expects to fund projects for up to three years, but some exceptions may be made for projects requiring four years.
Pan-national and agency participation are central to the ERA-PG mission, and collaborative research projects will have some special conditions. For example, consortia seeking funding should consist of a minimum of three partners from three different countries.
Applications for funding are due on Apr. 2, 2008, and more information about the programs and guidelines can be found here.

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