Early career researchers are the future of a European Research Area

The John Innes Centre has formed an alliance with two other leading plant science institutes to promote the vision of a pan-continental European Research Area.

Joining the John Innes Centre in the new partnership are the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne.

The new alliance will initially focus on enabling graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to work together, share experiences and move between the three centres.

The first early-career researcher to move as part of the new alliance arrived in Norwich this week from Barcelona. Dr Inmaculada Ferriol-Safont is a post-doctoral researcher who will study the potentially devastating viruses of curcubit (cucumber) in the lab of Professor George Lomonossoff.

“I decided to take this opportunity because I believe that exchanging knowledge between different laboratories is a key point to grow and develop new skills as a scientist. During my stay at the laboratory of Professor Lomonossoff our goal is to gain insight into the formation of virus-like particles (VLPs) of plant viruses infecting cucurbit crops.” said Dr Ferriol-Safont
Early-career researchers from the three institutes are already planning a conference for their group in Catalonia in the Autumn of 2019, which will facilitate the building of many new networks for the future.

Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre, said: “The success of the John Innes Centre is built on our international workforce, our international collaborations and our international outlook.

“We remain committed to being part of an open and successful European Research Area. For that reason, I am absolutely delighted to join with two of our strongest peers in Europe to form this new alliance.”

Professor José Luis Riechmann, Director of the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona said “We are very excited about this initiative that will enhance the training and networking opportunities for young plant science researchers in Europe, and increase the research collaborations among JIC, MPIPZ, and CRAG.

“Given the importance of plant research for addressing many of the societal challenges that we will face in coming decades, Europe must stay at the forefront of plant science research, and we hope this initiative will significantly contribute to that aim”

Professor Miltos Tsiantis, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne said:  “We are delighted to have forged a research partnership with two European centres of excellence in biological sciences and look forward to rewarding interactions with both.

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