ERA-CAPS: First Joint Call Launched

Bonn, (PresseBox) - The European Research Area Network for Coordinating Action in Plant Sciences (ERA-CAPS) has launched its first joint call for proposals. The call, entitled "Expanding the European Research Area in Molecular Plant Sciences", will fund high quality collaborative transnational research in fundamental molecular plant science to meet the European demand for innovation in the area.

The call welcomes applications from collaborative research consortia in any area of molecular plant science. Four themes have been highlighted as areas of particular interest: Food Security, Non-Food Crops, Adaptation to a Changing Climate, and Biotic/Abiotic Stress. Applications outside of these themes are also welcomed.

Plants are essential to human life, providing the majority of the food we consume. Plant sciences therefore face important challenges due to the increasing demands from a burgeoning world population. To guarantee food security, the world requires new ways to produce adequate and stable food supplies in an environmentally sustainable manner. The challenge for plant sciences is to further improve current knowledge of plant biology and agronomy, to increase crop yields and enhance the access to a far greater diversity of safe and nutritious food on a global scale.

Fifteen countries are contributing funds to the joint call: Austria (FWF), Belgium (F.R.S.-FNRS), Denmark (DASTI), France (INRA), Germany (DFG), Ireland (DAFM/Teagasc), Israel (MOARD), Latvia (LZA), The Netherlands (NWO), New Zealand (MBIE), Norway (RCN), Poland (NCBiR), Portugal (FCT), Serbia (MPNTR) and the United Kingdom (BBSRC). The NSF in the USA is running a parallel call through their Plant Genome Research Program that will allow US researchers to join consortia.

The call has a one-stage application process, and consortia must comprise research groups from a minimum of three different countries (at least two from the above list; however, partners from other countries must be able to fund themselves). The closing date for applications is 15 February 2013, and the total budget is around €20M.

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