On March 25th, 2021, COST Action iPlanta, Modifying plants to produce interfering RNA is organising its final conference to highlight contribution of RNAi to sustainable agriculture, food safety and security.
The aim of the meeting is to create links with a range of stakeholders to develop the discussion on how RNAi technology can contribute towards sustainable agriculture, horticulture and food production in line with the EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategies.
The final conference will be the opportunity to summarize the activities carried out by the iPlanta COST Action over the last 5 years. The activities of the first 4 years were very intense with the organization of many meetings and training activities, scientific exchanges, and dissemination. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic context, numerous initiatives were impacted and affected our planned programme. Consequently, networking activities and projects were conducted remotely through Webinars.
The recent iPlanta webinar series were very successful, expanding the network of contacts of the COST iPlanta Action to more than 1000 experts and stakeholders around the world. This success was achieved thanks to the members of the project who organised and contributed to the webinar programmes, and the speakers who brought their experiences and skills clearly to all the participants.
The programme of the final conference will include summaries of the main scientific and socio-economic issues from each webinar. These issues will lead to discussions on the future of RNAi technologies for research (Priority area of research for RNAi technology) and for application in sustainable agricultural systems (Future vision on RNAi technology in Sustainable agriculture).
During the Conference there will also be presentations on:
• A new book entitled: RNAi for Plant Improvement and Protection, edited by Bruno Mezzetti, Jeremy Sweet and Lorenzo Burgos containing 16 chapters written by experts of iPlanta network, focused on RNAi technology, potential applications, biosafety of new RNAi based products/plants, socio-economical impacts and communication:
• A multimedia video describing the RNAi technology and the potential impacts on agricultural systems, with a particular focus on the EU Green Deal Policy: A multimedia video, on the main outputs and messages emerging from the webinar series.
• The preliminary results of the RNAi based solutions – stakeholders survey developed by iPlanta to collect information on stakeholders' perception of RNAi based solutions and understand the scenario for the development of this new technology in the European Union. For this reason, any type of stakeholder from the EU agricultural sector (scientists, farmers, food producers, members of institutional body, consumers but also journalist/communicators) is welcomed to participate to the survey1 . All response will remain confidential and anonymous.
This event was planned to be held in Valencia (SP) and we thank the colleagues who prepared for this event. Unfortunately, restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaching end of the iPlanta project, meant that the conference has to be online. This will have the advantage to have many more people connected. We hope that soon we will all be able to return to normal life and meet together, maybe even in Valencia, to give continuity to what we started with the COST-iPlanta network.
Bruno Mezzetti, Action Chair, IT, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://iplanta.univpm.it
Jeremy Sweet, Action Vice Chair, UK, email@example.com
Guy Smagghe, WG Chair, BE, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Lorenzo Burgos, SP, email@example.com
Antje Dietz-Pfeilstetter, WG vicechair, GE, firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Matthias Fladung, GE, email@example.com
(1) RNAi based solutions - stakeholders survey: https://forms.gle/maBmY4dGkEzF6p5B6.
This publication is based upon work from COST Action iPlanta, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).
Note for Editors.
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career, and innovation.