INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

Annual Meeting 2023 – the INCREASE consortium meets in Gatersleben

From 18-20 July 2023 the INCREASE consortium came together for their annual meeting at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben, Germany.

The Coordinator Roberto Papa opened the meeting and presented an overview on the project’s progress and major achievements so far. This was followed by a presentation and a discussion round on data management and the INCREASE database, a central success factor of the project. The afternoon of day one was dedicated to joint sessions with the AGENT project, represented by AGENT Coordinator Nils Stein. AGENT is funded under the same call as INCREASE and both projects exchanged views on common topics, such as data management or the identification of duplicates, as well as potential synergies. The day concluded with a cozy summer barbecue in the IPK garden.

The second meeting day comprised scientific talks on INCREASE activities, ranging from results of the maize-bean intercropping experiments over the application of Artificial Intelligence in phenotyping to metabolomics and nutritional quality analysis. The programme was enriched by an exploitation workshop, in which the partners jointly discussed how INCREASE assets such as the Citzen Science App can be protected, sustained and further utilised after the end of the project. A highlight of the day was the visit of the IPK gene bank, the biggest gene bank in Europe, where many pictures were taken with the impressive bean collection. In the evening, the INCREASE team had the chance to discover the medieval town of Quedlinburg in a guided tour and enjoyed a hearty dinner in the local brewery.

The last meeting day had a focus on participatory science and the meeting was open to participation of INCREASE Stakeholders. A team of the University of Bonn joined the meeting in person and presented their research project on “SmartBeans” for which they had received INCREASE bean seeds. Other Stakeholders attended the meeting virtually. INCREASE partners gave further talks, amongst others providing insights on initial results of the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment, and project representatives from different countries united for a panel discussion on learnings from the Citizen Science communication campaigns. The meeting ended with a guided visit of the IPK phenotyping facilities, including the world-wide unique PhenoSphere.

The INCREASE consortium thanks all attendees and contributors of the meeting. A special thanks goes to IPK for the fantastic meeting organisation.

Coordinator Roberto Papa opens the meeting

Group picture with AGENT Coordinator Nils Stein

AGENT Coordinator Nils Stein presents his project

Summer barbecue in the IPK garden

Visit of the IPK genebank - cold storage room

Visit of the IPK genebank - herbarium collection

Guided tour around Quedlinburg

Joint dinner with INCREASE Stakeholders in the local brewery

Group picture with INCREASE Stakeholders

Panel discussion on Citizen Science communication campaigns

Visit of the IPK phenotyping facilities - PhenoSphere

Visit of the IPK phenotyping facilities - automated plant phenotyping

IPK lecture hall