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Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties


04 Dec 2023


Climate & Environment

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change.

A decade after establishing World Soil Day on December 5, the sustainable management of this crucial resource is regarded by society as increasingly important to the sustainability of the environment and our well-being. Growing concern for biodiversity and food security have prompted the European Commission to reinforce the Horizon Europe research programme by funding projects like Root2Res, focused on crop systems ready for future environmental change, and consolidating them via Mission Soil. This month, these two initiatives settled, in parallel events in Spain, providing direction for the imperative collaboration among researchers and end users, namely breeders and farmers. 

As the multinational consortium Root2Res met in Santiago de Compostela, the project was also present at Madrid for the Mission Soil Week among other contributors and signatories. The inaugural year of Root2Res has been accompanied by the first results on root phenotyping, ideotyping, plasticity and modelling, with activities involving local stakeholders at core experimental sites in the United Kingdom, France, Slovenia and Morocco, and preparations for joint efforts with complementary projects in early 2024. The ultimate goal is to provide producers with stable yields and soils with improved properties, by developing tools that swiftly address root traits crucial to the tolerance against abiotic stress, specifically fluctuation in water availability. 

Although promising, the study of root systems is rapidly evolving, hence the importance of having local actors on board to bring their expertise, as breeders and agronomists, in order to develop and identify rotational crop cultivars for the European agricultural landscape of the next decade. Root2Res is a singular project in its approach and scope, requiring a complex collaboration of 22 partners across Europe and Africa, covering agroclimatic zones from temperate to mediterranean conditions. In that regard, the recent establishment of a Stakeholder Advisory Board with 8 members has contributed to both geographical and knowledge coverage. As for 2024, Root2Reslooks forward to stronger and wider links with the end users, and scientific innovation that together will help us move towards food security and preserved healthy soils.   

To know more about the project:

Project Coordinator: Jean-Pierre Cohan

Deputy Coordinator: Timothy George

To stay connected with the project’s news:

Root2Res is funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement n° 101060124



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