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The European technology platform on plant genomics and biotechnology: plants for healthy lifestyles and for sustainable development

Final Report Summary - TP PLANTS AND HEALTH (The European technology platform on plant genomics and biotechnology: plants for healthy lifestyles and for sustainable development)

The ultimate aim of the TP PLANTS AND HEALTH project was to establish a European Plant genomics and biotechnology platform (PGBTP), which would involve key stakeholders from academia, industry, the European Union (EU), Member States and citizens' representatives in order to play a key role in addressing societal concerns about plant biotechnology. The platform's main purpose would be to develop European plant science, genomics and biotechnology research policy options on plants for healthy lifestyles and for sustainable development. TP PLANTS AND HEALTH Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) leading to the year 2025 would describe a coherent research strategy to achieve implementation of the goals defined in the 'Plants for the future' vision paper, published in June 2004 that senior plant scientists from both academia and industry had developed with the assistance of the other stakeholders and the European Commission (EC), immediately before the start of this Specific Support Action (SSA). A second paper with a more detailed Action Plan of specific recommendations up to 2010 would also be developed. These would in turn help to steer the European plant science community's research and development programmes. The project had the following objectives:
- develop a long-term strategic plan for European plant genomics and biotechnology until 2025 based on the long-term vision paper;
- articulate an action plan for European plant genomics and biotechnology until 2010 based on the long-term strategic plan;
- provide European citizens with the choice of a healthier lifestyle;
- engage in constructive collaboration with policy makers in EU and at national levels to advise and offer support for implementation of the action plan.

The work performed contributed towards developing the following:
- a common vision for plant genomics and biotechnology research in the EU and a discussion of this amongst policy makers to develop coherent research policy measures;
- the recommended research priorities already highlighted in the stakeholders proposal for a SRA 2025 and action plan 2010 were already taken into consideration by academic and private research institutions, as well as by EC and MS government policy makers, in preparing the plant genomics and biotechnology component of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7);
- an increased interaction between the public and private plant genomics and biotechnology research sectors, with the aim of stimulating knowledge to be turned into innovation leading to increased productivity and competitiveness of Europe;
- a more balanced public debate recognising plant genomics, biotechnology, classical agricultural practices and organic farming all as natural and valid components of both research and application. All of them were recognised to contribute to major challenges for Europe's society and were, therefore, recommended as areas for high-level support from both the public and the private sectors.