CORDIS - EU research results

Designing InnoVative plant teams for Ecosystem Resilience and agricultural Sustainability

Project description

Pioneering plant teams for sustainable agriculture

In response to the challenges facing modern agriculture, the EU-funded DIVERSify project has united experts from various fields to enhance agricultural productivity while ensuring long-term sustainability. Specifically, the project will investigate the mechanisms behind the benefits of cropping plant teams and develop practical solutions for improved yield stability, diversification, and environmental resilience. Focusing on both arable and grassland systems, the project will identify the best practices for plant teams by engaging with agricultural practitioners, consulting scientific literature, and experimentation. It will also strive to understand the ecological principles that promote positive plant-plant and plant-environment interactions. The overall goal is to enhance productivity, pest and disease control, and environmental sustainability by using scientific and tacit knowledge to tackle real-world challenges.


DIVERSify is a consortium of scientists, farmers, advisors, breeders and SMEs to co-construct a new approach and tools to investigate the mechanisms underpinning the benefits associated with cropping plant teams, and the crop traits and agronomic practices promoting these benefits. Focussing on arable and grassland systems, the six objectives are to: 1) identify current best practice for plant teams through participatory engagement with agricultural practitioners and scientific literature; 2) determine the mechanisms promoting positive plant-plant and plant-environment interactions using ecological principles to define experimentally the underpinning processes; 3) devise improved plant teams and identify potential breeding targets with a trait-based approach and novel tool to select crop types and deployment strategies that promote performance; 4) collaborate with stakeholders in European pedo-climatic regions and beyond to validate and demonstrate plant teams and devise practical crop management prescriptions; 5) construct a plant teams decision aid for practitioners by collating trait and agronomy data in a framework that can be interrogated for information on crop selection and management in different regions; and 6) work with stakeholders and RUR-6 for participatory knowledge exchange between different actors, EU policy and wider society through an appropriate and targeted array of communication media and activities. The co-innovation approach will allow tacit and scientific knowledge to be applied to real-world challenges in plant team cropping for developing practical solutions, in the form of teams with improved productivity, pest and disease control and environmental benefits. Knowledge exchange on crop traits, management and the decision aid will have impact on farmers, advisors, breeders, science and policy, improving awareness and overcoming barriers to uptake of plant teams for yield stability, diversification, sustainability and resilience.

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Net EU contribution
€ 758 204,75
DD2 5DA Dundee
United Kingdom

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Scotland Eastern Scotland Perth & Kinross and Stirling
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 758 204,75

Participants (24)