CORDIS - EU research results

Next generation variety testing for improved cropping on European farmland

Project description

Updating Europe's variety testing will help identify plants able to survive extreme weather

Feeding an increasing global population in the face of global climate change is a challenge for the agricultural sector and governments alike. Developing new species with more desirable characteristics is critical, but so is its regulation. Creating the concept of high-performance low-risk (HPLR) varieties within the realm of value for cultivation and use (VCU) testing would help focus on this pressing need while introducing European harmonisation of VCU testing. InnoVar is developing tools and models to enhance current VCU and 'Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability' (DUS) testing practices by exploiting high-tech genomics, imaging and machine learning technologies. Next-generation variety testing will help countries and breeders focus on the challenge of feeding the next generations.


InnoVar will develop next generation plant variety testing by building tools and models that augment current practices capitalising on advances in genomics, phenomics, imaging technologies and machine learning. The InnoVar database, populated with historical and de novo genotypic, phenotypic and environmental data will facilitate model development and evaluation for revision of DUS and VCU processes. Innovative ways to measure DUS characters will be evaluated. VCU evaluation procedures will be revised and shaped to comprehensively address variability in growing conditions, stresses and management approaches. Processes for identifying optimally-adapted varieties and delivering information to farmers, end-users and stakeholders will be put in place. This will include the creation of the High Performance Low Risk (HPLR) varieties as a concept and a brand potentially leading to harmonisation of VCU testing across the EU. InnoVar will focus on wheat initially, and apply the InnoVar approach to other major crops. Developments and advances achieved will also influence breeding processes. This project will take variety information to the next level in four ways: (i) providing information on new DUS and VCU characters and identifying synergies; (ii) developing varieties with proven suitability for the various growing scenarios; (iii) making this information available to farmers throughout the EU, and (iv) disseminating the information in readily accessible and easily updated digital formats. Cutting-edge science will be integrated with tried and tested DUS and VCU processes to deliver an invigorated EU variety evaluation system capable of delivering increasingly productive and more sustainable cropping to meet the challenges arising from population growth, food security and climate change.

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Net EU contribution
€ 698 966,16
BT9 5PX Belfast
United Kingdom

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Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Belfast
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 698 966,16

Participants (23)