The ability to quantitatively analyze plant phenotypic traits (from single cells to plant and stand level) and their dynamic responses to the environment is an essential requirement for genetic and physiological research, and the cornerstone for enabling applications of scientific findings to bioeconomy. Whereas molecular profiling technologies allow today the generation of a large amount of data with decreasing costs largely due to automation and robotics, the understanding of the link between genotype and phenotype has progressed more slowly. Insufficient technical and conceptual capacity of the plant scientific community to probe existing genetic resources and unravel environmental effects limits faster progress in this field. The development of robust and standardized phenotyping applications depends on the availability of specialised infrastructure, technologies and protocols. Europe has become a key driver in defining innovative solutions in academic and industrial settings. However, the existing initiatives at the local or member-state level represent a fragmented research landscape with similar goals. The aim of this project is to create synergies between the leading plant phenotyping institutions in Europe as a nucleus for the development of a strong European Plant Phenotyping Network (EPPN). The project fosters the development of an effective European infrastructure including human resources, expertise and communication needed to support transnational access to user communities. Joint research activities will adapt and develop novel sensors and methods for application in plant phenotyping. Innovative phenotyping concepts integrating mechanistic, medium- and high throughput as well as field phenotyping will be developed and made available to the community. This project will strengthen Europe’s leading role in plant phenotyping research and application through the creation of a community of research institutes, universities, industry and SMEs.
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