About the network

Background

The history of Nordic PhD courses in plant breeding stretches all the way back to January 1975 when Prof. James Mac Key organised the first course at SLU. The reasons given for this initiative were that there were too limited resources in each country to provide good education, too specialized expertise in each country to provide broad education and too limited resources in each breeding company to provide continuous education of breeders. The solution was to bring together active (students) and passive (breeders) participants to a week long course marking the end of 6 months of preparation, where the students gave a lecture followed by a general discussion by all. The courses continued more or less in this format for 30 years and the last course of this nature was given in 2006.

Description of the network

The network links expertise with respect to education, research and breeding and covers the following subject areas:

  • Applied genetics and plant breeding
  • Plant molecular biology
  • PGR Management and conservation (including IPR)
  • Environmental adaptation (G x E)
  • Crop production
  • Products from crops and trees

The partners come from the NOVA universities that carry out teaching and research in these areas (AU-DJF, HU-AF, LbhÍ, KU-LIFE, SLU, UMB). We also want to involve collaborative partners. The most important are plant breeding companies in the Nordic countries (Graminor, NO; Boreal, FI; DLF, Nordic Seed, Sejet, DK; SW Seed, Syngenta, SE), and the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen). In addition we would like to add other relevant universities and research institutions and national programmes within the field of plant genetic resources.

The contribution from industry will be particularly important and it can take various forms such as:

  • Active participation in PhD courses
  • Host student research projects (MSc/PhD)
  • Provide student project ideas and themes to post on the network website
  • Co-supervision of research projects
  • Provide training opportunities for graduate students
  • Contribute to teaching at BSc level

The main tasks of the network will be to run a secretariate/website to share information on student mobility at a graduate level within the field of plant breeding, organise annual graduate (PhD) courses in plant breeding and prepare for a Joint Nordic MS Programme in Plant Breeding. Other tasks could be to promote industrial PhD-positions, promote public image of plant breeding, provide information on carrier opportunities and organise an annual network meeting.