PRO-GRACE will address the multiple challenges that European plant genetic resources (PGR) face by building systems, processes, standards and methods, and by developing the concept, regulatory framework and governance for a functional and efficient Research Infrastructure.
Building on the Plant Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe – developed over three years in consultation with a wide range of experts and stakeholders by the European Cooperative Programme on Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) – and the experience of several EC-funded initiatives funded in the last decade, PRO-GRACE aims to:
- Ensure conservation and access to PGR
Develop a certification system for ex situ genebanks and create mechanisms for conservation, monitoring and access to in situ PGR to ensure proper conservation of and access to PGR.
- Build an integrated European PGR information system
Develop and test strategies and software for integrating into the European Search Catalogue for Plant Genetic Resources (EURISCO) the missing information from European genebanks and in situ conservation sites as well as that developed by different European projects on PGR.
- Define quality assurance for PGR ex situ and in situ management
Develop and test standards and protocols for the quality-assured ex situ and in situ management of PGR, which are particularly important when changing environmental conditions and novel pests/invasive species can rapidly erode genetic diversity.
- Establish the scientific services provided by the Research Infrastructure
Develop and test a list of scientific services that the GRACE-RI will provide to the scientific community and the potential providers of such services.
- Develop standards and procedures for the evaluation of PGR phenotypic traits
Develop and test unified strategies, procedures and standards for evaluating phenotypic traits of PGR stored both in situ and ex situ, and providing the information to end-users (breeders, farmers).
- Analyze the policy, social and ethical framework to facilitate PGR access and benefit sharing
Enable the transition of European genebanks to become more complex research infrastructures by analyzing the policies, laws and challenges that presently hamper an open exchange of PGR and their genetic information (such as Digital Sequence Information (DSI)), and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.
- Develop a concept, governance model, and preliminary financial plan for the future GRACE-RI
Analyze the current policy and stakeholders landscape as well as synergies with the existing European RIs to develop the structure, governance and financial plan for a world-class PGR Research Infrastructure.
- Identify users of the future RI and their need
Identify the users of the future RI, review their needs, disseminate and communicate the project’s findings, and train prospective user groups in the use and conservation of PGR.