EMPHASIS - Message from the Coordinator

Prof. Ulrich Schurr

Prof. Ulrich Schurr





Dear colleagues and friends,

A very dense year is behind us and another one has only started:

In 2017 we started EMPHASIS-PREP, the EU-funded project to prepare for a pan-European plant phenotyping research infrastructure. For most of us, this is a totally new field of activity as building and providing access to infrastructures is quite different from research projects. We have to develop a long-term vision and develop means to establish concrete developments without a concreate call for proposal, we have to think about long-term and sustainable establishment of infrastructures, often going beyond the duty time of a single researcher, and we have to work with stakeholder at the broadest sense to make things move. It is a challenge to make this happen at the European scale with all its diversity and fragmentation.

2017 has been a good start. We

  • mapped infrastructures across Europe in regional conferences and
  • developed a deeper understanding of the needs for e-infrastructures
  • had many discussions with colleagues in many countries to develop understanding for needs and potential contributions
  • developed a deeper understanding within EMPHASIS-PREP about the requirements of an ESFRI-project
  • developed links to other ESFRI projects and defined interfaces
  • had numerous discussions with researchers and policy makers in many countries in Europe and
  • have started to discuss all essential elements of the business plan that EMPHASIS-PREP needs to develop.

I would like to use the opportunity to thank the operational team, the executive board and all the many researchers and colleagues at funding agencies and ministries for the very constructive collaboration in the first year of EMPHASIS-PREP.

2018 has already continued with first workshops addressing important aspects of the future business plan. We will continue with workshops addressing specific topics identified from the mapping exercises (topical workshops), continuing discussions with specific user groups (user group workshops) as well as first meetings of the EMPHASIS support group of representatives form European countries preparing also the first mirror group meeting with ministries and funding agencies.

In parallel, many activities are ongoing at the European and national scales with projects like EPPN2020 providing transnational access and advancing specific research topics in plant phenotyping, with our COST action forming a pan-European forum on plant phenotyping as well as at the national level, with numerous infrastructure roadmap processes running with phenotyping proposals and many more phenotyping infrastructures coming up in national research organisations and universities.

European plant phenotyping is developing very dynamically. We need to join forces to stay competitive in the globally growing field of plant phenotyping. Let´s work together in the interest of a strong and interactive European plant phenotyping community.