Even before the final decision is taken in the European Parliament, the Federal Research Ministry (BMBF) is launching a research campaign on modern plant breeding and launching a funding program worth 50 million euros.
Perhaps it has to do with the signal that the BMBF, led by FDP Minister Stark Watzinger, wants to send: last weekend, a new funding measure to encourage efficient, climate-adapted crop breeding was announced.
In addition to traditional breeding, all new breeding techniques – such as the use of CRISPR/Cas gene scissors – are explicitly included. The action, titled “Research on modern breeding of climate- and site-adapted crops of tomorrow,” specifically targets science associations and the business sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Young scientists can also apply for funding. the The deadline for applications is January 31, 2024.
“New breeding technologies represent a great opportunity to breed plants efficiently, specifically and safely. With our new research funding, we want to promote the breeding of highly productive, climate-adapted crops. We are investing 50 million Euros in this matter over the next four years.”
The fairly manageable amount of funding for the new funding line (€12.5 million per year) is unlikely to lead to any major disruptions to plant research and thus sends two signals: one to parliamentarians and negotiators in Brussels and to its own traffic light government that these are methods Education simply belongs to the future. And it’s only so for the plant researchers themselves, who have turned their backs on Germany in droves in recent years as they face stop signs and no-gos when it comes to outdoor genetic engineering or applied breeding research using CRISPR/Cas. Many German plant researchers have long had a foothold in Canada, Indonesia, the USA or elsewhere, collaborating with what they are not allowed to do at home.
It is possible that the BMBF will significantly increase this funding program again following the positive EU decision on NGT terminals in order to send a really clear signal.
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