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How we work

Methodology

 The GeneBEcon project aims to address various aspects influencing the potential uptake of NGTs. The R&I activities in the project will focus on regulatory, economic and societal aspects while improving the application of NGTs in potato and microalgae as case studies. These activities are embedded by following a systems approach and the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

Systems Approach

 By using a systems’ approach we will assess and improve the impact of NGTs and biobased innovations. We will organize workshops to map each of the two production systems, respectively, potato and microalgae (Chlorella spp.). During these workshops, participants will voice their different perspectives and expertise to map each system and to identify how the proposed biobased innovations could affect these production systems. The systems map will equip all the WPs with a holistic view and understanding to frame and enrich the actions they plan.

 
 

RRI – Responsible Research and Innovation

We apply Responsible Research and Innovation in all our project activities following the RRI dimensions and by applying the RRI Roadmap.

01.  Public engagement:

From the start of the project, we inform and work with all types of stakeholders, including citizens, to map concerns and issues, to collect insights and ideas. 

02.  Open science:

Results including our toolbox NGTs will be openly available and free of charge. Our publications will be open access. Find our results here.

03.  Science education:

We are creating awareness by explaining and educating about gene editing and the positive impact they may have for a zero-pollution agriculture, aquaculture, food industry and bioeconomy.

04.  Considering gender issues:

We are carefully considering any gender-specific perceptions in our project work. Our consortium has women and men working equally and voice equally their opinions without any prejudice. In our workshops, we are striving to involve women and men and to improve perception to consider gender differences in our research and innovation processes.

05.  Ethics:

We are all working under the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity ensuring that our research and innovation activities follow scientific ethical integrity and regulatory norms and at the same time flag any ethical gaps that may arise. We have defined quality control procedures and we are peer-reviewing each other’s work to ensure a responsible research and innovation ethos.

06.  Governance:

We are transparent and we base our work on responsible scientific conduct. We are working in an honest, respectful, reliable, and accountable project environment. We are discussing all activities, results and with our external stakeholder advisory group.

We are providing scientific and transparent information to all stakeholders for informed decisions.

We are studying European governance NGT issues and we are striving to provide truthful and reliable results.

We are aiming towards predictability and proportionality, and also inclusiveness for a more engaging science-to-society relationship.

Expected Impacts

Scientific & Technological impacts
  • High-quality new knowledge
  • Freely available protocols related to gene editing in potato and microalgae
  • Fostering application of NGTs by providing a gene editing toolbox
  • Mutation screening method implemented in European research institutesI
Strengthening human capital in R&I
  • Trained young researchers and technicians
  • Stakeholders network bridging research and practice
  • Peer-to-peer learning and interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation
Environmental impacts
  • Virus-resistant starch potato tested at a large scale
  • Microalgae for optimised production of industrially valuable compounds
  • Studies and recommendations on nutritional value of microalgae residual biomass as poultry feed additive
  • Reduced use of chemicals in agricultural production and bioindustry processes
  • Contributing to a circular and reduced-pollution bioeconomy
Economic impacts
  • Economic impact assessments of NGT products
  • Improved European competitiveness in the international NGT marketplace
  • Virus-resistant starch potato material available to companies for further breeding
  • New cross sector interconnections between the primary sector (potato and microalgae) and the biobased industries and energy industry
Societal impacts
  • Published data requirements for risk assessment of NGT products
  • Inputs to regulatory options aiming at a regulatory framework that is fit for purpose
  • Improved awareness by example and concrete applications of NGT in comparison to traditional crops and products
  • Increased social awareness about NGTs innovations, NGT crops and biobased products, their benefits and issues

Workplan

WP1

Governance options

WU

WP1 is studying the governance aspects related to new genomic techniques (NGTs) and their products in potato and microalgae production systems. We are looking at data requirements for risk and benefit assessment, stakeholder acceptance and uptake, and economic implications of different regulatory options. The study compares the current legal regime with six alternative regulatory options to see how they balance the benefits of NGTs with the protection of health, safety, and the environment.

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WP2

Advancing NGTs in R&I

WP2 is working on using NGTs, specifically advanced CRISPR/Cas-based methods, to modify the genome of potato and microalgae. In potato, the aim is to make it resistant to potato virus Y (PVY) and improve the quality of industrial starch. In microalgae, the goal is to increase the production of valuable compounds called mycosporin-like aminoacids (MAAs) that have benefits for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. GeneBEcon also aims to create a circular bio-economy by using residual biomass as a feed additive.

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EV ILVO

WP3

Innovating the production processes

In WP3, we will test the use of NGTs in large-scale prototype production setups for potato and microalgae. WP3 will validate the toolbox developed under WP2. For potato case study, gene-edited potaoes will be grown in greenhouses in France and Sweden and in the field in Sweden. For microalgae case study, we will use gene-edited microalgae to increase the production of MAAs and develop a method to extract the MAAs so the residual biomass can be used as a nutrient source in chicken feed. The microalgae will be grown in a closed indoor system called a photobioreactor.

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DTI

WP4

Communicative tools and exploitation

WP4 focuses on effective communication and stakeholder engagement through various tools and materials such as the website, social media, press releases, etc. It also aims to ensure that the project’s results contribute to the development of commercial products and technology by addressing specific value chains for the products developed in WP2 and innovative production processes in WP3. A set of events will be organized with beneficiaries and stakeholders to discuss the impacts, benefits, risks, and trade-offs of the proposed biobased innovations and the impact of regulatory options, requirements, and social acceptance on project results.

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SPI

WP5

Project management

WP5 is responsible for ensuring project management and making sure all the other parts of the project run smoothly. We create and implement a set of rules for financial and administrative management and ensure everyone follows them, complying with the rules of Horizon Europe. We monitor progress to avoid problems, organize meetings, and ensure all partners work together well. WP5 also guarantees responsible research and innovation principles are applied to the project’s tasks and stakeholder engagement.

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SLU

Collaboration with EU projects

BrightSpace: Designing a Roadmap for Effective and Sustainable Strategies for Assessing and Addressing the Challenges of EU Agriculture to Navigate within a Safe and Just Operating Space

RATION: Risk AssessmenT InnOvatioN for low-risk pesticides

DETECTIVE: Detection of NGT products to promote innovation in Europe