The award was presented in Paris by the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, following the annual Horizon 2020 Forum on 10 December.

The Etoiles d’Europe awards were created in 2013 as an annual celebration and show of recognition from the French government to international research projects which have demonstrated high academic value, innovation and a ‘European commitment’. This year, the jury selected eleven winners on the basis of their scientific merits and the international dimension of their projects. The DIVERSIFOOD project, to which FNI has been a partner, was one of them. Project Coordinator Véronique Chable from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) received the award on behalf of the DIVERSIFOOD Consortium.

More information about the awards can be found here.

Final congress

Twelve countries involved

The primary goal of the DIVERSIFOOD project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme, has been to evaluate and enrich the diversity of cultivated plants within various agro-ecosystems, so as to increase their performance, resilience and quality. The project, running from 2015 to 2019, involves  a consortium of 21 partners in 12 countries, all coordinated by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). The consortium includes public and private research institutes, universities, technical organizations, professional breeders, processors, retailers, citizen networks and networks of farmers involved in on-farm breeding and seed production.

Innovative practices

Regine AndersenFNI Senior Research Fellow Regine Andersen has contributed expertise on political and legal frameworks for the management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Much of her work has focused on the role of community seed banks in the management of crop genetic resources in Europe and as platforms for innovative practices to enhance and develop crop genetic diversity.

Related reading: Community seed banks as springboards for enhancing food and crop diversity

As a DIVERSIFOOD partner we highly appreciate the recognition that this award represents’, says Regine Andersen. ‘DIVERSIFOOD has been a truly innovative project, and it was a great experience to be part of this collaborative effort.’

A list of FNI’s publications and news related to the project can be found here. Visit the DIVERSIFOOD website for more information and a complete list of publications.

Related reading:

Community seed banks: hubs for growing genetic diversity

FNI contributes to breakthrough in Plant Treaty negotiations 

Small, but successful: community seed banks are empowering local farmers