NordPlant annual report for 2019 submitted

The NordPlant annual report for 2019 has now been submitted to NordForsk for evaluation. While the report was slightly delayed for Covid19-related reasons, we still managed to submit it well within the extended deadline. This post is a summary of the report, but the full version will be available later. Since the work done during 2018 has already been described in the previous report, we refer to that report for details.

During 2019, NordPlant organized a number of courses, meetings and other scientific activities. One of the stated goals of NordPlant is to strengthen the collaboration with similar initiatives in Europe. For this purpose, the steering committee and a number of associated researchers visited INRA Montpellier and their extensive facilities for field and greenhouse phenotyping on 20-21 March 2019. NordPlant arranged a workshop on phenotyping standards with Célia Michotey and Anne-Françoise Adam-Blondon from INRA Versailles. Twenty scientists participated in the workshop, which was held in Biskopshuset, Lund. NordPlant also participated in the organization of the NOVA PhD course “Phenotyping Technologies in Plant-environment Interactions – Image Based Phenotyping” 10-14 June 2019, Helsinki, Finland. During 2019, NordPlant started a facility managers’ forum. The purpose of the forum is to provide an opportunity for the managers to exchange experience and discuss common issues, but also to promote collaboration between the facilities by increasing the knowledge about the capabilities of all the facilities among the managers.

We also arranged the First NordPlant annual day 20 November 2019, which had the title “Tech talks for plant phenotyping in the Nordic countries”. More than 80 participants from academia and industry participated in the meeting. The two keynote speakers were Llorenç Cabrera-Bosquet, INRA, who presented INRA’s plant phenotyping infrastructures and Stefan Paulus, University of Göttingen, who gave a talk about 3D Scanning of plants and hyperspectral imaging. In addition to the academic participants, representatives from more than 12 different companies participated. Several of them expressed great interest in the focus group. At the Annual Day, NordPlant also made an agreement with SLU Innovation to start a project where they will employ a student to compile a list of companies in the agricultural sector working with artificial intelligence (AI) in Sweden. This will be a valuable contribution to the work of focus group 5.

An important activity during 2019 was the work on common standards for plant phenotyping data .One of the goals of NordPlant is to establish a set of common data standards for the participating facilities. The first step was arranging a workshop on phenotyping standards in Lund, Sweden 29-30 April.. The group will work with the goal of producing:

  • An inventory of the types of data produced at NaPPI and PhenoLab with a focus on
    • the types of data produced
    • how it is currently documented
    • how it is currently stored and backed up
    • if/how the facilities deal with ethics and legal compliance
  • sharing and long-term preservation of data
  • A plan for how the Plant Phenomics Information System (PHIS) can be implemented at the facilities, with an inventory of what is needed to reach that goal
  • A test case using real data from one of the facilities, showing how the standards can be used with our type of data

NordPlant was represented at a number of international conferences, such as the 2019 International Plant Phenotyping Symposium 22-26 October in Nanjing, China and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) plenary meeting in Helsinki 23-25 November 2019.

Among the new research collaborations initiated in 2019 are projects on modelling and remote sensing (SLU and LU) ,assessing the cost of resistance in potato (UCPH, UHEL and SLU), phenotypic characterization for drought tolerant potatoes (UHEL and SLU) and cuticular waxes in bilberry (UiT and SLU). The NordPlant partners published of 8 joint research articles and 4 reviews during 2019. On the whole we believe that we have achieved a large majority of the goals we set for 2018 and 2019, and look forward to a productive 2020.