NordPlant Newsletter – June 2022

Summer is here again, which means that it is is time for the NordPlant newsletter. This edition contains reports from the previous annual meeting and news about the upcoming one, as well as information about NordPlant’s other activities and upcoming courses.

  1. Sign up for the Fourth NordPlant annual meeting, 30 November 2022 in Lund, Sweden
  2. Upcoming NOVA course: “Common Data Standards and Omics Technologies in Plant Phenotyping”
  3. NOVA course in high throughput field phenotyping, 5 ECTS, in Ås, Norway
  4. Report from the 2021 NordPlant annual meeting in Tromsø
  5. NordPlant course milestone met
  6. NordPlant’s work on joint data standards
  7. Virtual tour of the NaPPI phenotyping facility at University of Helsinki
  8. Travel grants for IPPS awarded




Sign up for the Fourth NordPlant annual meeting, 30 November 2022 in Lund, Sweden

This year’s meeting will be held in Lund, Sweden on 30 November with the theme “Envirotyping for plant breeding and precision agriculture”. The meeting is the day after the Göte Turesson seminar commemorating 100 years since the term Ecotype was coined.
We are happy to have the following speakers during the day:

  • Antoine Harfouche (UNITUS): “Leveraging Explainable Artificial Intelligence to Advance Plant Phenomics Research and Decisions
  • Jose Luis Araus Ortega (University of Barcelona): “On-farm crop phenotyping”
  • Fred Stoddard (University of Helsinki): “Fitting faba bean for high-latitude farming”
  • Therese Bengtsson (SLU): “Pre-breeding for adaptation of spring barley to Northern latitudes”
  • Nasir Uddin (Husqvarna group) “AI and data science in a forest, green space and garden outdoor equipment company”
  • Florent Abdelghafour (INRAE)

The registration page is already available and will be updated with more information and a detailed program in the coming months.


Upcoming NOVA course: “Common Data Standards and Omics Technologies in Plant Phenotyping”

On 28 November – 2 December 2022, Erik Alexandersson and Svante Resjö will organize a course in Common Data Standards and Omics Technologies in Plant Phenotyping, as part of the new NOVA course initiative. The course will be adjacent to the 2022 NordPlant annual meeting, and participation in the annual meeting will be part of the course.
More information and a schedule for the course can be found at the registration page!


NOVA course in high throughput field phenotyping, 5 ECTS, in Ås, Norway

This course is organized by Morten Lillemo at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). It  aims to introduce the emerging research fields of high throughput plant phenotyping, with a focus on field phenotyping methodologies and related data analysis. More information is available here.


Report from the 2021 NordPlant annual meeting in Tromsø

On 25-26 November 2021, we were finally able to hold our annual meeting in Tromsø, with 96 registered participants, 42 of which attended in person in Tromsø. The theme of the meeting was “Successful Plant Modelling and Phenotyping for the Nordic Countries – What is Needed?”.

The meeting started with a keynote lecture from Magnus Nordborg (Gregor Mendel Institute). In his talk he presented data from epigenetic studies showing that it is not easy to find a link between different types of methylations driving epi-genetic effects and underlying functions. The session then continued with talks from Katja Karppinen, Markku Keinänen, Ove Nilsson and Eva Rosenqvist, and ended with a presentation by Jesper Cairo Westergaard and Tatu Polvinen on joint data standard for Plant Phenotyping in the Nordic countries. After the first session we arranged an on-line poster session, followed by a panel discussion where the panelists discussed the theme of the meeting. The day concluded with presentations from two NordPlant supported projects by post doc Chandana Pandey and PhD student Murilo Sandroni.

On the second day of the meeting, Jörgen Mölmann lifted the effects of the Nordic light conditions with its short seasons but long day lengths on agriculture. This was followed by presentations from David Percival, Junfeng Gao and Susanna Simovaara. As the final speaker we had invited Rick van de Zedde who is the project manager at the Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre (NPEC) facilities. He presented on the six different modules in place in Utrecht and Wageningen. The attendance of Rick van de Zedde was a valuable contribution to our goal of strengthening our connection to European initiatives, and to get an external view of the Nordic phenotyping community.

All in all, we were very happy to finally be able to arrange an “in-person” meeting again, and we are very grateful to all the contributors.


NordPlant course milestone met

One of the milestones set out in the NordPlant application for funding was the completion of four to six advanced courses. With the two courses organized in 2021, NordPlant has now participated in the organization of the following five courses:

  • Nordic PhD course in plant imaging and phenotyping in Tromsø, Norway 22.-26.11.2021 (3 ECTS)
  • MSc course: Host Plant Resistance Breeding as a part of Integrated Pest Man-agement, 3.0 ECTS, 17-21 August 2021 in Alnarp
  • PhD course “Accelerating climate resilient plant breeding by applying –omics and artificial intelligence”, 20-24 April 2020 at SLU Alnarp
  • NOVA PhD Course Phenotyping Technologies in Plant-environment Interactions 10-14 Jun. 2019, in Helsinki, Finland
  • Workshop on phenotyping standards held in Lund 29-30 April 2019

This means that the milestone goal has been met, but we look forward to organizing a number of additional courses during 2022 and 2023.


NordPlant’s work on joint data standards

Phenotyping facility coordinators Dr Kristiina Himanen and Prof. Thomas Roitsch have joined a network of European phenomics facilities at INRAE, UCPH, UH and WUR to obtain access to the EGI-ACE as a use case. The project offers access to infrastructure and platform services as well as dedicated user support and training. This access now granted means that the PHIS databases housing data from the common data standard projects can be stored in the European Grid Infrastructure. The aim is to build a federated and interoperable e-infrastructure allowing researchers to share and analyze phenotyping data. It will be very useful for the NordPlant common data standard project to be on the EGI.
In addition, Collaboration between NordPlant and WUR and INRAE have been initiated in the frame of shared Nordic data management project. This collaboration will allow implementing the best practises and tools for phenomics data management and storage. This work has started in December 2021. 


Virtual tour of the NaPPI phenotyping facility at University of Helsinki

On 14 March 2022 NordPlant arranged a virtual tour of the Finnish National Plant Phenotyping Infrastructure (NaPPI) facility in Helsinki. NaPPI was established during 2016 and is a distributed research infrastructure that provides phenotyping services to the entire Finnish plant research community, but also to the Nordic and European research networks. More information about NaPPI and the tour, including a video of the event can be found here.


Travel grants for IPPS awarded

We are happy to announce that we have awarded Corine Alexis Faehn (UiT), Chandana Pandey (UCPH), Nasir Hossain Sani (SLU), Fernanda Leiva (SLU) and Sylvain Poque (UH) €600 each to attend the 7th International Plant Phenotyping Symposium in Wageningen, the Netherlands in September. Congratulations!


We from NordPlant would like to wish you a good summer, and look forward to continue collaborating with you all during the rest of the year!