[Science news] - Plant Scientists Meet and Greet in Meise Botanic Garden

Fri 6 May

On April 26th, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), the KU Leuven Plant Institute (LPI) and Meise Botanic Garden organized a first Meet & Greet at the Botanic Garden. The objective of the event was to give the participating scientists the opportunity to get to know each other and explore available expertise, identify complementarities, synergies and needs, all aiming at fostering future collaboration.

A total of 54 scientists covering different fields of plant science took part in the networking event. The introductory keynote lectures highlighted the necessity for more extended, multidisciplinary research. Farmers in Flanders and all over the world are facing the effects of climate change and there is an urgency for plant-based solutions. Hendrik Vandamme, president of the Algemeen Boerensyndicaat (ABS) and the Strategic Advisory Council for Agriculture and Fisheries , indicated the complexity of sustainability. Vandamme explained that agricultural challenges need to be addressed on three levels – economic, ecological and societal. Christian Van Osselaer, CEO from Envirium Life Sciences, continues by emphasizing the importance of innovation to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Following these inspiring talks, the participants exchanged ideas during the networking session. Various topics were presented in true speed dating style which has sparked interesting discussions about potential research projects that could contribute to sustainably feeding the planet. Contacts were further forged during a tour behind the scenes of the Botanic Garden.

A successful first edition of a Meet & Greet between plant scientists served as a breeding ground for new ideas and collaborations. A next edition is calling, opening up this unique opportunity to a wider community of Flemish institutes active in plant research.