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Who is involved? – University of Copenhagen

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Who is involved?

The BestPass project brings together major research groups from leading universities, research institutes and key biotechnology companies constituting a highly innovative and multidisciplinary consortium from 6 European countries and New Zealand. The Best Pass consortia consists of 12 beneficiaries, 7 partner organisations and 5 Advisory Board members.


B1 – University of Copenhagen

With over 40.000 students and more than 9.000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is one of the largest and highest ranked institutions of research and education in the Nordic countries.

Research at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is focuses on plants, microorganisms, animals, biotechnology, soil and water as basis for sustainable and resilient production of food and other biological products. PLEN possesses excellent plant growing facilities and has advanced technological platforms for bio-imaging, metabolomics, analytical chemistry and phenomics. We have a dynamic plant pathology research environment with expertise ranging from genome through molecule to the field.

For more information see PLEN

Main contact: David B. Collinge

B2 – Universiteit van Amsterdam

With just over 30.000 students and 5.000 employers, the University of Amsterdam is one of the largest research and education institutions in the Netherlands. The University is highly competitive internationally and is ranked as one of the leading universities globally.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is the largest institute within the Faculty of Science. SILSs’ research objective is to understand the functioning of living organisms, from the most basic aspects up to complex physiological function(s). The Molecular Plant Pathology group is embedded in the SILS ( and forms one of the main research groups in the Green Life Sciences ( cluster. Its aim is to establish - in molecular detail - the interaction between plants and pathogens to provide a basis for sustainable crop management. MPP has modern laboratories and plant growing facilities and direct access to advanced microscopy, next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry.

For more information see The University of Amsterdam

Main contact: Frank L. W. Takken

B3 – Leibniz-Institut für Gemüse- und Zierpflanzenbau

The Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) works to establish and reinforce the scientific foundation of an ecologically sound and effective production of garden crops. Thereby we hope to support the environment, the competitiveness of the growers and the needs of the consumers.

We cooperate with universities, other research institutes and producers – in Germany, across Europe and around the world. Currently, 40 graduate and undergraduate students carry out their experimental work for their theses at the IGZ.

For more information see IGZ

Main contact: Philipp Franken

B4 – Aarhus Universitet

AU Flakkebjerg is a research centre primarily involved in research into plants and crop production. The research is multidisciplinary and the centre is a dynamic hub for the more practical part of crop research and crop production in Denmark.

AU Flakkebjerg has a building mass covering an area of around 16,000 m2 which includes modern laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, climate chambers, glasshouses and a semi-field facility. The centre is also home to farmland available for field experiments of 175 ha.

The research at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) at Aarhus University spans from basic to applied research within molecular biology and genetics. The department is organised in 12 research sections, a number of centres of excellence and various interdisciplinary centres.

The research takes place largely in collaboration with researchers from other laboratories, both in Denmark and abroad, and often in collaboration with researchers from other areas of research.

For more information see Århus University

Main contact: Torben Asp

B5 – Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe. It has a staff of more than 13.000 employees, including about 3.300 permanent researchers and 4.300 pre- and post-doctoral researchers.

IRNASA, the host institute, belongs to the Agricultural Sciences division of CSIC, one of the most outstanding branches of the institution. According to the Institution Rankings in Agricultural Science (ISI Web of Knowledge), CSIC occupies the third position out of 684 international institutions involved in agricultural research.

For more information see CSIC

Main contact: Iñigo Zabalgogeazcoa

B6 – INOQ GmbH

The SME INOQ GmbH was founded in 2001 as a spin-off of the private research laboratory Institut für Pflanzenkultur e. K. ( Both companies employ 40 colleagues (of them 8 scientists) in laboratory, greenhouses and fields. INOQ aims to act as a link between research and application for sustainable ressources and plant biotechnology and is specialized on production of mycorrhizal products. INOQ produces and trades high quality AMF (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi)-inoculum in Germany and Europe, the most important markets being revegetation, gardening and landscaping as well as agriculture. The company works on establishment of a standard quality control and declaration of commercial AMF inoculum in Europe.

INOQ was awarded with the “Innovation durch Forschung – innovation through research” of the German Stifterverband for 2014 and 2015. In October 2014 the company was awarded the ARTIE Innovationspreis of the state of lower saxony for its innovative work, products and research on extremely high level. Additionally the company got the Total eQuality award for the outstanding work regarding gender balance.

For more information see: INOQ

Main contact: Carolin Schneider

B7 – Nicolaus Copernicus University

Nicolaus Copernicus University (NCU) in Toruń is the largest and the most comprehensive university in the Northern Poland. With almost 850 PhD students on 17 faculties, NCU covers vast range of scientific fields: from the fine arts and human studies, archeology, law and economics to physics, astronomy, chemistry, biotechnology and medical studies. Interdisciplinary approach unlocks our research and educational potential, which is a part of the university scientific strategy, and places NCU as one of the top 5 universities in the country.

The Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection (FBEP) has 141 R&D employees and 39 PhD students. Researchers’ field of interest relates both to fundamental and applied biology. FBEP has laboratories equipped to study all aspects of biology: plants, animals, microorganisms as well as interactions between plants and microorganisms (molecular techniques, microscopy, analysis of microbial metabolites).

For more information see UMK

Main contact: Katarzyna Hrynkiewicz  

B8 – Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria's largest non-university research institute is among the European research institutes a specialist in the key infrastructure issues of the future. As an Ingenious Partner to industry and public institutions, AIT is already researching and developing the technologies, methods and tools of tomorrow paving the way for the innovations of the day after tomorrow.

AIT provides research and technological development to realize basic innovations for the next generation of infrastructure related technologies in the fields of health & environment, energy, mobility and safety & security. These technological research areas are supplemented by the competence in foresight & policy development.

For more information see AIT

Main contact: Stephane Compant

B9 – DLF A/S

Covering 25% of the global market DLF is the world’s largest producer of grass and clover seeds. The company serves more than 70 countries and strives to deliver the best performance in all its activities and products from Science to Seeds. DLF delivers grass solutions to almost any type of application from the biggest sport events to the smallest garden, from forage pastures to wild life meadows. The company has more than 800 employees around the world of which 10% is engaged in developing new and improved grass varieties for the future. Based on science - perfected in seeds.

For more information see DLF

Main contact: Niels Roulund

B10 – Graz University of Technology

In world-wide competition with comparable institutions, Graz University of Technology pursues top teaching and research in the fields of the engineering sciences and the technical-natural sciences.

As active member of the inter-university cooperation projects NAWI Graz and BioTechMed the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology is involved in several national and international projects comprising microbial ecology and biotechnology with focus in plant growth promotion, biocontrol and stress protection. The structure and function of plant and indoor microbiomes are analyzed by omic-technologies combined with laser scanning microscopy. Environmental metagenomes are exploited for novel enzymes and bioactive volatiles.

For more information see TUG

Main contact: Gabriele Berg

B11 – Abitep GmbH

ABiTEP GmbH was founded in September 2005 in succession of FZB Biotechnik GmbH. Since then, the aim of the biotech company has been to develop innovative and environmentally friendly methods and products for a resource-conserving agriculture, manufacturing and marketing. We produce and distribute natural microbial products for use in agriculture and gardening as well as biological cleaning agents for industry, commerce and household. Other important activities are contract production and research. In addition, we are involved in various research projects developing modern and ecologically beneficial methods of plant production.

We use the potential of naturally occurring soil bacteria and other microorganisms to produce innovative and environmentally friendly bio-agents supporting a resource conserving, sustainable agriculture.

More information see ABiTEP GmbH

Main contact: Helmut Junge

B12 – Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology

The Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) is an internationally oriented research institution with 200+ employees and 25+ years of experience in industrial research and development. acib’s vision is to use the methods of nature for new, more ecological and economical industrial processes and products.

Acib’s key disciplines are biocatalysis, molecular-, structural-, and cell biology, bioprocess engineering, bioinformatics, synthetic biology and plant biotechnology. Comprising a framework of biotechnological knowledge throughout the world, acib scientists currently conduct 70+ projects with 30+ scientific and 100+ company partners.

For more information see ACIB GmbH

Main contact: Christin Zachow

Partner Organizations

P01 – Wageningen University

The Laboratory of Biochemistry of Wageningen studies fundamental biochemical processes in living systems. The central theme is Cellular Biochemistry in which we link protein structure and function to protein activity in a cell and finally to protein function in a complete organism. State-of-the-art facilities are available within Biochemistry, nano-LC-FT-MS for proteomics, several LC-MS systems for metabolomics, advanced microscopy instrumentation as well as X-ray crystallographic protein structural determination in joint effort with IRB and IBMB-CSIC. Major research themes within the laboratory are related to plant development, plant embryogenesis, enzyme kinetics, biomolecular imaging, proteomics and metabolomics and protein stability.

For more information see Wageningen University

Main contact: Jacques Vervoort

P02 – Biofungitek SL

Biofungitek create crop protection solutions that contribute to long-term ecological balance and a healthy environment while being dedicated to the development of plant nutrition and protection products which combine efficacy, safety and minimal impact on the environment. Experience on the signals that affect plant-pathogen interactions have enabled Biofungitek to screen and select nutrients and active ingredients that ensure plant health and effectively in thwart fungal invasion. This has contributed to the development of plant nutrition and defense stimulating products which increase product quality and yield.

For more information see Biofunitek SL

Main contact: Dr Unai Ugalde

P03 – Massey University

Massey University is New Zealand’s leading agricultural and biological sciences university, employing close to 3.000 staff. Approximately 33.000 students study on our three campuses (Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington) and by distance, including 3.800 international students from more than 100 countries.

The Palmerston North campus has a strong pasture grass Epichloë endophyte research program, including collaborative links with endophyte researchers at the adjacent Crown Research Institute AgResearch Grasslands.

For more information see Massey University

Main contact: Jan Schmid

P04 – Roombiotic GmbH

ROOMBIOTIC develops methods for the sustainable use of biogenic agents for germ control. The broad spectrum of our antimicrobial products address problematic microorganisms in the field of food processing, storage of animal feed, and livestock farming. The company was founded in 2014 and originated from a joint research project of Graz University of Technology and the RCPE (Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering).

For more information see Roombiotic

Main contact: Stefan Liebminger

P05 – Biotenzz

Biotenzz Gesellschaft für Biotechnologie mbH develops and produces innovative microbial products applied for plant protection purposes. Company’s main activities target the transfer of highly potent plant-beneficial microorganisms from the lab to the field. Thus, Biotenzz focusses on the development of fermentation processes and highly stable product formulations for mass production of single strains and microbial consortia. The formulation of stress-sensitive microorganisms particularly applied for seed treatments constitutes the major expertise of Biotenzz.

For more information see Biotenzz

Main contact: Henry Müller

P06 – Michigan State University

Michigan State University, founded in 1855, is now home of over 50,000 students and one of the 30 top ranking public Universities in the world. Björn Hamberger’s lab is in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where research areas include plant biochemistry, biotechnology, computational biology, structural biology, molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, metabolic regulation and mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. Research in the Hamberger lab focuses on the discovery of biosynthetic routes of plant specialized metabolism and metabolic engineering for biotechnological production. Here, terpenoids, high-value flavors, fragrances and pharmaceutically active natural compounds, represent ideal targets supporting a future sustainable bio-based future society.

For more information see Michigan State University

Main contact: Bjoern Hamberger

P07 – Cologne University

The University of Cologne (UCO) is one of the oldest and largest universities within Europe and is recognized for its high standards of graduate education and the international reputation of its academic accomplishment. The UCO is part of the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), which is a joint effort of the UCO, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the Jülich Research Center. CEPLAS is the only cluster focusing exclusively on plant science. It applies a new approach that is driven by evolutionary analysis and synthetic biology. The mission is to contribute new paradigms to solve urgent problems in plant performance and production through exploitation of natural variation and biodiversity. This mission is underpinned by a strong commitment to high-quality training and career development for talented students and postdoctoral fellows. Alga Zuccaro is one of eight professors recruited in the context of CEPLAS. Since January 2016 she has been Coordinator of the CEPLAS Area C ( which focuses on the molecular basis of plant-microbiota interaction.

For more information see The Botanical Institute, Cologne University

Main contact: Alga Zuccaro