Following the growing commitment with the country's development, the national Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) approved NOVA's InnovPlantProtect collaborative lab.
After the analysis of an international pannel, the project had the maximum rating (15/15) from FCT. In this way, InnovPlantProtect is coming to life in Elvas (Alentejo).
In a market-driven logic, and in partnership with national and foreigner public and private institutions, this centre will develop biologic innovative solutions for the protection of Mediterranean cultures and create new methods for the detection and screening of plagues and diseases, responsible for the annual loss of 40% of the world's agricultural production. The income of cultures is still very much compromised by climate change and when a large amount of phytopharmaceuticals products currently used are removed from the market, as planned by the European Union. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with sustainable solutions with a lower negative impact on the agroecosystems and biosecurity and that are focused on Mediterranean cultures.
InnovPlantProtect will be based at the Campus of the National Agricultural and Vetereinary Research Instititute (Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária , INIAV) in Elvas, and will have 50 scientists working in it until its fifth year. This project will contribute to the competitiveness of national agriculture, environmental sustainability, densification of the territory, highly qualified job creation and the socioeconomic development of the region.
The collaborative lab joins the research unit GREEN-IT (coordinated by ITQB NOVA), three other NOVA University units (NOVALINCS, UNINOVA-CTS and MagIC), the State's lab INIAV, the companies Bayer, Syngenta and Fertiprado, Elvas City Hall, Alentejo's Center for Agricultural and Agrifood Biotechnology (Centro de Biotecnologia Agrícola e Agro-Alimentar do Alentejo), the National Association of Producers of Corn and Sorghum (Associação Nacional dos Produtores de Milho e Sorgo), the National Association of Producers of Protein Crops, Oilseed and Cereals (Associação Nacional de Produtores de Proteaginosas, Oleaginosas e Cereais), the National Federation of Organizations of Fruit and Horticultural Producers (Federação Nacional das Organizações de Produtores de Frutas e Hortícolas) and the House of Rice (Casa do Arroz).
The signature of the protocol for the implementation of this lab took place in May, during Farmers Day.