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InnoVar, Next-generation variety testing for improved cropping on European farmland, is a Horizon 2020 ‘Research and Innovation Action’ project addressing the topic SFS-29-2018 ‘Innovations in plant variety testing’. Feeding an increasing global population in the face of global climate change is a challenge for the agricultural sector and governments alike. Developing new varieties with more desirable characteristics is critical, but so are their regulation. InnoVar aims to augment and improve the efficacy and accuracy of European crop variety testing and decision-making, using an integrated approach incorporating genomics, phenomics, and machine learning. Historic data will form the foundation of the InnoVar database which will be expanded with new and harmonised data generated from a trial series across Europe. Using wheat as a test crop, InnoVar will devise and demonstrate improved, efficient methods of:
• integrating new science into DUS and VCU testing processes,
• combining DUS and VCU characters, and
• incorporating variety information into decision-making on-farm.
InnoVar is a 4,5 years project under the Horizon 2020 SFS-29-2018 call. The project’s consortium includes 21 partners across Europe. Variety trials testing Triticum durum and Triticim aestivum will take place in 15 locations, organised into five agro-climatic zones based on climate and location. Data from these trials will be used to create new variety recommendation tools. InnoVar will also develop a road map for the implementation of these new and improved approaches to other important crops, including perennial ryegrass and maize., which will revolutionise the variety testing community.
INVITE is another EU funded H2020 project working alongside InnoVar. Its overall objective is to foster the introduction of new varieties better adapted to varying biotic and abiotic conditions and to more sustainable crop management practices.
In the context where agriculture is increasingly being urged to reduce its dependency on external inputs, lower its environmental footprint and cope with more variable climatic conditions, INVITE aims to help the valorisation and the promotion of varieties that are more adapted to sustainable management practices, and more resilient to climate change.