Funding for high tech potato cultivation

A programme for potato cultivation, in which the group of UvA-SILS researcher Timo Breit participates, has been awarded a funding of 1.5 million euros by OPZuid and the Province Zeeland. The funding is meant for the development of new techniques regarding genetics, bioinformatics, Big Data, robotisation and drone-imaging in potato cultivation. The participation of UvA's faculty of Science at Amsterdam Science Park is mostly focused on the bioinformatics and Big Data aspects of the project.

Success of cultivation programmes is increasingly determined by new knowledge and techniques. In the past years, great advances were made in areas such as genetics, bioinformatics, Big Data, robotisation and drone-imaging. The project High tech potato cultivation aims to further develop these techniques and apply them in an existing cultivation programme, to improve breeds for breeder and consumer.

The project has a total budget of €3,956,591 and will run until 31 January 2020. The funding from OPZuid (€1,384,608) and co-financing from Province Zeeland (€150,000) makes it possible to bring high quality research together.

Interaction between disciplines

The University of Amsterdam has been collaborating with cultivation company C. Meijer, who are administrator for the project, for several years now. Their cultivation programme will function as testing ground, where in addition to that of the UvA, expertise will be brought together from Keygene, 3BM IT Solutions, Tecnic Automation and Pegasus Geospatial Consulting. Interaction between the partners' disciplines will be stimulated so as to promote the emergence of new knowledge and applications.

According to branche organisation Plantum, the cultivation sector as a whole will benefit from the project. In addition, improved cultivation programmes result in higher quality and more sustainable products, which has benefits for the consumer as well.

Participation of young talent

Besides the University of Amsterdam, other higher education partners in the project are HZ University of Applied Sciences Vlissingen, HAS University of Applied Sciences and WUR. In several research projects and internships young talent will have the chance to participate in the programme.

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