Second SusCrop Expert Workshop focuses on biotic and abiotic stresses and nutritional quality of crops: report

Published on
July 5, 2023

As a follow-up to the first expert workshop held in November 2022 on the topic of protein crops [report here], SusCrop held a second expert workshop in May 2023 in Berlin to focus key priorities.

In this second workshop, experts and stakeholders were invited to gather to further
identify and prioritise research gaps and knowledge needs concerning two focus areas among
the ones identified in the first workshop:
1- Combined biotic and abiotic stress: resistance/tolerance and trade-offs
2- Nutritional quality of crops for food

The participants have identified five research areas as priorities and provided for each some
very concrete description of research questions.
The main areas are:
a. Mixed crops and support to farmers for land management and post-production
b. Multi-stress resistance of niche/emerging crops and how to improve it
c. Nutritional and health quality of niche / emerging crops and how to improve it
d. Associated toolbox from genomics to value chain
e. Economic feasibility of cultivating / producing niche / emerging crops at farm level and
better understanding of bottlenecks and ways to overcome them in the value chain

The outputs of this workshop, together with the previous one and the preparatory
analyses, are expected to give rise to a white paper and will also feed into, among others, the
FACCE-JPI Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and be available as advice to Member States
(SCAR) and to the European Commission.


SusCrop is an ERA-NET, funded under H2020, that started in 2018 and which will finish in 2023. The ERA-NET set out to achieve alignment of current European, national and regional activities in crop research to meet societal challenges on food security. As part of SusCrop activities, extensive work was done to assess current research on sustainable crop production in Europe and to look forward to future research needs. This began with a mapping of past and present related European and international research actions and a research gap analysis.

This was followed by the organisation of a first expert workshop to begin the elaboration of a (set of) focus area(s) for future research on sustainable crop production. This first workshop was help in November 2022 and focused on protein crops, primarily for food but also including feed. The focus was on production (crop improvement and cultivation), but taking into account the value chain. The first workshop identified the following gaps that need to be addressed in the coming years:

o Crop improvement (to balance crop management and processing)
o Niche crops – in this workshop protein crops - (to balance staple crops)
o Nutritional security (to complement yield)
o Resistance / tolerance to combined abiotic and biotic stresses (to balance in depth
work on abiotic, biotic stress resistance)
o Research Infrastructures
o Policy: legislation (enable the use of NGTs in Europe), public procurement (for
niche crops – in this workshop protein crops)