Gunnar Oquist Danish Research Foundation Dannebrogorden lrGunnar Öquist, professor at UPSC, was honoured by the Danish National Research Foundation with the Royal Order of the Danneborg. He received the Order of Knight for his "invaluable contribution to Danish and international research including the Danish National Research Foundation", the foundation stated in its press release on 4 December 2015. Gunnar Öquist has contributed to the first evaluation of the Danish National Research Foundation in 2003 and accepted in 2005 to become a member of the Board, where he during eight years played a central role in the success of the research foundation's activity.

The research foundation credited Gunnar Öquist's  extensive knowledge which involved him in research evaluations world wide. Gunnar Öquist is one of the main authors of the important Swedish report Fostering breakthrough research: A comparative study, which highlights Danish elite research as a success story.

Press release of the Danish National Research Foundation

(picture: Danish National Research Foundation)
152219 gunnar oquist webbProfessor Gunnar Öqvist, Professor emeritus at Umeå Plant Science Centre, Umeå University and the former Chairman of the Royal Academy of Sciences was recently conferred the Order of the rising sun, gold and silver star, by the Japanese government. He receives the honour as a recognition for his contribution to promote academic exchange and a mutual understanding between Japan and Sweden.

Press release (In Swedish)
More than twenty of Europe's most prominent plant scientists today (Thursday 30 October 2014) signed a joint letter warning that Europe may lose its research lead unless plant science is adequately funded, GM (genetically modified) plant varieties that have been found safe are allowed and field trials are protected from vandalism.

The signatories include world-leading plant scientists from Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, all of whom are concerned that Europe may fall short on its current 'Horizon 2020' goals of producing "world-class science" and removing "barriers to innovation" unless European policymakers take a more pro-science stance.

The scientists, world-leaders in disciplines ranging from botany to ecology to molecular biology, state that the current EU "de facto moratorium on transgenic plant approvals has been detrimental for applied plant science and has effectively eliminated possibilities for publicly funded scientists and small companies to address the big challenges for society".

The open letter continues that "the resulting reduced competition has enhanced the dominance of major seed and agrochemical corporations" and calls for a "fundamental revision of GM regulation... that strictly follows the principles of science-based evaluations and approvals". This call is particularly timely because the European Parliament is currently considering European Council proposals to allow GM crop cultivation in those countries that choose to allow it.

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has granted 39, 7 million SEK and considered the application lead by Rishikesh Bhalerao, UPSC, as one of 24 funded research projects that have the possibility to lead to new scientific breakthroughs.
Besides the lead applicant, Anna-Maria Jönsson from Lund University, Maria Eriksson, Pär Ingvarsson, and Stefan Jansson from UPSC and Umeå University, and Thomas Moritz and Ove Nilsson from UPSC and SLU are co-applicants.

Read the press release from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Read the news in Swedish on the webpage of SLU

Wu Harry 550Professor Harry X Wu has received a 5 million grant from the research council Formas for the project "Urval för elitpopulationer av tall för uthållig produktion av nya bioenergi- och kolhydratprodukter".
The call was for research on forest raw materials and biomass – sustainable primary production, new materials and bio-based products for a bio-based economy.

Harry Wu research page

participants UPSC symposiumUPSC postdoc symposium 2 - 3 June 2014

Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) invited five promising young scientists on 72 applicants for a postdoc project symposium organised on 2nd and 3rd of June 2014. The aim of the symposium was to bring together postdoc candidates and UPSC group leaders to identify common research interests to develop a project together to apply for international post-doc fellowships (such as EMBO, Marie-Currie, Human Frontiers).   

During their two-day visit at UPSC, the selected candidates had the chance to present their PhD work in front of UPSC people. They also visited the institute, identified and discussed potential projects with different research groups. The candidates had the possibility to interact with people already working at UPSC during a post-doc lunch and barbecue at Nydalasjön. The prospective postdocs and group leaders are expected to submit a postdoc fellowship application in the fall.

The participants (from the left): Envel Kerdaffrec, GMI Vienna, Austria;  Sunita Kushwah, National Institute for Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi, India; Simon Law, ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the University of Western Australia, Australia; Julia Wind, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden; Lin Xu, ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the University of Western Australia, Australia.

symposiumUmeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) invites promising young scientists for a postdoc project symposium. The aim of the symposium is to bring together postdoc candidates and UPSC group leaders to identify common research interests to develop a project together.

Welcome to interesting talks of young applicants for the UPSC postdoctoral programme!

Monday 2 June 2014, 9.00-12.00, Stora hörsalen, KBC

Five applicants will visit UPSC and present their research topics:

- Envel Kerdaffrec, Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology (GMI), Vienna, Austria
- Sunita Kushwah, National Institute for Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi, India
- Simon Law, Australian Research Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Western University Australia, Perth
- Julia Wind, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
- Lin Zu, Australian Research Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Western University Australia, Perth

See the programme and title of the talks in the UPSC calendar

Lignin bildConference Venue: Umeå Arts Campus
The Lignin 2014 conference is organised by UPSC and Bio4Energy. It aims to strengthen our knowledge on the various aspects of lignin biosynthesis and utilization, from the basic cell biology, molecular biology to pre-treatment of plant biomass and utilization of lignin. The conference is supported of the Formas-financed strong research environment BioImprove, the strategic research environment Bio4Energy, and the Swedish government.

Early registration and abstract submission: 12 June 2014
Late registration: 8 August

Conference webpage:
Invited speakers
Abstract submission

Contact: For questions regarding the scientific programme of the conference, please contact us at UPSC:
Marlene Karlsson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
Edouard Pesquet, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Hannele Tuominen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pioneering findings on the dual role of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis published in the latest issue of the scientific journal PNAS by Researchers at Umeå University.
It is well known that inorganic carbon in the form of CO2 (carbon dioxide) is reduced in a light driven process (photosynthesis) to organic compounds in the chloroplasts. Less known is the fact that inorganic carbon also affects the rate of the photosynthetic electron transport, as was published by the Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg and his collaborator in the late 50's (Warburg and Krippdahl 1958).
Their explanation for the stimulating effect was logical at that time since they proposed that CO2 was the source of oxygen that plants produce. Their idea was proven to be incorrect many years later and instead we now know that H2O (water) is the source of oxygen in the atmosphere. The observed stimulating effect by inorganic carbon on photosynthetic electron transport, also observed by others later, has ever since Warburgs publication continued to cause an inflammatory debate among researchers around the world up till these days as indicated by the hundreds of papers published.
Our results will now put an end to this debate.

sand08During a ceremony held on 26 March in the Archbishop’s palace in Olomouc, Cyech Republic, Petr Bilík, Vice-Rector of the University honoured the UPSC-professor with the doctor honoris causa for his long-time collaboration with the Faculty of Science and for an essential contribution to the development of its research groups. 

Ivo Frébort, dean of the Faculty of Science mentioned in his laudatio the very fruitful collaboration between the UPSC-professor and the Palacký University during almost twenty years. Sandberg had supported the faculty with his knowledge and experience during the build up of their new research centre for plant biotechnology and agriculture, the Center of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research. In connection with the doctorate ceremony the centre organised an extra mini-symposium on Auxin and Cytokinin to honour Göran Sandberg.

"I regard the honorary doctorate of this university as one of the top things in my career, because it is built on true science and true collaboration",  Göran Sandberg said in his speech during the ceremony.

Annika Jagander, Swedish Ambassador in the Czech Republic, participated also in the ceremony.

The Palacký University of Olomouc was founded 1566 and is the second oldest university in the Czech lands.
The University has about 24, 000 students and over 1,800 employees.

Watch the ceremony in English on Video (YouTube)

Press release of the Palacký University in Olomouc