SPPS prizes gruppbild 2 webbDuring its  26th annual meeting 9-13 August in Stockholm, the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society (SPPS) will grant four prizes to UPSC scientists.

Gunnar Öquist, professor emeritus at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will receive the SPPS Award, which is given "to a scientist (...) in recognition of his/her outstanding merited contribution to the science of plant biology in Scandinavia".

Nathaniel Street, PI at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will receive the SPPS Early Career Award together with Ari-Pekka Mähönen, University of Helsinki. This award is granted to "a young, highly talented scientist, who has shown good progress and made significant, independent contributions to Scandinavian plant biology". 

The Physiologia Plantarum Award, the prize of the organisation's journal, will go to Torgny Näsholm, because he is considered a scientist, who "has made outstanding contributions to plant science in the areas that are covered by the journal". Torgny Näsholm is PI at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology (SLU).

And Stefan Jansson, PI at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will be awarded with the SPPS Popularization Prize, which is an award of honor "to encourage plant biologists to bring research results to the public".

More information about the prizes (webpage of the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society, SPPS

Press release of Umeå University (in Swedish)

Information about the scientists research:
Gunnar Öquist's contact information

(Picture by Ingrid Söderbergh; from left Torgny Näsholm, Nathanial Street, Stefan Jansson)

Agrisera Award 2014 Delphine Gendre20141216 webThe 2014 Agrisera prize is awarded to Delphine Gendre for her excellent scientific contributions involving highly skilled work looking at protein trafficking. This has lead to important publications in prestigious journals such as Plant Cell and PNAS. Delphine is also a very collegial and helpful person and has contributed to important dicussions about UPSC working conditions through her work on the UPSC board.

The award was presented by Greger Nordlund, Agrisera, on Tuesday, 16 December 2014, at UPSC.
(Picture: Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund (Agrisera), Delphine Gendre, Greger Nordlund (Agrisera), Ove Nilsson)

SVD article bildDebate article in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, 2014-12-16

Åsa Strand and Stefan Jansson, both professors at Umeå Plant Science Centre, are two of the six leading scientists who criticize Swedish and EU politicians acquiescence to non-science based arguments to halt research on genetically modified plants (GM). Moving away from current rules based on scientific assessments is a step backwards, the scientists write in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet, SvD.

Article in Svenska Dagbladet, 2014-12-16 (in Swedish)
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