The fourth consortium meeting of Gen4Olive was held on 23 and 24 March 2022. On the first day of the online consortium, participants discussed the technical review of the work packages (WP). On the second day, the reporting process that will officially launch on 1 April 2022 was explained.
The Gen4Olive project is an EU-funded ‘innovation action’ that aims to increase olive genetic resources (GenRes) mobilisation and encourage pre-breeding activities by characterising around 700 varieties and 1 000 wild and ancient genotypes from the Mediterranean basin, develop smart ICTs tools to make GenRes more accessible and better incorporate breeders and growers through two open calls.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- To enhance the management and use of olive GenRes through defining harmonised protocols, identifying end-user needs and linking with other projects;
- To enhance the preservation, evaluation and use of olive GenRes for improving olive breeding and producing new varieties;
- To leverage the information available by creating a smart and user-friendly interface;
- To foster the involvement of SMEs in pre-breeding activities;
- To enhance inter-actor cooperation through co-creation, capacity-building and results sharing.
Gen4Olive brings together a wide, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary consortium of 16 partners from seven countries, including the three international germplasm banks (Cordoba, Izmir and Marrakech) and the national germplasm banks of Italy (CREA) and Greece, the top five olive growing countries.
The Gen4Olive project operates across 11 WP over 48 months.
In a preview of the development of the project, the progress of the WPs is as follows:
- WP1: Protocols and definition of user needs – completed
- WP2: Ongoing
- WP3: Agronomic characterisation – started at the end of 2021
- WP4 and WP5: Not started
- WP6: Website and applications for image detection – ongoing, first results are in
- WP7: Specific calls: the first call for proposals from SMEs – completed.
The call brought in 35 proposals, with representation from each of the seven countries contacted. Eligible proposals were assessed by three experts of different nationalities to the applicant. As a result, eight proposals (two individual and six collaborative) were submitted for funding and 14 SMEs (seven from Spain, three from Italy, two from Greece and two from Albania) will soon receive funding with an overall budget of €700 000.
The IOC acts as an advisory board for the project; the ES participates in meetings and puts the resulting synergy to good use in order to achieve the project’s objectives. This direct synergy has been made possible thanks to the True Healthy Olive Cultivars (THOC) project, a collaborative project developed by the IOC and the UCO in collaboration with the international and national germplasm banks on the IOC network. The project was set up to authenticate the main commercial varieties and establish true-to-type vegetal material, which is conserved in an international repository at the UCO facilities and made available to the banks on the IOC network. The Gen4Olive project uses the varieties authenticated under the THOC project to assess different issues facing the crop, like Xylella fastidiosa, using true-to-type varieties only.