European Breeding Plant College

Intensive Study ProgramME

Intensive Study Programmes have taken place in the 5 EPBC Partners Universities : UniLaSalle (France), SLU (Sweden), Gent University (Belgium), UPV (Spain) and Ege University (Turkey).

The Intensive Study Programmes have been organised in 2016 and 2017 so as to combine sharing of knowledge and expertise with a cultural experience in a different country and an on-the-spot exchanges with students/teaching staff and external plant breeding professionals from the partner universities.

The students were sponsored by EPBC grants with the help of Erasmus+ funding.

Below you can download more information on each ISP subject.


UniLaSalle (France) ISP:

This intensive programme introduced students to the project management. As future breeders, they are going to study the technical activities but they also have to develop transversal tools. They have to be able to develop a strategy to find new or adapted traits for a market in order to release a new variety. This implies that they have to study the market potential, the breeding strategies and also, define some practical milestones such as the release date of the variety in the market, risks and budget. In parallel as breeder they have to know which are the legal procedures required to release a new variety and how it will be protected and which are the organisms implied. The course had in total 23 participants 3 students from Ege University, 4 from SLU University, 6 from Polytechnic University of Valencia and 10 students from UniLasalle.


Ege University (Turkey):

The students have taken theoretical courses on vegetable seed industry in Turkey and all over the world; main aspects for vegetable and fruit breeding; breeding methods for some horticultural crops such as grape, pomegranate, citrus, tomato, pepper, lettuce, cucumber and field crops such as wheat, sunflower and rice; genetic resources, overview of seed quality and vigour; seed enhancement treatments. During the ISP, there were several excursions including National Gene Bank and ICARDAwheat research centre in Izmir, several seed companies in Antalya such as Enza-Zaden, Rijk Zwan, Antalya Seed Company, Axia Seed. Then they also took a course on innovation and Research&Development, project preparation. Finally, they prepared breeding projects as being involved into 3 groups; ‘’development of resistant variety against to Tuta absoluta in tomato’’, ‘’breeding for long shelf life lettuce’’, ‘’improvement of broccoli for heat tolerance’’. They presented these projects in the Multiplier Event Meeting to which seed sector people and Turkish Breeder Union participated. After the presentations, the certificates of attendance were given to the students.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden):

This ISP took place from February 6th to 18th. The course had in total 17 participants with two students from Ege University, seven students from Polytechnic University of Valencia, four students from Ghent University and four students from UniLaSalle. Most of the course activities, including the practical exercises, were also followed by four students taking the SLU master’s course “Plant-microbe interactions”, which is partly organized in collaboration with the University of Helsinki. The course contained the introductory lectures “Defence mechanisms of plants” and “Molecular genetics” as well as five lectures on mechanisms of virus infections, plant defence to virus infections, transgenic resistance to pathogens, biological control of plant diseases and plant diseases of natural populations. Two of these lectures were given from University of Helsinki using video conference. In a computer exercise, the students were familiarized with analyses of DNA sequences using publicly available programmes and databases. As examples, the students were given virus DNA sequences that they should identify and analyse. The results of the exercise were handed in as reports.


Ghent University (Belgium):

This Intensive Study Programme (ISP) on Hybrid Breeding took place from February 5th to 18th and was organized at Ghent University – Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. 14 students followed the programme: 7 from UPV, 3 from SLU, 3 from UGent,1 from Ege University.

When completing this training, participants:

  • Have an insight into the main crop varieties that are commercialized as hybrids
  • Understand the scientific developments supplying new elements to create hybrids
  • Understand the legal restrictions  regarding access to germplasm, biosafety and intellectual property rights
  • Are able to link the theory with visits to practical breeding activities
  • Can present a case study to an audience of international students and local plant breeders

General objectives

  • To provide a training on a specialized topic which is not available at most universities
  • To share knowledge and expertise between students/teaching staff in  the field of plant breeding
  • To give participants an intercultural experience because the class group consists of students from different countries

Polytechnic University Valencia (Spain):

The course was followed by 25 students, 9 of them came from other EPBC Universities: 5 from Gent, 2 from Ege, 1 from SLU and 1 from UniLaSalle. Below are indicated the activities performed and the learning outcomes. The students were very engaged. The course was granted with 7.5 ECTS with a UPV certificate. Their level of knowledge and skills acquisition was assessed through the presentation of a breeding programme in which they were working of groups using the information provided by the course. The following topics were addressed in the joint work:

  •  Introduction and adaptation of new crops
  • Development of a variety resistant to a virus
  • Utilization of underutilized crops
  • Development of a variety resistant to climate change
  • Development of a variety with added nutraceutical value

Multiplier Events

4 conferences in total were organised by EPBC partners in 2016 and 2017 in France, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. 

Find below the programme of Multiplier Event attached.

UniLaSalle Multiplier Event:

The first conference took place in Beauvais, France on October 21st 2016.

During the first conference "Whats skills and training for future plant breeders" we:

- shared with EPBC students’ pilot cases in plant breeding,

- exchanged with the representatives of European Universities on the competences of future plant breeders during a roundtable discussion

- provided to students the opportunity to meet with 25 Plant Breeding students to discuss internship and employment opportunities

Based on their personal study and professional experience, the roundtable participants identified the following major needs in educational programmes for plant breeding today: - Fundamental scientific skills: o Agronomy has been underestimated for some time in relation with biotechnologies but a good knowledge of agronomy and knowledge of the crop is fundamental, especially through direct field work o Genetics o Molecular Biology o Biotechnology is very important but will not resolve all breeding problems. Breeders need to know about traditional breeding techniques and biotechnology-related breeding techniques so as to identify the assets and limits of both o Plant virology – viruses threaten plants, breeders need to know about this element although it is not always the most economically relevant trait for companies

Polytechnic University Valencia (Spain) Multiplier Event: 

The conference 'ENHANCING VOCATIONS IN BREEDING’ was divided in two sections depending on the audience, ‘Orientation for young breeder’s careers’ aimed to orientate master students in their specialization and early entrance to the job market and ‘Promoting plant breeding vocations’ aimed to introduce the plant breeding sector to high school students.

Participants of the seed sector, high school students and EPBC students attended. UPV got a good feedback from the participants concerning the conference and roundtable. There was a presentation explaining what is Plant Breeding and a visit of laboratories.


Ege University (Turkey) Multiplier Event:

Multiplier event activity of EPBC was held on 17th February, 2017 in Portobello Hotel, Antalya. Totally 62 outer participants besides EPBC members, representing national and international seed companies, universities, contributed to the event. In the opening session, Prof. Dr. Hulya ILBI presented the European Plant Breeding College and the breeding master programme at Ege University, then opening speeches were done by Dr. Vehbi Eser, president of Turkish Breeder Union and Kamil Yılmaz, president of the Turkish Seed Association, and Dr. Abdullah Ünlü, director of the West-Mediterranean Research Institute of Ministry of Agriculture, respectively. After the opening ceremony, the EPBC students who attended ISP at Ege University, presented their breeding projects as being involved in 3 groups. In the event, the panel on ‘’Future Challenges for Plant Breeders’’ was performed. In this panel, Dr. Vehbi Eser summarised the breeding history in Turkey, mentioned that the first breeding activities initiated mainly for cereals in the Research Stations of Ministry of Agriculture and State Universities, then since 2004, national seed companies have started the breeding programme especially for vegetable crops. Zekai Ilter, the director of the EZ Seed Company, emphasised that breeders must be aware of the market demands and must focus on climate changes, pathogen resistance considering new races and genes in the breeding projects. Prof. Dr. Bülent Uzun and Prof. Dr. Taner Akar, from Akdeniz University, mentioned the role of the universities in the education of future breeders, emphasised the need for new master programmes specialised on breeding, importance of collaboration between the university and seed sector, explained the Turkish government supports for collaborative researches between seed firm and university on breeding and shared their achievement experiences.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden):

The Multiplier Event (ME) was arranged on the 31st of May as part of a workshop for the SLU Plant Breeding Platform. The purpose of the ME was to raise awareness about plant breeding and the European Plant Breeding College (EPBC) among the public as well as to facilitate interactions between organisations and companies with interests in plant breeding. The ME was announced at homepages for the SLU Plant Breeding Platform ( and the science outreach association Partnerskap Alnarp ( Invitation to the event was also distributed to the Swedish Seed Trade Association and to other Swedish universities.


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The Multiplier Event (ME) was arranged on the 31st of May as pa...

17 February 2017 EPBC (European Plant Breeding College) Multiplier Event Programme

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Erasmus+   Co-funded by the European Union
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