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GREEN-IT is organized in four scientific (A.) and four infrastructure (B.) groups as follows:



A.1.- Shaping plant development: mechanisms & pathways

PI: Elena Baena - IGC; Co-PI: Nelson Saibo - ITQB NOVA

CHALLENGES: To improve the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and forestry. This will require the ability to maintain plant viability and to promote the development and growth of relevant tissues/organs in increasingly harsher environments and with decreasing resources.

GROUP AIM: To understand key growth and developmental aspects of the plant life cycle and their modulation by the environment. A particular focus is placed on processes highly susceptible to climate alterations, such as sexual reproduction, embryo/seed development, photosynthesis and carbon partitioning to agriculturally relevant sinks (e.g., seeds, wood and cork).


A.2. Plant stress - sensing, response and management

PI: Isabel Abreu - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: Edmundo Sousa - INIAV

CHALLENGES: Minimizing the impact of climate changes on plant production is crucial. Abiotic stress (e.g., drought, temperature, salinity) and pests/diseases are serious threats to crop production, and we need improved protection strategies.

GROUP AIM: To increase knowledge on conserved plant stress sensing/response mechanisms. These fundamental research leads will be instrumental to define translational programs on crops, allowing the development of integrated environmentally-friendly management strategies to mitigate the damage of biotic/abiotic factors on yield reduction.


A.3.- Healthier plant nutrition for food security and quality

PI: Margarida Oliveira - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: Corina Carranca - INIAV

CHALLENGES: Food security increasingly depends on proper soil management and on crop capacity for climate change mitigation/adaptation. Since the quality of plant products is substantially affected by soil fertility/nutritional factors/climatic conditions, we need solutions tailored for local environments.

GROUP AIM: To understand how soil fertility, the microbiome and environmental conditions can affect plant productivity and quality, in order to better manipulate agricultural conditions and create improved and safer products.


A.4- Germplasm diversity, selection and breeding


PI: Carlota Vaz Patto - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: Benvindo Maçãs - INIAV

CHALLENGES: The integration of modern and traditional breeding techniques in exploring existing genetic resources and developing new varieties is critical to innovate the Portuguese agricultural system.

GROUP AIM: Develop innovative knowledge (precision and new breeding techniques) to breed crops for Mediterranean agriculture, addressing the on-going climatic changes and responding to market demands.


B.1.- High-throughput/Technological platforms


PI: Jorg Becker - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: A. Luísa Simplício - iBET

CHALLENGES: Cutting-edge science requires straightforward access to state-of-the-art technological platforms and corresponding expertise. The mere existence of a good infrastructure, however, is not always sufficient to ensure that the available potential is amply explored and that outputs are maximized.

GROUP AIM: To ensure that essential infrastructure, high-throughput technologies and other specific techniques mastered by team members will be made available to the whole GREEN-IT team.


B.2.- Bioinformatics platform and Biostatistics


PI: Pedro Barros - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: Carlota Vaz Patto - ITQB NOVA

CHALLENGES: Experimental data from different research fields is mostly unstructured and non-interoperable. Data annotation and structured datasets provide opportunities for knowledge creation allowing commercial exploitation.

GROUP AIM: To develop tools and standards to analyse and manage experimental data generated in GREEN-IT labs, allowing efficient integration of heterogeneous data and data mining.


B.3.- Education - at technical and post-graduation levels


PI: Nelson Saibo - ITQB NOVA; Co-PI: Carla Brites - INIAV

CHALLENGES: A better science education correlates with a higher economic competitiveness and productivity. Despite all the investments made in science education, a progressive loss of interest in plant sciences is obvious among young people. This also impacts the number of students willing to progress to a plant-sciences career.

GROUP AIM: To produce world-class plant scientists, technicians and farmers, and increase critical mass in plant sciences to impact the quality of the Portuguese agricultural outputs. This will contribute to train world-class plant scientists, but also to improve technical skills of professionals and attract more students to the field.


B.4.- Science Funding, Tech Transfer and Outreach


PI: Inês Zêzere - ITQB NOVA/iBET; Co-PI: Piet van der Linde - private/ITQB NOVA

CHALLENGES: Science depends on technological resources, complex funding systems, ethical and legal frameworks, and a fast translation of results to market and society, which is becoming increasingly complex and demanding.

AIM: To provide strategic and tangible frameworks that facilitate research, promote value creation and enhance public perception of plant sciences.