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Promoting a Plant Genetic Resources Community for Europe

February 2023 - February 2026


PRO-GRACE: Promoting a Plant Genetic Resources Community for Europe

PRO-GRACE is an EU-funded project to develop the concept for a novel European Research Infrastructure (RI) dedicated to cataloguing, describing, safeguarding and enhancing European plant genetic resources (PGR) for food and agriculture.

The GRACE-RI is a proposed pan-European Research Infrastructure that aims to bring together the European institutions working actively on the conservation and characterization of plant genetic resources. Our vision is to ensure that plant genetic resources are conserved and shared, and the associated knowledge is improved and made available for future generations.

Building on several EU initiatives and the Plant Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe that was developed with a wide range of stakeholders by the European Cooperative Programme on Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR), PRO-GRACE will address the challenges facing European plant genetic resources in the following ways.


PRO-GRACE aims to

  1. Ensure conservation and access to PGR Develop a certification system for ex situ genebanks and create mechanisms for conservation, monitoring and access to in situ PGR to ensure proper conservation of and access to PGR.
  2. Build an integrated European PGR information system Develop and test strategies and software for integrating into the European Search Catalogue for Plant Genetic Resources (EURISCO) the missing information from European genebanks and in situ conservation sites as well as that developed by different European projects on PGR.
  3. Define quality assurance for PGR ex situ and in situ management Develop and test standards and protocols for the quality-assured ex situ and in situ management of PGR, which are particularly important when changing environmental conditions and novel pests/invasive species can rapidly erode genetic diversity.
  4. Establish the scientific services provided by the Research Infrastructure Develop and test a list of scientific services that the GRACE-RI will provide to the scientific community and identify the potential providers of such services.
  5. Develop standards and procedures for the evaluation of PGR phenotypic traits Develop and test unified strategies, procedures and standards for evaluating phenotypic traits of PGR stored both in situ and ex situ, and provide the information to end users (breeders and farmers).
  6. Analyze the policy, social and ethical framework to facilitate PGR access and benefit sharing Enable the transition of European genebanks into more complex research infrastructures by analyzing the policies, laws and challenges that presently hamper an open exchange of PGR and their genetic information (such as Digital Sequence Information (DSI)), and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.
  7. Develop a concept, governance model, and preliminary financial plan for the future GRACE-RI Analyze the current policy and stakeholder landscape as well as synergies with existing European RIs to develop the structure, governance and financial plan for a world-class PGR Research Infrastructure.
  8. Identify users of the future RI and review their needs Identify the users of the future RI, review their needs, disseminate and communicate the project’s findings, and train prospective user groups in the use and conservation of PGR.


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