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BASF and Maastricht University Combine Innovation Power in Brightlands Future of Farming Institute

BASF Vegetable Seeds and Maastricht University launch collaboration for sustainable vegetable production

BASF vegetable seed business and Maastricht University collaborate in Brightlands Future Farming Institute

BASF’s vegetable seeds business and Maastricht University (UM) will collaborate in the Brightlands Future of Farming Institute (BFFI) to research healthy and sustainable vegetable production as part of the Dutch agrifood sector. The collaboration will begin in mid-2021 in a new facility at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, the Netherlands.

BASF and UM aim to study sustainable vegetable production systems in interaction with plant genetics, in order to deliver vegetables with optimal consumer traits such as taste and health. More broadly, the institute will focus on the areas of plant functional genomics, plant envirogenetics and circular horticulture systems.

“We see the opportunity in conducting research with modern facilities at our doorstep and expanding our knowledge by working together with partners that share our vision,” said Andreas Sewing, Vice-President R&D of BASF’s vegetable seeds business.

“We need a strong understanding on how the genetic make-up of vegetables relates to the environment and how can we influence this. With many technical and scientific questions, this can only be done in a multidisciplinary research environment. Adding technology and engineering to Maastricht University’s existing strengths in healthy nutrition and food innovation links directly to our ambition of making healthy eating enjoyable and sustainable,” Sewing added.

Finding technological innovations for global issues through Dutch R&D and agrifood expertise

With the new institute, UM’s Faculty of Science and Engineering can contribute to technological innovations needed to find answers to major social issues in the global agrifood industry. One of the industry’s biggest challenges is to find solutions for feeding the world’s population in a healthy, safe and sustainable way by 2050. As an R&D powerhouse and agrifood innovation hub, the Netherlands can play a major role in this endeavor.

In Venlo, the unique strengths of the region, Maastricht University and the Brightlands campus converge together. Researchers and students from the prominent Dutch knowledge institution will work at the heart of the Brightlands community, surrounded by companies active in agrifood.

”Our collaboration with BASF is a great example of pooling strengths in line with our purpose. Combining plant science and technology, the institute will further enhance the region’s innovative strength and contribute to the technological innovations needed,” said Thomas Cleij, dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Maastricht University will build R&D greenhouses at the premises of Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. Further research will include modern breeding techniques, sensor technology, artificial intelligence, robotics and advanced systems analysis, in which taste, convenience and sustainable circular production of food will be central.

Strengthening the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo ecosystem

The establishment of the Brightlands Future of Farming Institute further strengthens the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo ecosystem. This ecosystem consists of approximately 70 start-up, scale-up and established companies spanning the three themes of healthy and safe food, future farming and the bio-circular economy.

The four Brightlands campuses were developed at the initiative of the Province of Limburg, Maastricht University and several leading companies. BASF’s vegetable seeds business became shareholder of the Brightlands Greenport Venlo Campus earlier this year on January 1, 2020.

Source: BASF

10 December 2020

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