"Green Enlightenment" webinar by Marc Van Montagu

In this inaugural webinar, Marc Van Montagu talked about Science as a fundamental tool to understand life in general and human societies in particular. Observations on cause and effect and mathematical reasoning have helped us understand the nonliving world so well that we have called it Enlightenment. Until recently, the application of these "laws of nature" to explain the behavior of animals has brought nothing but confusion and anarchy. Understanding molecular and cellular biology, genetics, evolution, and ecology gives hope that we can wake up from this nightmare. How important are these reflections for the Plant B+B network?


Expression of interest

We are looking for a dynamic and independent communications specialist.

International Day of Women & Girls in Science

To commemorate the International Day of Women & Girls in Science! The existence of this day proves that we still have a long way towards equal access to education for girls and women. At IPBO we definitely want to reflect and act.

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Testimonials Plant B+B partners

Plant B&B network will strengthen the existing excellence at UGent and the capacity of its global collaborators. Partner selection was based on their current research/activities on plant breeding/biotechnology, the existing and previous collaborations with UGent, and their commitment to scientific communication.

Plant B+B funding opportunities

Funding Opportunities Plant B+B

Plant Breeding and Biotechnology will provide grants yearly (2021-2025) for Plant B+B members under competitive action calls.

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9th Annual National Biosafety Conference

IPBO was co-sponsoring the 9th Annual National Biosafety Conference organized by the National Biosafety Authority.

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Omics for All

Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu participated virtually in the 15th edition of the International Conference on Genomics (ICG-15) to be held on Oct. 25th-31st, 2020 in Wuhan City, China.

ICG is the well known global platform for free discussions related to the theme of “OMICS for ALL”, facilitating cooperation, innovation, and applications in the field of omics. The leitmotif of the ICG-15 is “Omics and Global Health”, covering the vast fields of life sciences, especially omics, from global collaboration and education, ethics, to state-of-the-arts and breakthroughs in technology development, to big data and biobanking, and global sustainable development.

Marc Van Montagu participated in the IV-5 Panel discussions: Inter- and transdisciplinary issues: foundations of comprehensive science in their relation to OMICS and Global Health – in the reality of COVID-19 and the threat of future pandemics.

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World Laureates Forum

Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu participated virtually in the 3rd World Laureates Forum (WLF) held in Shanghai, China from October 30 to November 1, 2020. The WLF is organized annually by the World Laureates Association (WLA), a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Shanghai dedicated to promoting excellence in science and steering scientific development for the shared future for mankind. In this 3rd edition, the WLF brought together the smartest brains in the world to discuss global concerns encompassing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the relations between humans and nature on topics such as disasters, biological diversity, and climate change.
Marc Van Montagu participated in the section on Hunger and Poverty and will expound his views on the importance of life science to understand how emotion and reason interacted to create mankind as moral and political beings and how these values are connected with the acceptability of scientific developments.

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Collaboration between Ghent University and its Nigerian partners

On the 13th of October, the Ghent Africa Platform (GAP) organized the webinar ‘Showcasing academic collaboration between Ghent University and its Nigerian partners‘. This online webinar involved several Nigerian Universities with bilateral agreements with UGent, UGent international research platforms, Nigerian PhD students, and international research organizations such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO). The seminar was very successful with the participation of more than 70 people. The attendees had an overview of the existing academic and research projects in Nigeria linked to the UGent community,  thus emphasizing the positive impact that such connections and interactions have on the advancement of science and education.
At IPBO, we are working hard towards expanding our portfolio of projects for strengthening the scientific links between EU & West Africa to promote food security and build the capacity of scientists.
Our team is grateful to the GAP for allowing us to be part of such a vibrant and dynamic community.

hybrid potato workshop

Workshop: Opportunities and challenges for hybrid potatoes in East Africa

The major aim of the workshop is to assess the opportunities and challenges for hybrid potato breeding and cultivation in East Africa from a perspective of ‘responsible innovation’. Responsible innovation in this context seeks to benefit productivity, sustainability, diversity, and equity in systems of agriculture, while taking into account the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders.

Marc Van Montagu

Ggo-pionier Marc Van Montagu: ‘Je hoort zoveel dwaze praat over ggo’s

guest lecture

Guest lecture @ UGent by Prof. Marc Van Montagu: Science, Ideology and Daily Life

It is very important that young people (1st-year Biochemistry and Biotechnology) already have a vision about Society and Plant Biotechnology

Eredoctoraat Weizmann

November 5, 2018 – Weizmann Institute of Science awarded Prof. Marc Van Montagu the title of Doctor Honoris Causa

The Weizmann Institute of Science granted professor Marc Van Montagu the title of Ph.D. honoris causa. The ceremony of conferment took place in Rehovot on the 5th of November 2018 during the annual general meeting of the Institute’s International Board.

Well Fed movie

‘Well Fed’ Movie Screening & Debate with Filmmakers – 25 September (19:00-22:00)

Are you food privileged or food-deprived?
Facing the truth about food security and GMOs in Europe & abroad.

A special movie screening and panel debate about the Dutch documentary “Well Fed” (with English sub-titles), hosted by the International Plant Biotechnology Outreach cell of the VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie) in partnership with Europabio, as part of European Biotech Week. Filmmakers Karsten de Vreugd and Hidde Boersma explore and discuss the issue of food security and GMOs from a European and global perspective.

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Scientific innovation for a sustainable development of African agriculture Thursday 30th and Friday 31st of August 2018

The conference was divided in several topics, each discussing a specific constraint in agriculture: (1) Relevant crops for Africa; (2) Creating new plant varieties through scientific innovation; (3) Improved soil fertility to enhance crop yields; (4) Biotic stresses threatening crop yields; (4) Abiotic stresses threatening crop yields; (5) Mycotoxins, a threat for both human and animal health and (6) Enhancing the nutritional value of important crops for Sub-Saharan Africa

Marc Heijde Nigeria

July 16, 2018 – Biosafety Short Course at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the very active countries willing to adopt GM technology to boost its agriculture with Bt cotton that might well be grown very soon in the country. The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), NEPAD African Biosafety Network of Expertise, Michigan State University, and the Godfrey Okoye University organized a workshop aimed at empowering important stakeholders with current information on the safe management of biotechnology for socio-economic development. The workshop was held at the Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu, Nigeria. Marc Heijde from IPBO was invited as a resource person to present “Status of biotechnology and biosafety in Europe” and moderate a session on Public participation in biosafety processes”. This course will hopefully be a start of a long term partnership with Nigeria and the Godfroey Okoye University for implementing plant biotechnology research and development in the country.

Fernand Lambein

May 6-8 2018 – 7th International Food Legume Research Conference

On May 6-8 2018 at the 7th International Food Legume Research Conference held in Marrakech, Marocco, IPBO was represented by Prof. Fernand Lambein. With his conference talk entitled “Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus): Boon or Bane”, he opened the workshop “Lentil and Grass pea”. During the closing ceremony, Prof. Lambein was honored for his life-time contributions to Lathyrus research by the ICARDA (International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas).

Biotech Day 2017

October 22, 2017 – Biotech day: IPBO was there!

On October 22nd, 2017, Biotech day in Ghent welcomed about 4350 visitors. Young and old had the opportunity to discover how research and food are linked. Several VIB laboratories and companies presented their research and also IPBO was there! At the stand of IPBO, the visitors could discover and taste vegetables and fruits from Africa. Children could fill in a quiz and listen to a 30 minutes lecture “Biotechnology for Africa”.

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Movie Screening “Food evolution” and debate about the benefits of and concerns about applying modern biotechnology in agriculture.

The invention of genetic transformation of plants in the early 1980s (Van Montagu and Schell, University of Ghent) has resulted in one of the fastest adoptions of new technology in the history of agriculture. At the same time, the use of these new techniques also started a global debate about the benefits of and concerns about applying modern biotechnology in agriculture. That global debate continues up to today and has in fact intensified over the years in Europe.
As one of the activities of Biotech Week 2017, we organized a debate on the role of modern biotechnologies in sustainable agriculture, the concept of responsible innovation, and whether the EU can benefit from agricultural biotechnologies and innovation, including GMOs, while maintaining high safety standards on 26th September 2017 at the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie (KVAB) in Brussels.

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June 24, 2017: Launching of the “Marc and Nora Van Montagu Fund”

Friday, June 24th, 2017, the “Marc and Nora Van Montagu Fund” was launched in the BELvue Museum in Brussels in the presence of politicians, ambassadors, scientists, colleagues, and friends of Marc and Nora Van Montagu. Jo Bury, director of VIB, and Jonathan Gressel, Prof. Em. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, emphasized during their talk the importance of Marc Van Montagu for the development of Plant Biotechnology, and the importance of this area for agriculture for Africa. Marc Van Montagu thanked also his wife Nora, because his career would not have been what is today without her support.
The MNVM fund will foster project development and partnerships with Africa, a mission we can only achieve with the generous contributions of individuals or institutes who support our cause.


8th Meeting of the IOBC/WPRS working group: GMOs in Integrated Plant Production

IPBO was co-organizer of the “8th Meeting of the IOBC/WPRS working group: GMO’s in integrated plant production”. The following topics were be covered during the meeting: (i) Modern biotechnology in integrated crop management; (ii) Risk assessment of GM plants including products from the public sector; iii) Plant protection products produced by GMOs, including microbials and microorganisms; (iv) Plants using RNAi technology to provide pathogen or insect resistance; (v) New plants derived from biotechnology (including genome editing) and their potential for IPM; (vi) Insect resistance management strategies of GM crops and (vii) GM insects for agriculture.

Forum IIBN

IIBN 2017 Forum: Biotechnology: From innovation to industrial production l 10 May 2017 l Ghent, Belgium

In many parts of the world, a knowledge-based bio-economy is emerging using eco-efficient bio-processes and renewable biological resources to create new value chains. These innovations are enabled by unprecedented advances in biotechnology offering new technological solutions for sustainable agricultural development and the production of food, feed, fiber, energy, and improved health care from renewable biomass or underutilized biological resources.
The 2017 IIBN Forum brought together experts in the area of biotechnology who addressed the industrial chain from innovation to the market side. The focus was to promote value creation beyond food production to support sustainable development in Africa and other developing countries.

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East African scientists and regulators attended an advanced biosafety course

On November 4-13 2016, a 10-day course, organized by IPBO in collaboration with UGent and CIP (International Potato Center), took place in Entebbe, Uganda.
This course was funded with the support of VLIR-UOS, the International Potato Center, the 2 Blades Foundation, Ghent University, and the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB).

tetimonial Leena Tripathi

Testimonial Laura Tripathi IITA

Testimonial on Plant B+B project