CORNET: Research transfer works well
The ground is a bit soggy from the rain. On a tour through the field, most of the visitors are wearing plastic covers to protect their shoes. Having arrived at the first spot, the group moves a little closer to get a better view: arranged in a chequered pattern, rye plantlets of different sizes and stages of development are stretching towards the cloudy sky. They were planted by researchers from the CORNET project “NoErgot”, in which Poland, Germany and Austria are involved to commonly test the resistance of rye to ergot. Here, on this day in the Polish town of Kalisz, all participants who are involved in the project are meeting for an exchange – researchers as well as representatives from companies.
The joint project meetings with the researchers allow the companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to be updated on the current project status, to ask questions and thus to actively influence the further course of the project, ensuring that they are really benefitting from the research which CORNET generally aims for.
Consistently positive feedback from companies
Dr. Franz Joachim Fromme, breeding director of the small seed breeding company HYBRO Saatzucht GmbH & Co. KG, is thrilled: “With the help of the research results, we will be able to breed new rye that is more resistant to ergot fungus than before.” Brigitta Schmiedchen from the plant breeding company KWS Lochow GmbH, who also participates in the project, emphasises the benefits of international pre-competitive Collective Research for individual companies that often lack the capacity to carry out research activities on their own: “We could not have generated the insights we gained on the genetic resistance of rye just by ourselves.”
These and other, consistently positive responses were received by a delegation of representatives from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF), who also attended the project meeting in Kalisz and positively examined the relevance of the research for SMEs as target group of the project funding.
Apart from Kalisz, visits to project meetings in Poznan, Berlin, Vienna and Zurich were also on the agenda in 2018. The topics covered by the projects being visited included, in addition to plant breeding, innovative coating of parquet floors, energy saving in brick production and increasing efficiency of diesel engines which reflects the great variety of international CORNET projects.
CORNET promotes competitiveness of SMEs
The background of the visits by BMWi, which financially supports the CORNET coordination, and AiF, which coordinates the international funding network, was an initiative to examine and strengthen the transfer of knowledge and technology to industry. The fact that this has been working well in CORNET was confirmed once again during the delegation’s visits. Felix Rotter from AiF summed up his impressions: “By participating in the meetings, I was able to experience how CORNET projects demonstrably increase the competitiveness of SMEs.”
Further visits to international CORNET project meetings are also planned for 2019.
Pictures: © FEI / Dr. Jan Jacobi