SolACE is keeping pace with its aims after its first birthday party in Italy

The SolACE project has achieved a lot since it started, one and a half years ago. SolACE organized its first Annual Meeting in Foggia, Italy in Mid-May 2018. Results of the first completed experiments were presented and partners had the opportunity to visit large panels of durum wheat genotypes in the CREA field trials. Parallel to the Durum Days, a second SolACE Stakeholder Event took place, offering a unique opportunity for stakeholders to learm about and challenge the SoLACE innovations.

Jacques David and Jacques Le Gouis (INRA) examining the evolutionary pre-breeding population of durum wheat in the field trials at CREA during the First Annual Meeting in Foggia, Italy. Photo: Philippe Hinsinger, 2018

SolACE is now close to one and a half years old and had its first birthday party in Foggia, Italy, thanks to local organizers, Nicola Pecchioni and his great group at CREA. This has been a great success and provided a first opportunity for SolACE partners to report on the very first experimental results produced within the project, to further exchange about ongoing and future experiments, to make critical decisions about protocols, methods, farmers’ networks and many other items. We invited Andrea Schubert, who is the coordinator of SolACE’s companion project TomRes, to join us and we were lucky enough to host him as a participant for the entire first Annual Meeting. Andrea gave an overview of his project and we had many opportunities to exchange about similarities/dissimilarities between our two companion projects. It was decided that we would organize our second Annual Meeting in 2019 in Dundee, Scotland, jointly with TomRes, to foster potential collaborations between our groups. Two members of the SolACE Stakeholders Advisory Board (SAB), Ivan Ortiz Monasterio (CIMMYT) and Peter Kromann (CIP), actively participated in the whole meeting, providing external feedback on the advancement of our project. LEAF also provided training (and entertainment) about designing and producing video clips to showcase our achievements in the project.

Another important feature of this first Annual Meeting was the second Stakeholder Event, which took place alongside the Durum Days, in order to host local stakeholders amongst the many attendees of this unique annual event. Several SolACE partners had the opportunity to showcase some of the SolACE innovations through a Dragon Den’s approach orchestrated by expert colleagues from the University of Newcastle. These innovations were challenged by stakeholders in a rather exciting format.

This whole event was an opportunity for the big SolACE team to meet for the second time to further get to know each other and socialize in a Mediterranean style, enjoying the best of Italian food and drinks. A great birthday party!

It is now time to report on the first 18-months of our 5-year project, and we look forward at sharing the new knowledge accumulated so far in SolACE.