Board of Directors
Manager Public Affairs, Euroseeds (Industry group)
César González is Spanish and studied agricultural engineering at the Technical Universities of Catalonia and Madrid. He started his career as a researcher on crop sustainability at ETSIA Madrid and, since then, he has been involved in agricultural and rural development policies at the Spanish and European levels. César joined Euroseeds in September 2018 and is responsible for developing and implementing outreach and advocacy strategies on seed industry-related policy and regulatory issues, specifically towards the EU institutions and key agri-food chain organisations. Previously, César served as a Senior Policy Advisor focusing on animal health and welfare, plant health, and risk management and insurance schemes. César’s multifaceted experience underscores his comprehensive understanding of agricultural policies, public affairs, and industry dynamics, making him a valuable contributor to the European agricultural landscape. He also works on organics and proteins and represents Euroseeds in the ‘Plants for the Future’ technology platform.
I am very grateful for being elected to the Board of the Platform. Working hand in hand with farmers and academia to bring to the public debate the challenges of the seed and breeding sector is a privilege. Together we grow the future.
Senior Policy Advisor at Copa and Cogeca (Farming community group)
Patrick Pagani, an Italian with a background in European Law from the University of Rome, has a rich career path. After initial roles in the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and DG Agriculture of the European Commission, he dedicated several years to the European sugar beet sector. Specializing in sustainability, agriculture, and innovation, Patrick worked closely with the farming community. Currently serving at Copa-Cogeca, he spearheads policy coordination in the office of the Secretary General. Patrick leads the organization’s stance on crucial issues like Farm to Fork, Fit for 55, and food security. Additionally, he oversees the Agriculture Technology portfolio, aiming to position the farming sector as a leader in the data-driven economy and in adopting new technologies for enhanced resource efficiency and modernization.
Being elected to the Plant ETP Board to represent the farmers’ community is a true honor. EU farmers and agri-cooperatives prioritize innovation, research, and technology to modernize agriculture. Amid global challenges like Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, energy crises, and climate change, ensuring food security and sustainability is a top priority. Achieving these goals requires collaboration, innovation, and strategic investments, emphasizing the importance of working with academia and industry stakeholders.
José Luis Riechmann
ICREA Research Professor at CRAG (Academic group)
José Luis Riechmann has a 35-year track record in plant biology research, both in the public and the private sectors. He studied Biology in Madrid and holds a PhD in plant molecular virology. José Luis continued to showcase his versatility by contributing to a start-up company specializing in plant functional genomics. His experience deepened as he assumed the role of director for a genomics laboratory at Caltech, where he played a pivotal role in exploring cutting-edge genomics technologies. In 2008, he embraced the position of ICREA Research Professor at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG). He also took on the directing role at the research centre between 2013 and 2022. His research interests lie at the intersection of developmental biology, transcriptional regulation, and genomics and proteomics in plants.
It is an honor to serve on the Board of Plant ETP, and to help the Platform advance the shared interests of the academic and industrial sectors in agriculture and plant biology research. This is more needed than ever in the EU framework, if we are to successfully transition to a more sustainable agriculture and to maintain the prominence of the agri-food sector in Europe.
Head of Trait Design for Seeds and Traits R&D for Field Crops at BASF (Industry group)
Korneel is a scientist with a PhD in Plant Biotechnology, received at the university of Ghent in 2008. He did many years of research to develop plant varieties that can cope with climate change, including drought, heat, salinity. Korneel joined industry in 2009 and was responsible for the implementation of sensor-based plant phenotyping technologies. Since 2019, he is leading the Trait Design group at the BASF Innovation Center in Ghent, responsible for the early research activities for the development of plant varieties with improved traits.
I am a plant biology scientist with a strong passion for agriculture and a true believer that innovative solutions will help to overcome the global challenges we are facing today. As a multi-stakeholder group Plant ETP brings together the different views that are needed to develop the best possible proposals to shape the future of agriculture in Europe. I joined Plant ETP because I want to co-create the framework to enable the realization of this future.
R&D Director at SESVanderHave (Industry group)
In 2019, Hendrik Tschoep took up the role as R&D Director at SESVanderHave. Hendrik studied breeding and plant biology in Germany and the UK and holds a PhD in molecular plant physiology. He started his career within SESVanderHave as a breeder in 2008. In 2014, he became the Head of Inbred Line Development, in which he coordinated the research activities around the development of new breeding lines. In his current role as R&D Director, Hendrik is responsible for the integration and coordination of the global research and breeding activities within SESVanderHave.
Executive Director, European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) (Academic group)
Karin has been the Executive Director of EPSO since its creation in 2001. She works with the EPSO members and partners to promote plant research in the European science and science policy arena by overseeing the EPSO Working Groups, providing advice and recommendations to policy makers at European, multinational and national level. Karin is member of the Board of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) and represents EPSO in in the Global Plant Council (GPC). She is also a member of the Board of the European Technology Platform ‘Plants for the Future’ and one of the global coordinators of the Fascination of Plants Day. Karin has a M.Sc. in Biochemistry and a PhD in Plant Genetics.
Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca (Farming community group)
Pekka Pesonen has previously been working for the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as state secretary. In addition, Mr Pesonen has professional experience in EU policy work for Finnish farmers, forest owners and agri-forestry cooperatives. In 1990s he worked for a Finnish dairy company Valio in sales and marketing positions. Mr Pesonen has been a member of several high-level advisory groups concerning EU policy preparation. He is an agricultural economist.
Professor of Plant Metabolomics and Deputy Business Unit Manager Bioscience at Wageningen University & Research (Academic group)
Robert gained a PhD in plant biotechnology and enzymology (Edinburgh, 1984) and has subsequently ca 40 years research experience, including 30 years in project / group management. He moved to The Netherlands in 1987 where he holds a Special Professorship in Plant Metabolomics. He is co-founder of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre and was on the Board of the international Metabolomics Society from 2008-2014 and was its elected President (2010-2012). His research centres around the use of metabolomics approaches to improve crop and food quality and in 2018 he was awarded the Nils Foss Prize for Excellence in Food Science. He is scientific advisor / member of a number of international research committees coordinating research strategy and funding both in Europe and N. America. Robert now also carries out a number of strategic roles for WUR as a member of the WUR Europe Council.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to help represent the academic community within Plant ETP. The diverse challenges we now face in global crop production are larger than ever. Finding sustainable solutions requires a united effort right across the value chain from breeding to the supermarket shelf, through a strategy of inclusion and respect. Success in reaching common goals will only come through collaboration
Nathalie van Orsouw
Vice President Technology Development at KeyGene (Industry group)
Nathalie J. van Orsouw-Dollé holds a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Groningen (1998). In 2002 she joined Keygene N.V., Wageningen, The Netherlands, where she is currently working as Vice President Technology Development. Here she leads groups that develop innovative technologies and strategies that boost crop improvement. Focus is on DNA Innovations, to initiate and realise highly innovative molecular breeding technology development [DNA, RNA and protein], Cell & Tissue Innovations, to initiate and realise R&I in the field of genome editing and cell & tissue technologies in plants, and Digital Phenotyping Innovations, to initiate and realise phenotyping innovations to improve either speed, cost or precision of phenotyping, thereby supporting biologicals and trait research.
Global Lead Scientific Affairs at KWS (Industry group)
Viktor Korzun has a degree in Agronomy & Breeding from the Belarussian Agricultural Academy and a PhD in Plant Genetics from the Institute of Genetics and Cytology, Academy of Sciences of Belarus. He was a visiting scientist at Cambridge Laboratory, John Innes Centre for Plant Science Research, Norwich, UK and a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany before he moved in 1999 to KWS as Head of Cereals Breeding Technologies. Since 2018 he has been the Global Lead of Scientific Affairs with a focus on national and international collaboration, relationships with leading universities and institutions and support of young talented scientists in plant breeding-related research.
Viktor has more than 30 years of experience in the development and application of molecular markers and novel breeding technologies in cereal crops. He has authored 170 scientific publications (h-index is 70), is an Associate Editor of the Journal Molecular Breeding and a Member of Science and Impact Advisory Board (SIAB) at John Innes Centre (JIC), UK and a Member of the Scientific Board at State Plant Breeding Institute (LSA) at University Hohenheim UHOH), Germany.
Securing a sustainable global supply of high-quality food and feed and supplying renewable biomass for the production of bio-based products and energy are key priorities for both European and global societies. In the coming decades, the European plant sector will play a central and essential role in meeting this challenge and achieving this will depend strongly on the generation and transfer of new knowledge, and greater innovation in the plant sector.
In this context, Plant ETP plays an important role in contributing to achieve the goals of global food security and sustainable food systems by connecting breeding, farmers and scientists. I’m very honored to serve as a member of Board of Directors of this unique organization.
The Executive Manager is responsible for the daily management of Plant ETP, including the implementation of Plant ETP’s strategic research and innovation agenda.
Executive Manager, Plant ETP
Amrit Nanda is originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, and obtained a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology and Physiology from the Australian National University. Subsequently, she pursued her academic research in Japan, the Philippines and Sweden, specialising in plant development in response to abiotic stress. During her time in Sweden, she also took part and organised several science outreach activities, including the Fascination of Plants Day, and took on the role of Coordinator of the Linnean Centre for Plant Science in Uppsala. With a desire to promote science-based policymaking and a more innovation-friendly policy environment in Europe, she joined Plant ETP as the Executive Manager in February 2020.
After working in academia for a number of years, I wanted to have more impact on European plant and agricultural research and policies, and to help bridge the gap between research and society. Since joining Plant ETP, I have developed a whole new understanding of the complexity of agricultural systems and value chains, as well as the crucial role Plant ETP plays by bringing key stakeholders from the plant sector together around a common vision for the future of European agriculture and promoting the flow of innovation to the market for the greater benefit of society.
Research and Communication Trainee
The Trainee assists in implementing Plant ETP’s research and communication strategies to support its mission and objectives.
Research and Communication Trainee, Plant ETP
Valerija Volčič, originally from Slovenia, holds a degree in Environment and Bioresources Management and is obtaining a Masters degree in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the University of Life Sciences in Vienna. With a career path spanning research and industry roles in Austria and the United States, Valerija has adeptly merged her academic background with hands-on experience in environmental science and agriculture.
My academic path has underscored the paramount importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship in all sectors. My role at Plant ETP has further ignited my enthusiasm for science-based policymaking and the critical need for innovation in agriculture. I’ve come to appreciate the delicate interplay between research, policy, and society, especially in the realm of science communication. It’s a multifaceted skill that needs to be used thoughtfully to educate and involve all stakeholders effectively. I’m eager to apply my interdisciplinary skills to bring about meaningful change in European plant and agricultural research and policies.