Board and Manager

The Plant ETP Board of Directors consists of 8-12 natural persons representing the Plant ETP members. To ensure a balanced representation, the seats on the Board are divided between the three stakeholder groups: academia, industry and the farming community.

The position of Chair of the Board of Directors of Plant ETP is currently held by Marc Cornelissen from the industry group.

Board of Directors

Cesar Gonzalez

César González

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 researcher on crop sustainability at ETSIA Madrid and, since then, he has been involved in agricultural and rural development policies at Spanish and European level. 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. He also works on organics and research and innovation policies 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

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Patrick Pagani

Senior Policy Advisor, COPA-COGECA (Farming community group)

Patrick Pagani is Italian and studied European Law at the University of Rome. After early experiences in the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and DG Agriculture of the European Commission he has worked for several years in the European sugar beet sector on sustainability, agriculture and innovation matters in close link with the farming community. Patrick is currently responsible for policy coordination within Copa-Cogeca, working in the office of the Secretary General. Among other files he has been coordinating the organization stance on Farm to Fork, Fit for 55 and food security. He is also in charge of the Agriculture Technology work with the Secretariat, aiming to make the farming sector one of the frontrunners in the data-driven economy and in developing new technologies for better resource efficiency, improving and modernising the agriculture sector.

It is indeed an honor being elected in the Board of Plant ETP representing the farmers community. EU farmers and agri-cooperatives believe that investments in innovation, research and technology are essential to improving and modernising the agriculture sectors. In the context of the cumulative crises the world and EU have been facing since the last years – Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, climate change – food security and sustainability are priority objectives for the farming community requiring cooperation, innovation and investment if they are to be delivered on. Working in partnership with academia and industry stakeholders is and will be key in this respect

Jose Luis Riechmann

José Luis Riechmann

ICREA Research Professor at the Centre for Research on Agricultural Genomics (Academic group)

José Luis Riechmann has a 35-year track record in plan biology research, both in the public and the private sectors. He studied Biology in Madrid and holds a PhD in plant molecular virology. After postdoctoral training in plant developmental biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), he joined a start-up company in the field of plant functional genomics, was director of a genomics laboratory at Caltech, and since 2008 is ICREA Research Professor at CRAG, a research center that he directed 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.

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Hendrik Tschoep

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.

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Karin Metzlaff

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.

Marc Cornelissen

Marc Cornelissen

Sustainability Lead for Seeds and Traits at BASF (Industry group)

Marc has a 37-year track record in crop research and development working for Plant Genetic Systems, AgrEvo, Aventis, Bayer and at present BASF. Marc has been associated with the Plant ETP since its conception early 2000. For most of his career Marc headed global discovery and global research operations. Since 2018 he is focussing full-time on the migration towards crop innovation enabling sustainable farming. Today he is a strong believer that sustainable farming requires on the one hand a sound economics for “climate-smart” farming combined with a harmonised language across the value chain that enables scaling of production, and on the other hand a lasting societal demand for healthy, sustainably produced food.


Pekka Pesonen

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.


Observer to the Board of Directors

Bdp Bilder Mitarbeiter Jacobi

Jan Jacobi

Head of EU Office, GFPi – German Federation for Plant Innovation & FEI – Research Association of the German Food Industry

Sustainable agriculture starts with providing a diversity of high-performing and sustainable plant varieties. In order for plant breeders to select for the right traits at an early stage, cooperation between farmers, scientists and breeders is important. The ETP Plants for the Future offers an ideal pan-European platform to discuss and for transferring the latest ideas from science with current and future practical needs into joint research and innovation ideas. As chairman of the Euroseeds Working Group Research, I am pleased to join the Board to bring the interests of the diverse breeding industry into the work of Plant ETP.

Nathalie Van Orsouw

Nathalie van Orsouw-Dollé

Vice President Technology Development at KeyGene

The Plant ETP is an important platform where at EU level discussions and recommendations take place that have an effect on strategic choices to be made regarding innovations in plant breeding.

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Uli Schurr

Direktor of IBG-2: Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich (DE) and Vice-President of EPSO

The Plant ETP is a cornerstone in ensuring cooperation in the plant-based sector and supports the development of crucial innovation in the European plant sector


Executive Manager

The Executive Manager is responsible for the daily management of Plant ETP, including the implementation of Plant ETP’s strategic research and innovation agenda.

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Amrit Nanda

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 on 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.