The partners

  • Root2Res gathers 22 partners from complementary fields of research: from molecular genetics to field agronomy, and from the plant cell up to the farm, our team combines genetics, botany, soil science, soil microbiology, agronomy, and mathematical modelling. 
  • Moreover, the participants represent 11 different European countries and 2 other relevant countries for the issues addressed, Morocco and South Africa. This distribution allows Root2Res to study a large diversity of agroclimatic situations. 
  • The project covers the whole research and development cycle, thanks to the inclusion of applied research institutes directly connected to the needs of farmers and breeders. 



Click on the partner to unfold

ARVALIS is a French applied research organisation for farmers, specialising in arable crops and their markets. Its work focusses on cereals, maize, sorghum, potatoes, forage crops, flax, tobacco and cover-crops.

Over 460 colleagues staff and 26 sites throughout France, its mission is to find effective agronomic, economic, environmental and plant health solutions. It then communicates to farmers, to help them adapt and face current challenges such as climate change, societal expectations, commercial requirements and international competition. Its research work focusses on agronomy, economy, crop physiology, modelling, genetics, crop management and protection, agroecology, smart farming, agri-equipment, digital applications, harvest and storage, quality, and markets for the agricultural products that are within its remit.

ARVALIS is the coordinator of Root2Res along with the James Hutton Institute and is very involved at national and European levels in the search for solutions to adapt cropping systems to make them more resilient, particularly through root systems optimisation

The James Hutton Institute combines strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, and makes a major contribution to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security, and developing and promoting effective technological and management solutions to these. The Institute is an internationally networked organisation and operates from multiple sites, including two main ones in Scotland at Aberdeen and Dundee.

It employs more than 500 scientists and support staff, making it one of the biggest research centres in the UK and the first of its type in Europe. The Institute is one of the Scottish Government’s main research providers in environmental, crop and food science and has a major role in the Scottish knowledge economy. The Institute brought together the former Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and the Scottish Crop Research Institute on 1 April 2011. James Hutton (1726–1797) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, an eighteenth-century golden age of intellectual and scientific achievements centred on Edinburgh. He is internationally regarded as the founder of modern geology and one of the first scientists to describe the Earth as a living system.

ADAS is the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy, policy advice and research and development. With 75 years of experience in the farming and environmental sector, ADAS translates science into pragmatic, workable solutions for farmers, landowners, corporate organisations, and government.

ADAS’s involvement in the Root2Res project is within the soils, crops, and water (SCW) business unit which undertakes applied research across the areas of crop protection, crop physiology, soils and nutrients, modelling and informatics, and policy and economics. Within these areas of research ADAS have led work including large scale variety trials, working with plant breeders to develop traits for sustainable crop production; research to better understand resource use efficiency of crops; and understanding the effects of crop management, such as cultivation and agronomic inputs, on rooting performance of our arable crops.

Across the UK ADAS has both controlled and field environment facilities which are used to study elements associated with soil related parameters and crop performance, these facilities will be exploited in the Root2Res project to study a range of rooting traits across a number of genotypes with and without imposed abiotic stress.

The Agricultural Research Council is a premier science institution that conducts research with partners, develops human capital and fosters innovation in support of the agricultural sector. The ARC provides diagnostic, laboratory, analytical, agricultural engineering services, post-harvest technology development, agrochemical evaluation, consultation and advisory services, food processing technology services as well as various surveys and training interventions. Research and development in mitigating biotic and abiotic constraints in agriculture is performed on mandated crops to contribute to food security. Sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.)] is one of the major staple crops combating malnutrition in developing countries. Rain-fed agriculture is predominant in subsistence farming therefore increased resilience against drought is desired to improve food security of resource poor farmers. Root phenotyping and better understanding of sweet potato root development can aid in the development of resilient cultivars.

The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) is part of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University and comprises research within the areas of Plant Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, RNA Biology and Innovation, Protein Science, Cellular Health, Intervention and Nutrition. The department hosts 147 full time scientific staff, 66 technical/ administrative staff and 80 PhD students. The department is responsible for two educations, Molecular Biology and Molecular Medicine, with a yearly uptake of 120 students in total.
Scientists from MBG are leaders or partners in seven centres of excellence funded by major Danish funding agencies and the department further hosts DANDRITE, the Danish node of EMBL’s partnership with the Nordic countries (recently extended with a 75 million DKK grant from the Lundbeck foundation). The department conducts research at the highest international level as evidenced by the number of external grants awarded to MBG’s researchers as well as the 177 peer reviewed research papers published in 2021. In the last two years, MBG has received 350 million DKK in external funding, including 15 DFF grants, 3 EU network grants, 2 ERC grants, 3 career grants for new PIs. The department ensures continuous international recruitment though an annual talent development program (Young Investigator Program). 

With 2.200 scientists and 11.000 students, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna is one of the leading universities of life sciences in Europe. Thanks to the connection of natural sciences, engineering as well as economics and social sciences, the areas of research and teaching at BOKU stand out due to an holistic approach to the problems in question.
Sustainability, climate impacts, scarcity of resources, protection of the environment, food and health security: The challenges and problems of our time are linked in multiple ways and can only be solved interdisciplinarily and transdisciplinarily. The BOKU is part of 18 agreements in the form of network memberships, holds about 360 multilateral and bilateral partnerships with universities and research facilities and is part of the European university EPICUR. 

The National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy, and one of the European’s leading research institutions. CNR contributes to the project activities with a team of the Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP). Its mission is to contribute to the progress of the scientific and technological knowledge useful for the development and improvement of sustainable and innovative agri-food systems. CNR-IPSP studies plant responses to biotic and abiotic stress factors, with the aim of identifying mechanisms of resistance and adaptation and to promote plant health in agriculture and forestry.

CNR will take care of root phenotyping in long tubes (WP2) and will lead the gene expression analyses on root samples from WP5. Additionally, CNR team will actively participate to diverse dissemination and communication activity.

FEUGA has a dedicated department of European Programmes, consisting of a team with more than 10 years’ experience in EU projects. This department promotes the participation of research groups from the Galician universities, as well as from industry, in European and international research & innovation initiatives and actions through tailor-made advice. 

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL is one of the world’s leading institutes in the field of organic. FiBL’s strengths lie in its interdisciplinary research, innovations developed jointly with farmers and the food industry, solution-oriented development projects and rapid knowledge transfer from research into practice. FiBL has expertise in all matters related to organic agriculture: soil management and plant production, species-appropriate animal husbandry and animal health, socioeconomics, organic food processing and comprehensive analysis of the organic market.
In Root2Res FiBL will participate in the development of the phenotyping toolbox and be responsible for the analysis of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal abundance and composition. It will perform two field trials with pea and collect genotypic data.
FiBL will be responsible for coordinating Root2Res dissemination activities including managing dissemination tools, organising two symposia, influencing policy, joint actions with sister projects and managing the project open access repository.

With more than 6,700 employees, Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) – a member of the Helmholtz Association –is one of Europe’s largest interdisciplinary research institutions. Scientists of biological, physical, chemical, and engineering disciplines are working together on long-term, basis-oriented interdisciplinary science projects as well as technological application for end-users. As part of the FZJ, the Institute of Bio-and Geosciences (IBG-2; Plant Sciences) focuses on plants as the basis for a future bioeconomy of renewable raw materials, crop production in temperate and sub-tropical regions. This requires multidisciplinary approaches from plant sciences, engineering,  quantitative  genetics,  chemistry,  and  technologies  e.g.  (non-invasive) technologies for plant phenotyping, breeding, and cooperation worldwide 

ICARDA and its partners deliver resilient, climate-smart agri-food systems by undertaking innovative, science-based research for development. ICARDA works on improving food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of rural farmers facing environmental and man-made challenges in climate-vulnerable dry areas of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
ICARDA’s portfolio includes collecting, conserving, and researching plant genetic resources vital for climate-smart crops while developing innovative soil, water, and agronomy technologies to ensure better yields. ICARDA also increases farmer incomes through better agricultural systems and market access, builds capacities of farmers, partners, and institutions to research and manage new technologies, and improves access to agricultural enterprise and development for women and youth.
ICARDA is leading work package 4 and contributing to work packages 1-3 in the Roots2Res project, undertaking activities such as field trials, controlled trials, and utilizing original root phenotyping tools. ICARDA will also leverage its Morocco facilities and strong relationships with local farmers and breeders to support the project.

IRTA‘s mission is to contribute to modernising, improving, boosting competitiveness, and fostering sustainable development in the sectors of agriculture, food, agroforestry, aquaculture, and fishing, as well as in all areas of activity directly or indirectly related to the supply of healthy, high-quality foodstuffs to end consumers, while also contributing to food safety and safe processing of foodstuffs and enhancing the health of the population. The general objectives are to promote research and technological development in the area of agri-food, to facilitate the transfer of scientific advances and to evaluate its own technological advances whilst seeking the best coordination and collaboration between the public and private sectors.
The IRTA research team belongs to the Sustainable Field Crops Program. The main research line of the team is the development of new tools and approaches to increase the efficiency to obtain new wheat varieties adapted to the Mediterranean environment. 

The Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (KIS) is the leading research institute in the field of agriculture in Slovenia, committed to sustainable agriculture by applying innovative research and technology and knowledge transfer to different beneficiaries (academia, government, professionals, farmers, public). It is a governmental non-profit research institution with defined activities in the sense of public with 250 employees, of which 93 are researchers.
KIS main areas of activities are crop science, plant protection, animal production, fruit growing, viticulture and oenology, agricultural ecology and natural resources, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, and energetics. The research and professional work are executed through 7 research departments and various research, infrastructure and experimental centres and laboratories, located in the central and eastern parts of Slovenia.
Research team of the Crop Science Department brings knowledge and experience in the field of plant genetics and breeding of potato, wheat, and legumes to help achieving the main objectives of the Root2Res project in the areas of plant genetics, root phenotyping and modelling tools

KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. Over 5,000 employees* in more than 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021/2022. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 165 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, oilseed rape and sunflower. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than €285 million last fiscal year in research and development.

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NEIKER is the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development. NEIKER supports, promotes and contributes to improving the agri-food sector focusing on preservation of the environment, the generation of scientific knowledge and transferrable solutions for the well-being and wealth of society.
NEIKER has a strong expertise in plant-environment interactions and benefit from state-of-the-art field facilities, laboratories as well as custom made software for studying plant-soil systems. Within the project, NEIKER will contribute to the development of mathematical models of root-soil interactions and use them to help identify root traits that confer resilience to changing environmental conditions. Current crop models fail to capture the ability of root systems to acquire water and nutrients because of critical processes taking place within the soil surrounding roots, the rhizosphere, are lacking. NEIKER will focus on the development of rhizosphere processes and help incorporating them into simulation platforms used by partners. 

Solynta is a hybrid potato innovator based in the Netherlands. Solynta is using hybrid potato breeding to grow a more sustainable future. Solynta’s mission is to help create global solutions for food and nutritional insecurity by giving farmers better, stronger and more cost-efficient ways to grow crops. Solynta’s true potato seeds combine years of agricultural experience with the newest hybrid breeding technologies. Solynta’s technology will provide resistance to disease and pests, provide ease of use, and facilitate production speed and scalability. To learn more about their mission to unlock the true potential of potatoes, visit

In the ‘Roots to resilience’ project, we aim to gain knowledge on the contribution of roots to the resilience of crops, and that of potato crops in particular. Additionally, we are interested to the role of microbes in the soil and how they contribute to the resilience of potato crops. Gaining scientific insights into root resilience may give valuable knowledge that fits into our potato innovation activities 

Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority) is the national public body providing integrated research, advisory, education and training services to the Irish agri-food sector. Within Roots2Res, two departments will contribute. The Crop Science Department, based at Oak Park Research Centre in Carlow, is home of the Teagasc/IPM Potato Group Potato Breeding programme, which is supported by an experienced potato genetics and genomics research group. These groups are contributing to identifying and understanding the underlying genetics of potato root characteristics involved in resistance to abiotic stresses in the project. The Environment and Land Use Department, based at Johnstown Castle, Wexford, is Irelands leading research institute on soils and environment related research and conducts research on soil health, soil-plant interactions, biodiversity, nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emissions and agroecology. They will contribute to the microbial aspects of Roots2Res

The University of Dundee is the UK’s top-ranked University for biological sciences according to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), the most comprehensive assessment of research across the UK.
Our School of Life Sciences is one of the largest research complexes at any UK university, with over 800 researchers and post-doctoral students making fundamental discoveries on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying health and disease in humans, animals, plants, parasites and bacteria
The School has had a successful partnership with the James Hutton Institute since 2002 with our division of Plant Sciences based there. This enables interaction and collaboration between research in areas such as plant disease, root-soil interface, and crops vital to the economy such as barley and potato as well as access to extensive facilities. The Institute is home to the International Barley Hub.
In Root2Res, Dundee will be directly responsible for sample preparation and data analysis of the plant microbiome of the key species to be investigated in the project.’

Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) is an Italian university located in the city of Ancona, including five faculties (Engineering, Science, Economic Sciences, Medicine and Agricultural Sciences), with about 17,000 students.
The research team of the Plant Genetic group involved in Root2Res is affiliated to the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental sciences (D3A-UNIVPM), and has a wide expertise in plant genetic resources conservation, management and exploitation, pre-breeding activities, plant phenotyping, participatory breeding strategies and citizen science experiments, biodiversity conservation, population genetics and genomics, and evolutionary studies on legumes and cereals, carrying out high-quality international scientific research. UNIVPM Plant Genetic group is coordinating the H2020 EU project INCREASE, aiming to enhance strategies for the characterization, management and use of genetic resources on food legumes, crucial for sustainability, food security and human health.
Plant Genetic group facilities: Molecular laboratory equipped also with Biomark X (Fluidigm Ltd.), high-throughput single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, gene expression and copy number variation analysis; High-throughput phenotyping platforms for phenotypic characterization of root architecture and seeds traits through image acquisition and analysis, using AI systems; D3A experimental farm to conduct trials both in field and greenhouse (with the possibility to control temperature, water and mineral nutrition supplies). 

The Universidade de Vigo (UVigo) is a young and dynamic institution that offers a wide range of training programs in three specialized and innovative campuses. Our university has been built on deep positive values, based on transparency and good management, integration, equality, diversity and respect for the environment. The University of Vigo aims to develop actions, strategies and solutions based on nature, aimed at evaluating the climate vulnerability of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, natural and agricultural ones, and mitigating the effects of climate change not only on the ecosystems but also on the communities of people who depend on them.
The team headed by Adela M. Sánchez-Moreiras includes seven PhD Students, two post-docs and collaborations with different national and international groups. The group is specialized in weed management for sustainable agriculture, ranging from the molecular to the field level, and has also a great experience in the analysis of the stress response of plants to different abiotic factors related to climate change. In particular, over the last few years, the group has evaluated the root response through microscopic, metabolomic, proteomic and transcriptomic approaches of agricultural and non-agricultural plants to different abiotic factors. The experience achieved is reflected in numerous high-impact indexed publications (i.e. Díaz-Tielas et al., 2014; 2019; Graña et al., 2017; 2020; López-González et al., 2020a,b; Borrajo et al., 2021; 2022) and participation in national and international projects (EU-Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (771367); Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (RTI2018-094716-B-I00); Galician Government (GRC2015/012), etc. 

Focusing on the mission ‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) combines fundamental and applied knowledge in order to contribute to resolving important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. Over 6,500 employees and more than 12,000 students are inspired by nature, society, and technology and tackle the issues with an open and curious perspective. This inspiration has enabled WUR to be amazed, develop knowledge, and apply this knowledge internationally for over a century, by collaborating with governments, companies, non-governmental organizations and other research institutes.
Within WUR, the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) conducts plant research at all levels. From molecules and cells to crop systems, new technologies and the interactions between plants, pathogens and insects: PSG combines the knowledge and expertise of our colleagues to offer new perspectives for sustainable agriculture. PSG works on resilient plants and crops, as well as climate-resilient and circular production systems that contribute to biodiversity, soil quality and food security.

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany, was established in 1991 as the first and only centre in the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres to be exclusively devoted to environmental research in a great variety of fields. It currently employs around 1100 people. Founded in response to the severe pollution prevailing in Central Germany, the UFZ has become a world-wide acknowledged centre of expertise in the remediation and re-naturation of contaminated landscapes, as well as the preservation of biodiversity and natural landscapes. UFZ is and was participating in more than 90 Projects funded within FP7 and Horizon 2020, 35 of them coordinated by UFZ (collaborative and individual projects). UFZ is or was the host for 3 ERC grants, 2 Starting Grants and 1 Advanced Grant, and has coordinated 3 ITNs. Since 2014 the UFZ is leading the European Topic Centre on Inland, coastal and marine waters funded by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
For the Department Soil System Science within UFZ soil is a key component in the terrestrial environment and plays a crucial part in the water, carbon and nutrient cycles and in the mobility of pollutants. As a filter for clean groundwater and as a habitat for an enormous variety of organisms, it also fulfils a number of indispensable functions for agricultural production. In the working group soil plant interaction there is a focus on biological, physical and chemical processes that occur at the interface between soil and roots, the underground part of plants. The size of the interface is dynamic, depending on rates of growth and decay. The spatial distribution of roots in a soil profile is influenced by soil structure and heterogeneity in resource availability.
However, by their activity roots alter their environment; i.e. soil structure, soil chemistry, distribution of water, nutrients, and trace elements. Roots are an important source of organic matter and hence attract and nourish microorganisms in their immediate vicinity. Numerous positive and negative feedback loops make the soil-root interface highly dynamic in respect to chemical, physical and biological properties.
From the plant perspective as a sessile organism, this all serves to optimize the acquisition of scarce resources or to avoid toxic ones with a minimal energy investment to allow for growth and reproduction. From the ecosystem perspective these processes do not only impact net primary production and decomposition, habitat quantity and quality for microorganisms, but also transport of water and chemicals in soil. Within the working group soil-plant interaction we develop methods for investigating in situ for the rhizosphere and bulk soil the dynamics of
• physical characteristics (soil strength and structure),
• hydrological characteristics (availability and distribution of water), and
• chemical characteristics (concentration and distribution of nutrients and toxic elements).
On lab and field scale we try to quantify how changes in these characteristics feedback on plant growth and transport of water and chemicals. We work on several questions in the context of (i) efficient use of scarce resources (water, nutrients, K), (ii) cycling of nutrients for sustainable production (Si), (iii) availability of contaminants (As), (iv) alteration of soil structure by roots, (v) plant-microbe interplay.