The European project entitled “Strengthening Capacities & promoting Innovation in plantomics at the University of Sfax” was launched on Monday 5 December 2022 at Sfax University.
The project is coordinated by the University of Sfax with the participation of three European partners: the University of Ghent (Belgium), the University of Pavia (Italy) and the Helmholtz Research Center in Munich (Germany).
Spanning a period of 3 years (until the end of 2025), this Twinning project falls under the 9th EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Program, said project coordinator Moez Hanin.
The official, who was speaking at the kickoff meeting, which was attended by a plethora of researchers representing partner universities as well as young researchers from the Higher Biotechnology Institute in Sfax, added that the main objective of the project is to “provide scientific knowledge on new omics technologies at Sfax University, in collaboration with a strong network of European universities and institutions”.
“The aim is to strengthen the scientific community and develop excellence in plant biotechnology research and innovation and to promote sustainable plant production, agricultural products and food security in a constantly changing environment amid climate change challenges.”
For the University of Sfax, this involves, according to its president Abdelwahed Mokni, “strengthening the capacity of its human resources, its visibility and its presence on the international scene” in addition to promoting research useful to society including agriculture and grain production and finally access to innovative research platforms pushed in Europe and transfer of knowledge and know-how.
For his part, Mr. Helmi Mardassi, director of the management unit of the European Program for Research and Development highlighted the importance of this type of project in strengthening the capacity of academic institutions and research and the promotion of excellence in the field of research and innovation.
The “omics” include the various disciplines of biology whose names end with the suffix “-omics”, such as genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics and transcriptomics.
Indeed, in a context of increasing climate change, where agriculture is called upon to find alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are not ecologically sustainable, in order to meet the growing demand for food, advanced plant biotechnology tools, and in particular “Omics” technologies, offer great potential to design new solutions for sustainable agriculture.
The emergence of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has generated large amounts of data in areas such as genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and phenomena.
At the end of the project, the implementation of a first North African technology platform equipped with advanced OMICs technologies is planned.
It will serve to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and innovations to researchers and other stakeholders through the scientific knowledge building that the project will provide.