NovoCrops PhD Summer School 2022: Biotechnological advances for future crop production

PhD summer school

Plant production is facing unprecedented challenges. In 2050, the human population will exceed nine billion and the demand for staple crops and livestock will have increased by 60%. Climate change has imposed a strong need for crops with improved tolerance to heat, drought, salinization of soils, and flooding. At the same time, we must reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and preserve natural habitats.

The NovoCrops PhD Summer School 2022 will provide students with an overview of the latest advances in the fields of genomics and biotechnology applied to the development of resilient crops for the future. Focus will be on practical aspects of gene editing and specific challenges faced when working with non-staple crops.

Course load: 5 ECTS points.



Course contents

The course will cover the following main topics:

  • Domestication and accelerated domestication
  • Genetic resources for crop improvement, including wild relatives and mutant populations
  • Genetics and genomics, including mapping of agronomic traits and evolutionary genomics
  • New breeding technologies, including transformation of wild relatives and an update on the CRISPR-based toolbox
  • Academic activities will be complemented with sessions on intellectual property rights and European GM regulations.

The course includes participation in the NNF Symposium on Crop Improvement in the Gene-Editing Era on 18 Aug.

Learning outcomes

After the course, the students will be able to:

  • Describe the workflow of targeted breeding strategies from identification of natural variability to characterization of new cultivars
  • Identify the main challenges faced when working with wild relatives and semi-domesticated crops
  • Describe the main challenges of plant transformation and genome editing
  • Apply biotechnological strategies for crop improvement in their own projects


Invited international speakers:

  • Nils Stein, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben, Germany
  • Kenneth Olsen, Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
  • Dan Voytas, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA

The invited international speakers will be joined by a selected group of experts from UCPH and Aarhus University, working in the NovoNordisk Foundation, NovoCrops project, or other large crop improvement initiatives.

Deadline for registration:  05 Aug 2022
Course organizers:  Rosa López-Marqués and Fernando Geu-Flores

Registration:  If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact Xu Zhai (