Biotechnical Faculty wins funding for viroid project

Ljubljana, 11 April - Ljubljana's Biotechnical Faculty will receive funding from a call by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks (MSCA DN) to finance a project on pathogenesis and control of viroids for sustainable agriculture, worth EUR 2.5 million. The European Commission will grant a total of EUR 433 million to 128 projects.

The doctoral network ViroiDoc, bringing together the faculty, the National Chemistry Institute, and the Hops and Beer-Brewing Institute, will aim to train ten doctoral students for a career in molecular biology, bioinformatics, product R&D, services and innovations in European agriculture.

The main goal of the network is to understand and control viroids in line with the Green Deal, the Farm To Fork strategy and the EU environment protection programme, the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministry said on Wednesday.

The programme will improve the excellency of European research, increase awareness of viroids and improve food safety and sustainability of European agriculture, the ministry wrote.

The project was rated the fourth best in the field of science by the MSCA.

Viroids are the smallest infectious plant pathogens, which are responsible for crop loss worth tens of millions euros every year. They affect the yield and quality of crops. Climate change is allowing viroids to spread to new geographic locations and hosts.