WG5: Communication platform on plant RNAi

Objectives: To develop an effective communication strategy and platform for the Action that reaches all interested parties and the general public as well as members of the Action.

Tasks, Deliverables: 

1. A communication and dissemination plan developed in year 1. This will include:

-       Organizing the conference and workshop programme together with other WGs.

-       Establishing links with a wide range of stakeholders from different countries and organizations (plant breeders and multipliers, growers, consumer associations and NGOs). Involve them in discussions and workshops on the economic, social, biosafety and ethical issues. Arrange demonstrations of RNAi plants to stakeholders and the public. The dissemination plan will be updated with the scientific progress of the research partners involved in the Action as well the results of its own studies (e.g. on biosafety evaluation) in order to allow rapid dissemination of the most recent developments during the course of the Action. Deliverable: A communication and dissemination plan

2. Coordination of Training courses: Training is one of the main objectives of this Action. A series of Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) will be offered to young scientists. These STSMs will facilitate transfer of knowledge, training in new techniques (e.g. transformation systems, construct design, biosafety testing), the use of important new equipment and experimentation in the lab and field. Furthermore, young scientists will benefit from a mentoring program, due to the presence of highly qualified scientists in this consortium with extensive mentoring experience and tutoring. This will foster personal connections and provide opportunities for future career development of the early stage researchers. Training workshops, with hands-on training of participants, will be designed to provide young scientists with the skills to produce GM constructs and plants expressing novel miRNAs and dsRNAs. Training workshops (e.g. production of the RNA molecules, biosafety assessment) linked to existing international E-biosafety training programs (e.g. UNIDO-UGent-UNIVPM E-biosafety network), will be organized at the participants’ institutes with the respective know-how and expertise. The material from these training workshops will be available to all participants via the Action web site. Biosafety guidelines will be established at the beginning of this Action in order to provide a standardized training of all participants in the appropriate handling of the material used (e.g. inducer molecules, pests, pathogens, NTOs etc.). These guidelines and other EU regulations will be followed obligatorily by all individual countries. Deliverables: establishment and execution of training programmes.

3. Establish and manage On Line Platform and Web site. This Action’s web site will serve as an open-portal for all Action activities providing up-to-date information on Action achievements and contact point for all interesting parties (e.g. SMEs, grower groups, etc.). In addition, it will publish information of Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter with links to the website. The web site will be frequently updated but with major revisions following each management board meeting. The information posted will include:

- General information about COST and this Action (objectives, biosafety guidelines, achievements, etc.);

- Intranet: a secure portal for Action participants will be made;

- National portals highlighting activities in individual Signatory countries;

- Proceedings of meetings (talks and posters from meetings), bulletins and information pamphlets, and other reports (e.g. STSM reports);

- Videos of useful material (e.g. transformation systems);

- Short-term scientific missions STSM Calls (guidelines and application material);

- Job announcements;

- Publications and contact information for Action participants;

- Other relevant news and links (institutes, labs and EU organizations).

4. Establish a Publications Task Force to consider the desirability and feasibility of publishing a book which reviews current knowledge on plant RNAi. The book would need to be of broad scientific interest as well as a valuable teaching tool for students, practitioners, regulators and risk assessors of RNAi technology. If considered desirable, book proposals would be sent to prospective publishers for their reaction.