November 2014 Editorial

Robbie Girling, Project Coordinator (WP0 leader)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome to the first of a series of editorials that will take place over the next five newsletters. Each editorial will be written by one of the project work package leaders, working in sequence through the 6 work packages that make up the COBRA project. These newsletters will be released every three months, taking us up to the end of the project in February 2016. This first editorial will focus on the management work package (WP0), which we at the Organic Research Centre co-ordinate. Most recently we have been involved in producing the mid-term report for COBRA, which summarises all of the progress made on the project over the first 18months, from 3/2013 – 9/2014. The report will be reviewed in the coming weeks by CORE Organic and the national bodies, who will then provide feedback. We are hopeful that this will be a relatively efficient process and that the report will be published early in the New Year. As soon as the final report becomes available we will upload it the COBRA website (www.cobra-div.eu).

I have recently represented COBRA at an international seminar on ‘European Organic Research Conclusions, Implementation and Future Collaborations’ run for all 14 current CORE Organic Research projects. The event took place on the 1st of October 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden with the coordinators from each project presenting and discussing the achievements made so far in their respective projects. The meeting was attended by representatives of many of the national funding bodies involved in CORE throughout Europe along with key stakeholders and members of the EIP-Agri Service Point. You can see video highligh from the meeting and learn more about the other CORE Organic projects at http://www.coreorganic.org/. One of the key topics of discussion around COBRA was how to ensure better communication within large projects like COBRA and also how to improve communication of our results to stakeholders. One idea that raised a lot of interest was the extended use of social media. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to further promote our facebook page (search ‘COBRA – Coordinating Organic BReeding Activities for diversity’ on facebook). COBRA also plans to start a youtube channel in the near future, which will give all partners on the project an opportunity to post short videos about the outcomes of their research and to promote their field trials.

Another opportunity for people to learn more about the project will be available in June 2015 when COBRA will be holding a joint conference with ECO-PB and EUCARPIA at Freising in Germany. COBRA researchers will be given the opportunity to present their data and by linking up with a EUCARPIA meeting (the aim of which is to establish a working group on plant microbe interactions) as well as ECO-PB, we hope it will attract a good audience of researchers from across Europe. Currently the meeting is in the early stages of planning and dates have yet to be confirmed, but it looks likely that it will be on the 24-26th of June. We will keep you updated with information via the COBRA website, facebook site and future newsletters.

Finally, it is with sadness that I have to inform you that I will be leaving COBRA at the end of February 2015. I will be moving on from the Organic Research Centre to take up a new role and therefore will no longer be able to coordinate the project. I want to take this official opportunity to thank all the partners for their hard work and diligence and for making the project an enjoyable experience for me. Henry Creissen will continue to act as deputy coordinator for the project and will be joined by a new coordinator on or soon after the 1st of March 2015. I wish the project the greatest success and will be watching on with keenness from my new role. I look forward to reading the next editorial in this series, which will focus on seed health and quality (WP1) and will be written by work package leader Anders Borgen.