A seed scientist at the Millennium Seed Bank
kew.org > Kew Science > Projects > NASSTEC – NAtive Seed Science, TEchnology and Conservation, Initial Training Network (ITN)

NASSTEC – NAtive Seed Science, TEchnology and Conservation, Initial Training Network (ITN)

Training the next generation of seed scientists to ensure provision of a wide range of high quality seed lots for habitat regeneration.

Project details

Project Leader: 
Funded By: 
EU Framework 7

Objectives and outputs

Building capacity in seed companies to ensure provision of a wide range of high quality seed lots for habitat regeneration depends on training the next generation of seed scientists. NASSTEC is addressing these needs in a number of ways, by:

  • Characterising seed quality in a broad range of species from mainly grassland habitats in the Alpine, Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean ecogeographic regions.
  • Working closely with the seed industry, through knowledge transfer, collaborative projects and secondments.
  • Training the next generation of eleven researchers in seed science and policy, through the establishment of network and development and delivery of a new curriculum on seed biology with the University of Pavia, Italy.

From meadows to woodland

Atlantic meadow on which seed biology research is revealing a variety of environmental triggers to overcome dormancy (Photo: Cristina Blandino).

Tilgate Wood at Wakehurst, UK provides the focus of comparisons between the seed biology of ancient and contemporary woodland species (Photo: Cristina Blandino).

Kew’s role

This project is based at Kew’s Comparative Plant & Fungal Biology Department and led by Hugh W. Pritchard in collaboration with three colleagues in the department and other scientists in the UK, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Kew leads the research work programme for all 11 ESRs, consisting of sub-programmes on ‘in situ sampling’, ‘seed biology’ and ‘production and deployment of seed’. Kew staff are first supervisors on the PhD programmes of two ESRs and support six more ESRs.

Outputs

  • 11 Early Stage Researchers trained to PhD level with skills appropriate to the European job market in academia and industry.
  • Germination compendium of seeds of more than 150 species native to Europe.
  • Quarterly newsletters (for example Issue 1, October 2014 ).
  • An information facility that serves multiple end-users in academia, industry and policy.

Partners and collaborators

UK

  • Dr Pete Iannetta, James Hutton Institute, Scotland
  • Giles Laverack, Scotia Seeds Ltd, Scotland

International

  • Costa Bonomi, MUSE – Museo delle Scienze, Italy
  • Prof Graziano Rossi, Universita delle Studi di Pavia, Italy
  • Dr Andrea Mondoni, Universita delle Studi di Pavia, Italy
  • Candido Galvez-Ramirez, Semillas Silvestres SL, Spain
  • Dr Frank Lanfermeijer, Syngenta Seeds BV, Netherlands