Online Symposium “Artificial intelligence in plant science and breeding” and matchmaking for the Plant-RX initiative on plant resilience

Photo Credits: Lubos Houska via Pixabay

On Wednesday February 24, Plant-RX, Plantum and the TKI Horticulture and Starting Materials are organizing an online symposium. 

Plant-RX is a national initiative in the Netherlands to establish a long-term research program on plant resilience. The use of resilient crops is an important cornerstone for sustainable agriculture. Resilient plant varieties are able to continue productivity even when challenged with unfavorable and fluctuating environmental conditions or plant diseases.

The complexity of plant resilience severely hinders fundamental understanding, and also limits practical application in crop breeding. A powerful new scientific approach is needed to unravel the mechanisms underlying resilience, their potential trade-offs and their effects on agronomically relevant traits. The challenge is the translation of big data obtained in large-scale experiments to understanding the biology of resilience, a major gap that Plant-RX envisions to close. For this, a novel systems approach will be developed to link data analysis and bioinformatics to mechanistic modeling using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches.

Through this symposium we want to provide participants with a view of the state-of-the-art of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in plant science and breeding, and to inform them about new developments, pitfalls and limitations, and opportunities.

The symposium will be followed by a matchmaking meeting for the Plant-RX initiative, (see below the program for more details). (Please note that the matchmaking meeting is for companies and PIs only).

13.00 hWelcome and opening by Guido Van den Ackerveken (Utrecht University)
13.05 hDick de Ridder/Aalt-Jan van Dijk (Wageningen University):
“The challenge of large and complex data sets”
13.20 hKlaas Vandepoele (VIB, Ghent, Belgium)
“Unravelling transcription factor functions through integrative inference of transcriptional networks in Arabidopsis”
13.45 hRichard Morris (JIC, Norwich, UK)
“Opportunities and Challenges for AI in Plant Biology - two unfinished stories”
14.10 hBreak
14.20 hEdward Buckler (USDA & Cornell University, USA)
“AI and ML in Plant breeding 4.0”
14.45 hJeroen de Ridder (University Medical Center Utrecht)
“Machine learning advances in medicine”
15.10 hOutlook by Kisten ten Tusscher (Utrecht University) and Roeland van Ham (Keygene, Wageningen)
15.25 hClosing of meeting
15.30 hIntroduction of Plant-RX and matchmaking sessions
15.45 hStart of breakout sessions
17.00 hEnd of matchmaking Plant-RX

Matchmaking sessions 15.30 - 17.00 h

In the matchmaking sessions we invite both principal investigators and representatives of companies that have potential interest to participate in the Plant-RX consortium. Each session is focused on a moderated group discussion on resilience and trade off challenges in specific crop groups and will be hosted and moderated by a trio of a plant scientist, a data/ai scientist and a private sector representative.

3 breakout sessions are predefined:

  • Vegetable crops
  • Potato and other arable crops
  • Flowers and Ornamentals

Depending on group sizes and participants additional groups may be added later.


After registration you will receive a confirmation of participation. The link to attend the online event (via Microsoft Teams) will be send to you shortly before the symposium.


This event is hosted by Future Food Utrecht and co-organized by:

Start date and time
End date and time
Entrance fee