Brightlands campus Venlo, foto Wim Vriezen
Brightlands campus Venlo, foto Wim Vriezen

Radboud University and Maastricht University fund research into crop biotechnology and engineering

Over the next four years, four young researchers can start research into crop biotechnology and engineering, thanks to the collaboration between Radboud University and Maastricht University. The researchers will start work at the Brightlands Campus Greenport in Venlo, halfway between the two universities and at the heart of an important agricultural and horticultural area in the Netherlands and Germany.

Developing sustainable and productive agriculture and horticulture is one of the great societal challenges. The two universities of Nijmegen and Maastricht are working together to find a solution. A joint Master's programme is being developed, while the Radboud-Maastricht Graduate Programme in Crop Biotechnology and Engineering will be launched before the end of this year.

Four PhD candidates will be appointed in that research programme, one every year from 2024. A vacancy for the first PhD candidate will be advertised during 2024. From the 2024-2025 academic year onwards, research proposals will be prepared by Research Master students in Maastricht and Nijmegen. Health and sustainability will be key elements in the proposals.

In terms of the plant and the technology

The collaboration between Radboud University and Maastricht University facilitated the start of this research programme, and a follow-up is certainly the intention, says Charles Underwood, Professor of Plant Genome Engineering at Radboud University and one of the initiators. 'In our collaboration on crop biotechnology and engineering, we want to develop a programme in education and research in which food production is approached from the perspective of the plant and technology at the same time. We feel that this interdisciplinary approach is a strength of the collaboration between the two universities. We plan to convincingly demonstrate that in the coming years.’

Working with companies

This is not just a scientific collaboration; the research proposals are also being developed and implemented together with companies and organisations in agriculture and horticulture in the North Limburg region or beyond. In this way, the researchers aim to develop knowledge that connects with practice and contributes to a strong agriculture and horticulture sector that is internationally leading in terms of knowledge and technology.

The collaborating partners do not necessarily need to come from the Venlo region, but that is possible, says Wim Vriezen, Professor of Plant Functional Genomics at Maastricht University. He already works at the Brightlands campus in Venlo, with the Brightlands Future Farming Institute and knows the sector and the region. 'North Limburg and the neighbouring area in Germany form a large horticultural area, just as big as the Westland. The entire value chain, from seed breeding and horticultural technology to packaging and distribution, is present in this area. It’s a great environment to grow this research programme.'

The Radboud-Maastricht Graduate Programme in Crop Biotechnology and Engineering joins the research of Radboud University's Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) and Maastricht University's Brightlands Future Farming Institute (BFFI). 

Contact information

Do you want to know more about this research programme? Please contact: