The Ag-Seed Division of Evogene Ltd. (Nasdaq: EVGN) (TASE: EVGN), a global leader in computational biology, is set to pioneer the creation of climate-resilient oil-seed crops, thanks to a €1.2 million grant from the prestigious EU Horizon program. The program aims to revolutionize life-science product discovery and development across various sectors.
Named “Crop4Clima“, the project is backed by a total budget of €2.5 million and is scheduled for completion within 32 months. This grant follows the successful conclusion of a proof-of-concept by the FutureAgriculture Consortium in 2021, underlining the potential for enhanced agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.
With a clear focus on sustainability, the primary objective of the Crop4Clima program is to develop oil-seed crops, initially canola and rapeseed seeds, capable of assimilating 60% more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and requiring 20% less water intake compared to crops grown under conventional agricultural practices. This alines with global efforts to combat climate change by encouraging the growth of plant species that can absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Furthermore, the program anticipates improved biomass yield per hectare while retaining high oil content, a crucial factor for canola-derived products and the biofuel industry. These targets were initially validated in a proof-of-concept conducted as part of the FutureAgriculture Consortium funded by the EU Horizon Program in 2021, demonstrating increased carbon dioxide assimilation, enhanced drought tolerance, and improved plant growth productivity.
Crop4Clima is part of Horizon Europe’s highly competitive and distinguished EIC Transition program. This program seeks to develop enterprises that tackle climate challenges and cultivate environmentally sustainable crops to better address climate change. The €1.2 million grant awarded to Evogene will cover the company’s projected costs to participate in this groundbreaking initiative.
The project boasts a consortium of prestigious partners, including the Max Planck Society, Germany’s leading fundamental research institution; IN Society, an Italian not-for-profit SME that evaluates the impact of emerging technologies on society; and the Agricultural Academy’s Agrobioinstitute in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The program will leverage the innovative synthetic biology technologies of Evogene’s Ag-seeds Division and its partners, integrating multidisciplinary skills in computational biology, chemistry, microbiology, and plant physiology.
“Crop4Clima is a perfect example of science translated into socially relevant innovation, as it will enable agriculture to cope with the changing demands of climate change,” said Laura Martinelli, CEO of IN Society. This grant places Evogene and its partners at the forefront of climate-resilient agricultural development, paving the way for more sustainable and productive farming practices.