The alliance of CRAG and two other leading European plant science institutions –the John Innes Centre (JIC), from Norwich (UK), and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ), from Cologne (Germany)– aims to strengthen the relationship of the three Centres at scientific and institutional levels, promoting the vision of a pan-continental European Research Area in the plant sciences. CRAG, JIC and MPIPZ recognise the importance of young researchers developing scientific networks across Europe. For this reason, an important focus for the Alliance is enabling graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to work together, share experiences and move between the three centres. In this context, this alliance promotes secondments for predoctoral students at the latest stages of their PhD and postdocs, as well as other initiatives to facilitate young researchers to build their networks.
As a holder of the “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” recognition, CRAG forms part of the ‘Severo Ochoa’ Centres and ‘María de Maeztu’ Units of Excellence Alliance (SOMMa). This alliance aims to internationally promote, strengthen and maximise the value of the ground-breaking research produced by the Spanish ‘Severo Ochoa’ Centres and ‘María de Maeztu’ Units of Excellence and the scientific, social and economic impact it generates.
The Spanish Excellence Programmes of ‘Severo Ochoa’ Centres and ‘María de Maeztu’ Units identify and promote excellence in scientific research. They seek to boost Spanish science by recognising existing cutting-edge research centres and units, and by further supporting them to enhance their impact, their international scientific leadership, and competitiveness. The evaluation and selection of centres and units is carried out by an independent international committee of prestigious scientists, through yearly open competition. The first call was launched in 2011. Successful proponents hold the Excellence award for a period of 4 years.
INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France), UPSC (Umeå Plant Science Center, Sweden) and CRAG maintain an Agreement of Collaboration for a virtual open laboratory in plant, agricultural, and forest tree reseazrch - INUPRAG, a contraction of INRA, UPSC and CRAG. These three research institutions have strong complementarities in the areas of integrative biology and plant genomics. The initiative follows on the footsteps of a previous similar collaborative effort between INRA and UPSC. The framework agreement includes two of INRA´s scientific departments: "Plant biology and breeding", and "Ecology of forests, meadows and water bodies".
The main goals for this cooperation are the development of joint research projects, the transfer of knowledge and tools from model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana or Poplar to crops, and to promote the training of young scientists through regular exchanges between laboratories of the associated countries.