Plant breeders on average spend between 12 to 15% of their turnover back into research and development, which is higher than most other industry sectors. And give or take a few years, plant breeders need between 8 and 12 years to create a new plant variety, without knowing what consumers will desire in 8-12 years from now. It’s easy to imagine that a plant breeders’ research and investments are considerable, upfront and also high risk. Several research papers have shown that plant breeding is providing enormous benefits into the agricultural chain, and in society. So, it is only fair for the plant breeding sector to ask for something in return, to keep this engine of innovation going, and this return on investment is often guaranteed by intellectual property rights, such as plant breeders’ rights and patents. Recent innovations have made it easier for plant breeders to file for plant breeders’ rights, leading to more applications in more countries, to the benefit of society.

With the massive changes happening in the seed sector, we have put together a list of 20 movers and shakers who have been highly influential to the European seed sector in 2017, with each one of these incredible people having had a significant effect on the sector in the past year(s). We very much welcome and look forward to your feedback as to who you think should have been on the list or appear on next year’s list, and why.

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