8 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM available and where to start. I think ESA is doing a fine effort by developing comprehensive views of projects of relevance to the seed players and share it with its members. I can imagine that still for many SMEs the step to put time and energy in even following at the information sharing level is already a distraction to the ongoing business. I guess if one would like to get a broader involvement, one should look into initiatives with immediate benefits for the SMEs and with high practicality. Imagine Europe would take a lead in establishing a practical interface between academic research and, for example, breeders. The research could focus on iden- tifying and unravelling critical biological processes underlying e.g. crop energy management, agronomic performance and func- tionality, and map out how changes in genetics and environment influence crop and crop product performance. To do the latter well, significant investments in AI and machine learning to model and predict crop performance and its products would be necessary. The deliverable of such interface would be hints for pre-breeding and breeding starting points. The predictive power of such hints would then improve over time through add-on of new research evidence, as well as through feedback loops from the user group, i.e. the value chain itself: breeders, farmers, pro- cessor, producers and consumers. The power of such proposition is that it leverages a growing level of transferable know-how that is of value for all European crops. It is also highly practical as it offers European breeders evidence-based pre-breeding and breeding starting points. To make something like this a success, it would be key keep it prac- tical, with low use barriers, and in line with the tools and goals of the SMEs. ES: IT SEEMS TO ME THAT COORDINATION AMONG PROJECTS, BEFORE AND AFTER GRANTING IS CRUCIAL. IS THIS HAPPENING ENOUGH? MC: To get somewhere with multiple people requires organi- sation and governance. When JFK made his mission statement “we choose to go to the moon”, it was achieved through a close to military set up. The ingredients were a masterplan, parallel tracks, back-ups, well-defined handover points and intermedi- ate milestones, time and cost tables, and a strong governance to manage planning, execution, tracking and direction setting. If one needs to combat climate change timely, or tackle any of the other challenges, can you leave out an empowered, com- petent and driven governance? Probably not. But how do you get something like this embedded in an agreeable and workable way in critical scale efforts such as the upcoming mission R&Is? Governance instruments, such as a supervisory board, steering committee, sounding board, etc. are commonly used, and you don’t hear too often that it made the difference. I think that this has to do with the absence of aligned, project-targeted KPIs of the participants, and the absence of something like a balanced scorecard where every group and person can find back what his/ her contribution should be to complete the total picture. The power of working with smart team KPIs in the academic world is well exemplified by the Belgium VIB that in a twenty-year period succeeded in getting its academic output at the very interna- tional top just behind MIT. Aligned project KPIs are likely to cause an attitude shift across the teams at the different locations. The “ownership” feeling is shifted from the local environment, the university or institute, to the project, because of which the same activities get framed differently, and better support project progression towards the end-goal. Such KPIs could be derived from a “pro- ject balanced scorecard”. Periodic review of such a balanced scorecard and the KPIs would reveal pain points in both task execution and governance beyond what one would observe in an activity Gantt chart (showing the amount of work done in certain periods of time in relation to the amount planned for those periods). The new challenge for the project team would be to use such insights to increase the project productivity. Do you want to read more about opposition to EU innovation and the use of plant breeding innovation in Europe, make sure to check the full article on our website: https://european-seed.com For the European Technology Platform “Plants for the future”, unraveling the interdependencies within the agri-food value chain is a pre-requisite to develop R&I propositions at the right level. A full appreciation of market forces, margins and overall economics, policy and legislative climate, global and regional trends, impactful new technologies, risk funding as well as new value propositions and business models allows for building out multi-year plans with clear roles of the different stakeholders and targeted R&I efforts.