Each year, European Seed, Europe’s most important publication that offers specialized content to the seed industry, selects twenty people who have proven to be very relevant to the seed sector. This year, VIB’s Prof. Dirk Inzé, Science director at VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology and Professor of plant physiology and molecular biology at Ghent University is one of the honorees.

For the first time since its inception, European Seed’s list has been composed entirely based on nominations from readers. In other words, this year’s list presents people whose importance for the seed sector is recognized by a variety of stakeholders, from small one-man businesses to huge multinationals. 

The inclusion of Prof. Inzé on this list is a clear sign of appreciation not only for his world-leading research, but also for his work connecting science to society and industry. The investigations he leads are unraveling the mechanisms underlying plant resistance against, for example, drought and heat. This is an important contribution to safeguarding food security in the age of climate change. He has received numerous prizes, among others the very prestigious World Agriculture Prize in 2017. In addition to his research, Dirk Inzé has always actively sought and set up collaborations with industry and he continues to pioneer novel technological methods in crop design and evaluation. He is also an important voice in the social and policy debate concerning genome engineering. Following the recent ECJ ruling on CRISPR, he has taken the lead in a coalition of almost one hundred scientific institutions that asks for an objective, science-based regulatory framework to develop and assess new crop varieties.

Johan Cardoen, Managing Director at VIB: “The inclusion on this list is not only a recognition of Dirk Inzé his outstanding contribution to understanding the fundamental mechanisms that drive plant growth and yield. It also celebrates the dedication he has shown on fighting the recent European CRISPR ruling. Congratulations to Dirk on this well-deserved award!”