Modern plant biotechnology holds many of the potential solutions for sustainable agricultural and industrial systems. However, converting this promise into practice in less developed regions will require a concerted effort in training in --and access to-- the latest technological developments and the design of effective biosafety and regulatory mechanisms.
IPBO is an initiative of Marc Van Montagu at Ghent University and is supported by the Flemish Government. Its mission is to promote technology and knowledge transfer for sustainable agro - and agro-industrial development.
Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu is a pioneer in plant molecular biology. He is well known (with J. Schell) as the discoverer of the Ti-plasmid and the inventor of Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation technology, now used worldwide to produce genetically engineered plants. Van Montagu used this new technology to study gene regulation and to discover the molecular basis of several plant physiological processes.
He has made major contributions to the identification of genes involved in plant growth, development and flowering. He was Founding Member and Member of the Board of Directors of two Belgian biotech companies, spin-offs from his laboratory, Plant Genetic System (PGS) and CropDesign. At PGS he drove front-line innovations for biotech agriculture, such as plants resistant to insects or tolerant to more environmentally friendly herbicides.
He has won numerous prizes amongst which the Japan prize, is a member of several academies including the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Italy and Third World Academy of Sciences, the Academies of Agriculture of France and Russia, and the Academy of Engineering of Sweden. He has produced over 750 publications. Due to his accomplishments he received in1990 the title of Baron from the King of Belgians. Currently he is is president of the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI), and president of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB), and he is chairman of International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO).
On 17th October 2013 Marc Van Montagu was awarded the “World Food Prize 2013”, jointly with the American scientists Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley.