Innovations Alnarp 2022

Resilient potato wins SLU Alnarp’s and Sparbanken Skåne’s Innovation Prize 2022

The researchers behind the winning project have developed a way of improving the quality of potatoes that fundamentally improves potato cultivation’s economic and ecological sustainability.

The green industries face a major sustainability challenge. More food needs to reach more consumers, whilst society needs to become more climate-positive. Fresh approaches and innovations are needed in the fields of agriculture and forestry. Sparbanken Skåne through its ownership foundation Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn and SLU Alnarp is thus committed to stimulating new innovations from researchers and students at SLU Alnarp.

“This year's Innovation Prize has once again demonstrated the important role of knowledge at SLU Alnarp in ensuring economic, ecological and social sustainability in the green industries,” says Christina Lunner Kolstrup, Dean of the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science (LTV) at SLU Alnarp and a board member of SLU Holding.

The 2022 competition has been characterised by major changes in our world, with the green industries, with their increased costs and limited supply chains, having been challenged to continue delivering to a growing number of people worldwide. Submitted competition proposals have presented many interesting solutions that demonstrate that the knowledge generated at SLU Alnarp may very well form part of the important task of meeting the challenges.

Katarina Andrén, Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn’s CEO, also realises the importance of the Innovation Prize and its impact on academic culture.

“We’re hoping for more excellent contributions from the fields of research and study at SLU Alnarp that have the potential of benefiting the green industries.  We also hope the focus of the prize will contribute to a an enhanced entrepreneurial spirit at the university,” says Katarina Andrén.

This year’s winner of SLU Alnarp’s and Sparbanken Skåne's Innovation Prize 2022

Behind the winning entry Parakletos knock-out, a way forward for sustainable potato production are five researchers from the Department of Plant Protection Biology, Faculty of Landscape Architecture (LTV), SLU Alnarp: Muhammed Awais Zahid, Erik Andreasson, Nagacharan Konakalla, Marit Lenman and Nam Kieu Phoung.

The jury's statement

The jury has awarded the research group this year's Innovation Prize for the project’s high scientific and innovative quality. The innovation that with CRIPR/Cas9 technology removes a specific protein (Parakletos) in potatoes increases their ability to resist attack, thereby allowing a fundamental improvement in the financial and ecological sustainability of potato crops. Potential positive effects of the innovation will be reduced use of pesticides, increased harvests and more stable harvests for the world's potato growers. Potatoes, which are the world's third most cultivated crop, are hereby being given another valuable contribution from the research in the field underway at SLU Alnarp.

 Vinnare Alnarps innovationspris 2022
Malin Grotte, Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn, Erik Andreasson, Muhammad Awiz Sahid, Naga Charan Konakalla and Katarina Andrén, Sparkbanksstiftelsen Finn.
Photo: Nicholas Jacobsson


The winners of the Growth Prize 2022
The jury is also awarding a Growth Prize to two innovative projects.

Probiotics for human use to increase yield, disease control and shelf-life of berries and tomatoes
With probiotics (developed for human applications), fruits and vegetables are treated in a manner that improves the harvest, control of attack and sustainability in the supply chain. The innovation that has great potential to improve the customer’s experience, management during cultivation and the grower’s harvest and reduce food waste in the food trade. The project is a collaboration between researchers at SLU Alnarp and Lund University.
Project members: Ramesh Vetukuri and Farideh Ghadamgahi, researchers at the Department of Plant Breeding, and Elisabeth Uhlig and Åsa Håkansson, Lund University.
Ramesh Vetekuri

Malin Grotte, Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn, Ramesh Vetekuri och Katarina Andrén, Sparkbanksstiftelsen Finn.
Photo: Nicholas Jacobsson

‘Substitute trees’ – climbing plants as an attractive complement to trees on city street 
The Growth Prize in the student category is being awarded to Martin Brattströms, a student on the Landscape Architecture programme. The jury emphasises Martin's contribution for its well-thought-out concept, featuring an innovative basic structure with clear intellectual-property potential, for its aesthetically extremely pleasing design and presentation, and for the innovation's ability to functionally, flexibly and appealingly more quickly reach achieve tree-related ecosystem services in the urban green outdoor environment.

Martin Brattstrom Alnarp tillvaxtpris 2022

Martin Brattström. Photo: Nicholas Jacobsson

About SLU Alnarp’s and Sparbanken Skåne's Innovation Prize

Students, researchers and anyone working at SLU in Alnarp can apply for the prize. The prize is open to all ideas, but the proposals’ sustainability component will be crucial to the assessment.
The total prize fund of SEK 150,000 is being allocated to a first prize of SEK 100,000 and two growth prizes of SEK 25,000 each. The growth prizes are being awarded in a student category and a research category.

25% more applications were received than in previous years, and to the delight of the organisers there were more female applicants. Nearly 40% of all participants in this year's competition were women. Although a clear majority of the main applicants were men (80% of applications), the overall statistics are moving towards an increase in gender equality.


For more information
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., SLU Holding
+46 (0)73 3 70 35 50
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., vd Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn
+46 (0)70 5 47 52 00


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