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Last update: May 2021

Menu Institutions

SPS - Saclay Plant Sciences

Summer School 2023 - SUCSEED

Seeds as a keystone for the transition to agroecology

June 25 - July 1st, 2023 – Versailles (France)
Université Paris-Saclay

Seed quality is of paramount importance for agricultural performance and resistance to environmental constraints. Ensuring the health and high physiological potential of seeds is crucial for agri-food system sustainability and for international trade markets.

The SPS Summer School 2023 will focus on the challenges of ensuring seed protection while meeting demands for a more environmentally respectful agriculture, reducing risks for humans and maintaining ecosystem health. Sessions will address the genetic and physiological traits required to deal with fluctuating abiotic conditions and ecological communities of commensal and pathogenic microorganisms. Innovative strategies being developed to improve seed quality through plant breeding and post-harvest technologies will be presented and economic and social factors as well as the legal framework for implementation will be considered.

This school is an intensive one-week program, which will involve theoretical lectures delivered by renowned experts and hands on practical courses on state-of-the-art technologies and approaches.

It will bring together outstanding and enthusiastic young scientists (Master2 students, PhD students, young post-docs) and high-level researchers, as well as industrial representatives, in order to exchange knowledge and ideas in a field at the forefront of plant biology research.

It is limited to a small group of participants from all over the world (up to 18 maximum) to privilege interactions and offer them the chance to receive scientific training at an international level and in a relatively informal setting.

This summer school will be jointly organized with the SUCSEED project consortium (Stop the Use of pestiCides on Seeds by proposing alternatives; PPR-CPA 2021-2027,

For International 2

Provisional program and speakers

Download the provisional program of the Summer School

This Summer School will include:

         > Theoretical modules (12 hours):

Leading scientists will hold lectures and discussions on summer school topics, giving the participants a comprehensive insight into the latest research findings and identifying key open questions in the field.

"EU and international legislation and trends in socioeconomics "
(coordinated by Armelle Mazé and Loïc Rajjou)
This session will cover the development and commercialization of biological products in agriculture, such as biocontrol solutions and biostimulants, to protect and stimulate seeds and seedlings can be held back by a variety of legal and regulatory obstacles. In addition, the acceptance of seed technology innovation by public and industrial players will be examined, including the impact of societal values and beliefs, economic considerations, scientific knowledge, and the role of civic societies, political authorities, companies, and the scientific community in providing opportunities for the deployment of biosolutions to improve seed quality.
Armelle Mazé (Science Action Développement - Activités Produits Territoires - SADAPT, Palaiseau, France)
- Flora Limache (IBMA France)


"Seed defense mechanisms and seed-microbiomes"
(coordinated by Bertrand Dubreucq, Valérie Geffroy and Helen North)
Innate and inducible seed defense mechanisms will be presented and discussed with a focus on the role of the mother plant, maternal tissues and the microbiome.
- Stéphane Compant (Austrian Institute of Technology, Tulin, Austria)
- Marie Simonin (Institut de Recherche en Horticulture et Semences - IRHS, Angers, France)
- Jérôme Verdier (Institut de Recherche en Horticulture et Semences - IRHS, Angers, France)


"Seed central and specialized metabolites"
(coordinated by Massimiliano Corso and François Perreau)
Diversity, plasticity and regulation of seed central (primary) and secondary metabolism will be discussed. A particular attention will be given to the environmental and genetic regulation of seed metabolism and their impact on seed quality.
Barbara Ann Halkier (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Julia Zinsmeister (Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin - IJPB, Versailles, France)

"Seed tech"
(coordinated by Frédéric Chauffour and Loïc Rajjou)
A wide range of seed technologies are currently available (e.g. coating, pelleting, seed priming) or in development (e.g. cold plasma) that can be used to improve seed quality and resistance to environmental factor. How these can be complemented through seed technology innovations and their combination with biosolutions in order to increase crop yields and decrease synthetic pesticide use will be presented. Major technological challenges that need to be overcome in order to successfully apply biocontrol solutions in seed treatment will be discussed. Ongoing studies into mode of action, evaluating the effectiveness of these products, and developing formulations that are tailored to seeds and seedlings will also be covered.
Philippe Rousseau (Independent Consultant & Board Member - Seed and Ag Businesses, France)
Camille Benetollo (CERIENCE, France)

         > Practical sessions (11 hours)

Participants will choose one of the 3 following topics:


1. Characterization of plant metabolites (coordinated by François Perreau, Stéphanie Boutet and Massimiliano Corso)
Characterization of seed specialized metabolite landscapes using untargeted metabolomics (LC-HRMS). During the practical sessions, the participants will proceed to the profiling and identification of seed specialized metabolites.
> Analysis of untargeted metabolomic data by the open source software mzMine3
> Construction of metabolic network and metabolite annotation by the open source software MetGem / GNPS and SIRIUS
> Statistical analyses by the open source software MetaboAnalyst

2. Getting the most out of transcriptomes (coordinated by Etienne Delannoy)
> RNA extraction and quality controls
> Update on RNA-seq approaches
> From expression tables to biology: differential expression, co-expression, annotation enrichments using DiCoExpress (bring your dataset if you have one)
> Experimental design

3. Seed treatments and assessment of germination performance (coordinated by Frédéric Chauffour, Omaé Pozza, Corentin Moreau, Shuang Peng and Loïc Rajjou)
> Seed treatments on models and crops
> Germination tests based on ISTA rules
> Introduction to germination metrics and data analyses


         > Working groups (6h)

The working group sessions will be dedicated to team work. The participants will be asked to make three groups, to choose one thematic among three types of biosolutions (i.e. 1-peptides, 2-metabolites, 3-microbial communities) as potential alternatives to synthetic pesticides. Based on the literature, their own experience and the support from the invited speakers, they will be asked to come up with suggestions of experiments, methodologies, formulations or else that would help to design innovative treatments to protect seeds and seedlings using biocontrol strategies. The round table will be the occasion for the participants to present the results of their brainstorming, through a 15 min short talk, and to discuss with the invited speakers about the future challenges in this thematic.

         > Presentations of the participants’ projects

         > Visits: SPS labs / new Campus Agro (INRAE-AgroParisTech)

         > Cultural excursion at the Palace of Versailles

Château de Versailles

© Château de Versailles - Christian Milet

This varied program will give plenty of opportunities for discussion with speakers and the other participants.


Helen North1 (Coordinator)
Loïc Rajjou1 (Coordinator)
Massimiliano Corso1
Bertrand Dubreucq1
François Perreau1
Frédéric Chauffour4
Valérie Geffroy2
Armelle Mazé3
Etienne Delannoy2
Stéphanie Boutet1

1 Jean-Pierre Bourgin Institute (IJPB, Versailles)
2 POPS, Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2, Gif-sur-Yvette)
3 Science Action Développement - Activités Produits Territoires (SADAPT, Palaiseau)
4 SEED IN TECH (Versailles)

Teaching language



Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin
Centre INRAE Île-de-France Versailles-Grignon
Route de St-Cyr (RD 10)
78000 Versailles

Practical information

This SPS Summer School is limited to 18 participants and is open to:
- students finishing their second year of Master’s,
- PhD students,
- young post-docs (maximum 8 years after the PhD defense).
ATTENTION: For administrative and financial reasons, only applicants with a formal attachment to a research laboratory at the time of the school will be considered

> For the successful applicants, Saclay Plant Sciences WILL cover the following costs:
- the scientific program from Sunday June 25 (3PM) to Friday June 30 (6:30PM)
- a tour of the Versailles Castle on Saturday July 1st morning
- housing from Sunday June 25 to Saturday July 1st (6 nights) at the “ Hôtel des Roys ”
- lunches and coffee-breaks from Monday June 26 to Friday June 30
- dinners on Sunday June 25, Monday June 26, Wednesday June 28 and Thursday June 29

> Saclay Plant Sciences WILL NOT cover the following costs:
- transport costs (from your lab to the Summer School location, bus tickets from the hotel in Versailles to the INRAE Center)
- lunches on Sunday June 25th and Saturday July 1st
- dinners on Tuesday June 27th and Friday June 30th
- protective masks if required due to the Covid health situation

During the Summer School, the successful participants will have to present their research:
- in a flash-talk (2 to 3 Powerpoint slides, 5 min maximum).
- in a poster.

Every participant is expected to bring a laptop.

Moreover, for your information, a hosting agreement might have to be signed between the host laboratory of each successful participant and the IJPB (the laboratory in which the Summer School will take place, in particular the practical sessions).

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the organizers reserve the right to postpone or cancel the Summer school if necessary, or to ask for any Covid-19 vaccination/test document in accordance with the rules of our institutions at the time of the Summer School.


Application deadline postponed to March 15, 2023 (midnight):


For your application, you will have to provide a single PDF file containing four documents:
1. A motivation letter explaining your research interests and the expected benefits from attending the school
2. A curriculum vitae
3. An abstract detailing your research project (250 words, with title, author(s), institution(s)). This abstract must correspond to the poster and the flash-talk presentation of your research that you will have to prepare for the Summer School.
ATTENTION: Your abstract will be included in the Summer School booklet, which will be distributed to all participants and made public on the Summer School web page.
4. A letter of support from your supervisor or another senior coworker indicating that your host lab will finance your transportation and any additional fees you could have during your stay.

Only applications written in English are accepted.

Only complete applications will be taken into account.


Please precise [SPS Summer School - SUCSEED] in the object of your email.


Graduate School Biosphera

If you wish to sponsor the SPS Summer School 2023 on Plant cell walls, do not hesitate to let us know by filling in the ONLINE SPONSORSHIP FORM 

Partner event


See also

Summer School 2015
Summer School 2016
Summer School 2018
Summer School 2019
Summer School 2022 - Plant cell walls
Summer School 2022 - Plant sugars