Re-Cereal is an innovative and cross-border research programme carried out in collaboration with partners from science and international companies, and dedicated to the reintroduction and appreciation of three unused cereals. The project has been nominated in the category "Promotion of Intelligent Industrial Change“ for the RegioStars Award 2018.
Dr. Schär's Re-Cereal Project is in the finale of the RegioStars Awards 2018
Dr. Schär, the market leader in gluten-free nutrition, is pleased that the Re-Cereal project is one of the five finalists of this year's RegioStars Awards. The prize is awarded by the European Commission and is an important recognition that aims to making best practices in regional development visible and useful for others who have a positive impact on their respective environments and can also set an example for other regions of Europe.
Re-Cereal was founded by Dr. Schär R&D Centre in Trieste under the leadership of Dr. Virna Cerne and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Interreg V-A Italy-Austria 2014-2020. The project has set itself the goal of reviving and enhancing the agricultural traditions of the Alpine regions. There are cultivated varieties there that are typical of agriculture in the high mountain regions (barley, rye, oats, millet and buckwheat). The cross-border project is a cooperation of Dr. Schär and a network of selected partners, which include not only universities (Udine and Innsbruck Universities) but also agricultural research centres (Laimburg Experimental Centre) and companies (Kärntner Saatbau and Dr. Schär Austria, Klagenfurt) with knowledge of genetics, chemistry, agricultural sciences and food sciences.
The Re-Cereal project began in November 2016 and is expected to run for 30 months. It is divided into seven phases or work packages which aim to improve the quality and yields of oats, millet and buckwheat. To this end, cultivation methods are to be optimised to facilitate further dissemination in the programme's catchment area. As part of the Re-Cereal project, several varieties from within and outside Europe have been rebuilt and cultivated on trial fields in Friuli-Giulia, Venice, South Tyrol and Carinthia to increase the quality and yield of the rare cereals oats, millet and pseudo-cereal buckwheat, which are all naturally gluten-free. A lot of attention is also paid to the further development of the milling processes that preserve the natural nutritional content of oats, millet and buckwheat grains. The development of innovative test methods also enables rapid sensory and technological evaluation of the various grains and flours obtained and also the evaluation of their nutrient content.
Thanks to these studies, the researchers at Re-Cereal have already succeeded in identifying promising varieties that are to be further developed through targeted cross breeding. These then provide the agricultural efficiency and the sensory, technological and nutritional properties that are ideal both for processing by food manufacturers and for the satisfaction of the end user.
According to the Re-Cereal experts, the grand-scale reintroduction of oats, millet and buckwheat in the Alps could be an alternative to intensive management of corn and wheat areas, which are often eroded by mono cultures or replace them, playing a crucial role in ensuring proper crop rotation on land. Buckwheat, for example, is considered by agronomists to be a post-harvest plant with many beneficial properties: its numerous roots loosen and soften the soil, and its resistance makes cultivation easy without pesticides. The final results of the Re-Cereal project will be presented in March 2019 at AREA Science Park in Trieste, where Dr. Schär operates their own research and development centre.
The Re-Cereal project is nominated in category 1 "Promoting smart industrial change" and was selected as finalist from 105 applicants because it meets all four of the required criteria: the innovative nature of the project, its first visible or likely positive effects, the expected financial sustainability and the potential for the project to produce best practices that can be used in other regions as well. The winning projects in each category will be collected in a brochure issued by the European Commission and in the online database of best practices at http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/projects. Additionally, a video will be produced for each of the winning projects that will be shown at the award ceremony in Brussels and afterwards will be made available online for viewing. There is also a supporting advertising campaign.
In addition, there is public vote where everyone can vote for their favourite project. Information about the Re-Cereal project and voting can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/regio-stars-awards/finalists_2018/cat1_fin5