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Professor Lennart Olsson is awarded the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for visionary research on perennials

Lennart Olsson and perennial wheat grass. Photo.
Lennart Olsson believes that it was the project's visionary approach that convinced the ERC panel, and that the research can pave the way for a new agricultural revolution.

The European Research Council's (ERC) mission is to promote research of the highest quality through extensive and long-term funding. The grants are applied for in international competition with scientific excellence as the only selection criterion. Advanced Grants (AdG) are valid for a maximum of five years, and 2.5 million euros, and will enable the researchers to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas.

Lennart Olsson is one of three Lund University researchers to receive the grant.

His research project is entitled: PERENNIAL/Is there a PERENNIAL future of agriculture? It aims to investigate opportunities and obstacles for a future transition to an agriculture based on completely new perennial crops. 

During the coming five years, him and his colleagues will conduct an analysis of the political economy governing agriculture at various levels; and analyse economic and climate gains with perennial crops. As part of the project,  researchers will test grow the wheatgrass kernza from the Mediterranean up to the Arctic Circle to see how it fits into different climate zones. The project will also formulate a strategy to facilitate the introduction of perennial crops in agriculture.
Lennart Olsson believes that it was the project's visionary approach that convinced the ERC panel.
– It is about fundamentally changing our entire food system, and thus contributing to a new agricultural revolution. For 10,000 years our food has come from annual crops, even though they cause or contribute to many of the problems agriculture struggles with such as erosion, nutrient leakage, greenhouse gas emissions, high costs and vulnerability to climate change. With perennial crops, we can solve almost all of these challenges. It is also a way to change agriculture in a direction back towards a functioning ecosystem, says Lennart Olsson, Professor of Geography at Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies.

Read a press release about the researchers receiving the ERC grant at 

Lennart Olsson, LUCSUS

Lennart Olsson

Lennart Olsson is Professor of Geography at Lund University. His current research fields include human-nature interactions in the context of land degradation, climate change and food security in Africa and globally. His current research focuses on the politics of climate change in the context of poverty and food security

Read more about Lennart Olsson