The third meeting of the Q-Collect project was held in EPPO Headquarters in Paris, gathering the project’s WP leaders and representatives of European collections of bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, phytoplasmas, viruses and viroids. The overall goal of the meeting was to discuss in details the results of the two questionnaires (WP2 on collections and WP4 on users of biological material found in collections) organised to map European collections and their end-users after the decision (taken during the project meeting in Kleinmachnow in 2014) to re-open the questionnaires and harvest information from collections previously unable to answer. General discussions on the project goals were also held.
During the first day the experts reviewed the questionnaire sent to collections. The goal of the questionnaire was to make an inventory of relevant European phytosanitary collections. Ninety-two collections completed the questionnaire, and sixty more provided partial information. Feedback was received from the main collections of each discipline, and the results of the questionnaire are considered representative of the European situation.
One of the main gaps in collections (across all disciplines) is the absence of online information. This could be related to the size of collections (large amounts of information are more difficult to cover in a comprehensive manner), but also the inherent complexity of certain disciplines (i.e. entomology).
During the second day the experts discussed the questionnaire sent to the end-users (mainly public institutions) of the collections. From the information collected, the experts agreed that collections are able to answer to the demands of their customers, and it is expected that in the future collections should be able to provide more molecular material to their end-users.
The consortium will, in the next months, use the information collected with the two questionnaires to identify gaps, define quality standards and produce harmonised guidelines towards the achievement of these standards. The final project meeting, organised in Rome on 2015-09-7/8, will allow presentation of the finalized outputs of the project and to discuss about future developments.
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