CRAG is an independent and self-managed Center of Excellence created as a consortium by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and the University of Barcelona (UB), with the global mission of achieving the highest level of research and technology development and training in the fields of plant sciences and agricultural and farm animal genetics and genomics.
CRAG conducts leading-edge research in plant development, physiology, stress responses, adaptation, metabolism and genetics; bioinformatics and genomics of plants and farm animals; and applied projects developed together with Agbio (Agricultural Biotechnology), Biotech, and Breeding companies.
A main scientific mission of CRAG relies on bringing together basic and applied plant and farm animal research, promoting synergies and facilitating translational research. This represents an ideal combination for nurturing and training the next generation of plant and farm animal scientists, which is another of CRAG’s goals. In addition, CRAG also strives to communicate its area of research to Society at large and, importantly, to contribute to the public debate on plant research and its applications and implications.
Since 2015, CRAG has been recognized with the “Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence” award, the most prestigious programme by the Spanish Government to reward scientific and institutional excellence.
There are 24 research groups integrating 32 research lines at CRAG. The research groups are organized into four different Scientific Programmes:
- Plant Development and Signal Transduction. Genetic and molecular determinants underlying plant development and the signalling pathways and mechanisms connecting the plant life cycle with the changing environment. In the long-term, fundamental knowledge of plant biology is essential for crop improvement and agricultural sustainability.
- Plant Responses to Stress. Mechanisms involved in plant signalling and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The Programme also aims to develop practical applications to boost plant resistance or adaptation to changing and challenging environments.
- Plant Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering. To generate fundamental knowledge on plant physiology and metabolism and to use this knowledge to improve crops through plant synthetic and metabolic engineering approaches
- Plant and Animal Genomics. To understand the genome organization, variability and evolution of different crops and domestic animals and to elucidate the genetic basis of important traits in species of agricultural interest.
CRAG currently hosts 200 members from across the world, including group leaders, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, and technical staff. About 50% of both the postdoctoral fellows and the PhD students are from international origin.