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Harrold van den Burg, VP Innovation for Crops at the plant research company KeyGene, has been appointed professor by special appointment of Phytopathology, with a special focus on plant virology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA)'s Faculty of Science (FNWI). This chair was established on behalf of Keygene N.V. and Stichting Food Valley.

In this position, Van den Burg can bridge between academic research & training and the demands of the international agrifood business.

Van den Burg’s chair focuses on understanding and applying fundamental processes in plant-pathogen interactions to improve food security. The emphasis will therefore be on research, training and project acquisition in applied plant pathology and addressing the effect of plant viruses and bacteria on crop yield.

“Agriculture worldwide is continuously facing new pests and diseases. State-of-the-art knowledge can often serve as a starting point for concrete innovations developed by businesses that can help to battle these pests and diseases. At the same time, relevant questions and needs from businesses in agriculture can serve as an inspiration for the development of new knowledge and the training of young scientists. My ambition is to contribute to both of these tracks.” says Harrold van den Burg.

Van den Burg summarizes the combination of these tracks as ‘crop-model-crop’. “Questions and needs arise in the cultivation of crops, fundamental scientific research is often done using model plants, and the innovations should contribute to improved crops.”


Dr H.A. (Harrold) van den Burg

Faculty of Science

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences