The integration of conventional breeding with high-precision phenotyping, genetic modelling and crop growth simulation methods can improve current predictive breeding to deliver new strategies and toolkits, leading to new, high-yielding varieties selected to cope with anticipated future climatic conditions.


Key reasons to attend this course

Be aware of the extra challenges imposed by climate change to food security and cereal breeding
Learn about the possibilities offered by crop and climate models to improve predictions
Have an integrated overview of the strategies that must be considered to increase breeding effectiveness combining recent advances on genomics and phenomics with crop and climate modelling.
Review the climate change scenarios used in cereal simulation models.
Know the main traits important for improving prediction in breeding under climate change conditions.
Gain an insight on crop modelling and their application to plant breeding.
Have an overview of the most advanced models used in plant breeding.
Acquire knowledge on how to combine genomic prediction models and crop simulation models to identify ideotypes.
Learn basic skills in modelling to support plant breeding under climate change scenarios.
Connect and network with professionals from other countries who are interested in breeding predictive tools to cope with climate uncertainty.


M. ACUTIS, Univ. Milano (Italy)
F. BASSI, ICARDA, Rabat (Morocco)
M. BOGARD, Arvalis, Baziège (France)
G. BRACHO-MUJICA, Univ. Göttingen (Germany)
L. CATTIVELLI, CREA, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy)
R. CONFALONIERI, Univ. Milano (Italy)
N. FERREIRA, Univ. Göttingen (Germany)
A. FRICANO, CREA, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy)
G. HAMMER, Univ. Queensland (Australia)
P. MARTRE, INRAE, Montpellier (France)
L. PALEARI, Univ. Milano (Italy)
A. PEREGO, Univ. Milano (Italy)
S.K. RASMUSSEN, Univ. Copenhagen (Denmark)
R. RÖTTER, Univ. Göttingen (Germany)
A.H. SCHULMAN, Luke & University of Helsinki (Finland)
M.A. SEMENOV, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden (UK)
G. SLAFER, Univ. Lleida, ICREA (Spain)
E. VAN OOSTEROM, Univ. Queensland (Australia)

30 hours of lectures, demonstrations and supervised practical work

15 Leading international experts

Course delivered in English


  • 1. Framework for prediction in plant breeding under climate change scenarios (0.5 hours)
  • 2. Climate change scenarios (1 hour)
    • 2.1. Precipitation and temperature changes, extremes, variability, drought indices, Coupled Model Intercomparison Project - Phases 5 and 6
    • 2.2. Basics of climate modelling
    • 2.3. Construction of emissions scenarios
  • 3. Traits for sustainability in cereal breeding (3.5 hours)
    • 3.1. Trait selection
    • 3.2. Phenotyping for high temperature adaptation
    • 3.3. Phenotyping for WUE and drought resilience
    • 3.4. Phenotyping for Nitrogen Use Efficiency
  • 4. Genomic selection (3 hours)
    • 4.1. General concepts
    • 4.2. Practical applications in breeding programmes
  • 5. Crop modelling (7 hours)
    • 5.1. Basics of crop growth simulation modelling
    • 5.2. Crop modelling demonstration: modelling platforms WOFOST and APSIM
    • 5.3. How crop models are used by growers for agricultural planning and management
    • 5.4. Model evaluation/linking modelling with experimentation: calibration using input/experimental data of different quality levels
    • 5.5. Practical work
  • 6. Linking genomic prediction (GP) with crop simulation models (CSM) (15 hours)
    • 6.1. Conventional GWAS-GP vs linkage GP with CSM. Practical example on flowering time
    • 6.2. Model improvement and ideotyping
      • 6.2.1. Limits, pros and cons of models to capture different crop responses to abiotic stresses and impact of multiple stresses
      • 6.2.2. Examples of recent or planned model improvements
      • 6.2.3. Methods of model-based ideotype design
      • 6.2.4. Results from different model-based ideotyping studies
        • In silico crop design – simulate to innovate
        • The example of wheat
        • The example of lodging in barley
    • 6.3. Demonstration and exercises, including final discussion (4 h)

Train at an outstanding international institution


If you wish to participate in the course, apply online at the following address:

The course is designed for 30 professionals with a university degree and with a background in plant breeding, molecular genetics or physiology who want an integrated perspective of the most recent research on advanced breeding predictive tools to cope with climate uncertainty.

The course will be held face to face at CIHEAM Zaragoza from 17 to 21 January 2022, in morning and afternoon sessions. If the health risk from COVID still persists on those dates, the course will take place online.

Application deadline: 31 October 2021. Applications from those candidates requiring authorization to attend the course may be accepted provisionally.

Registration fees for the course amount to 500 euro. This sum covers tuition fees only.
Candidates from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) and from ICARDA Middle East and North Africa partners may apply for scholarships covering registration fees, and for scholarships covering the cost of travel and full board accommodation in the Hall of Residence on the Aula Dei Campus.
Candidates from other countries who require financial support should apply directly to other national or international institutions.

It is compulsory for participants to have medical insurance valid for Spain. Proof of insurance cover must be given at the beginning of the course. Those who so wish may participate in a collective insurance policy taken out by the Organisation, upon payment of the stipulated sum.

Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

Av. Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain

+34 976716000

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