WP1. Understanding pathogen biology and drivers (NIAB)

Annemarie F. Justesen (AU

Lead of WP1


  • Develop faster and more efficient diagnostic methods to track new rust races and genotypes, to use them to investigate population genetic changes in Europe and the role of pathogen aggressiveness and temperature adaptation as epidemic drivers in the face of changes in agriculture and the global climate.

  • Investigate the potential for wheat rust fungi to generate diversity by sexual reproduction in Europe, creating the potential to produce genotypes with wider virulence on cereal hosts.

  • Strengthen collaboration among rust diagnostic laboratories by exchange and compilation of genotypic and phenotypic data, enabling population genetic analyses of European data in a global context for understanding i) where new invasive rust races are coming from, ii) the processes generating pathogen diversity and, iii) spore transmission and long-distance spread to Europe.

WP2.  Disease prevention by host resistance (INRA)

Jerome Enjalbert (INRA)

Lead of WP2


  • Develop knowledge about resistance specificities in European wheat germplasm to all three wheat rust fungi by integrating epidemiological assays (in vivo) and SNP genotyping for 96 rust-R-genes.

  • Develop new approaches for off-season assessment of host resistance  to newly emerged rust races by new laboratory inoculation and microscopy techniques, advancing  information about changes in disease susceptibility for established autumn-sown crops and planned spring crops by one crop season.

  • Analyse the impact of resistance gene diversification on preventing rust epidemics at the landscape scale, and determine the potential to use R-genes with a wider genetic basis in wheat breeding to increase the capacity for prevention of rust epidemics.

WP3. Stakeholder networks, shared facilities and case studies (JKI)

Kerstin Flath (JKI)

Lead of WP3


  • Increase the expertise and efficiency in rust monitoring within plant breeding, agrochemical industry, agricultural advisory services, and Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU) approval in cereals.

  • Enable rust-resistance phenotyping of elite European wheat varieties and breeding lines in field trials in Europe and the Himalayan region of Pakistan (the centre of diversity of yellow rust) to promote breeding for durable rust resistance.

  • Optimise rust prevention and control in collaboration with lead user and end-user farmer representatives  in 5 case study regions.

  • Organize hands-on workshops & training for lead users in disease assessment, sampling, analysis and use of tools and services generated in the project.

  • Develop a multi-actor approach to disseminate and share data and tools to strengthen knowledge transfer among stakeholders in order to secure sustainability of activities beyond the project.

WP4.  Integrating information and data management (AU)

Jens G. Hansen (AU)

Lead of WP4


  • Specify, communicate and commit partners regarding the project FAIR Data Management Plan based on the H2020 Guidelines on FAIR Data Management.

  • Store, analyse and disseminate data and information from the project effectively via database driven information systems, web tools and mobile platforms based on a project Data Management Plan (DMP).

  • Use the Data Management Plan and the Plan for Exploitation and Dissemination of Results (PEDR) to strengthen knowledge transfer and stakeholder engagement.

  • Develop a web based European early warning system for wheat rusts, engaging all stakeholders with a participatory approach.

WP5.  Project management, coordination and policy (AU) 

Mogens S. Hovmøller

Lead of WP5


  • The overall objective of WP5 is the legal, financial and administrative management of RUSTWATCH, and to develop recommendations for EU plant health policies. Specific objectives are:

  • Implement a project infrastructure for efficient reporting and internal communication.

  • Organize kick-off, midterm and final conference.

  • Develop recommendations for plant health policies for non-regulated, invasive crop pathogens,in collaboration with other national and European organisations as appropriate.

  • Raising awareness in the agricultural and transport sector and in the general public about steps that can be taken to avoid disseminating cereal rust fungi.