Vision & Roadmap


The PCI vision is to be the world’s most successful distributed research centre; (1) Successful in solving the most urgent plant-related problems facing our communities (2) Successful in creating rewarding collaborative research where scientists are recognised for their collective contributions (3) Successful in strengthening open science and reproducibility to improve the quality of research standards.


The PCI aims to do science differently. We are developing long-term collaborative research tools and building strong foundations before conducting distributed plant cell research. We acknowledge that we are in a marathon, not a sprint, and we propose implementing the PCI’s vision in two phases.

Phase I

TWO CHALLENGES The first challenge is to connect plant science communities as research groups tend to be fragmented. The second challenge is to overcome barriers to collaboration. Scientists are trained to work independently and recognised for their individual accomplishments. Science is competitive, and cooperation is not necessarily rewarded. Similarly, heterogeneity in experimental procedures limits effective data sharing. Addressing these challenges before conducting collaborative research will significantly impact our society.

THE PHASE I AIMS to unlock plant science research collaboration by creating a global network of partners working on cell-inspired solutions to solve today’s most challenging problems. The roadmap of this phase aims to [1] identify common goals amongst plant communities, [2] study effective collaboration and [3] define standards to document plant research.


WP1 aims to engage with scientists and the public to define common problems and research questions that must be investigated to tackle plant-related issues. Scientific challenges can only be solved if there is better coordination across plant science research and a connection with non-scientific sectors of society through educational programmes.

OBJECTIVE: The project will identify a shared problem amongst groups that could contribute to a breakthrough advancement in plant research.

WP2 aims to study distributed science to understand how teams collaborate effectively to achieve scientific breakthroughs. The project proposes a multidisciplinary approach in partnership with social scientists. The science of Team Science is a new interdisciplinary field that empirically examines opportunities to enhance collaborative research in distributed teams.

OBJECTIVE: The research will formulate a framework that will integrate scientific, cultural and social components to create successful long-term collaborations in plant science.

WP3 aims to develop standardised protocols to document plant science research. Standardisation of procedures is critical to allow for collaborative research, large-scale experiments, and data sharing and methodologies. The project proposes to create a documentation to support distributed research. The documents will be essential to solve scientific challenges.

OBJECTIVE: The documentation will provide essential guidance for researchers to facilitate cooperation and openness to collaboration.

Phase II

THE PHASE II AIMS to conduct collaborative plant research to solve today’s most challenging problems. The roadmap of this phase aims to [1] create an ethical and evolving collaborative platform and [2] ensure financial sustainability to support efforts in plant research and education.


WP4 aims to design new computer-based tools to facilitate distributed contributions to scientific projects. Data management tools are fundamental to collaborative science. The project proposes to use existing open source technologies to create a new customisable, collaborative platform designed for biological research and other disciplines.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of the project, scientists will have access to a collaborative platform that improves research cooperation, reliability and data reproducibility.

WP5 aims to initiate the Ambition 2035 research programme to solve today’s most challenging plant-related problems. Project proposals will be evaluated based on a community-driven process to ensure the most effective impact on the communities. The PCI will secure funding from public and private institutions. The PCI will accelerate fundamental and applied research on plant cells through its unique global collaborative network.

OBJECTIVE: In 10 years, the PCI’s research will have helped alleviate some of the most pressing issues related to climate change, food insecurity and emerging diseases.

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