Urban Crop Solutions (UCS) and Dr Rudi Pauwels will set up a research centre on indoor farming applications in southern Spain. Research at the centre will focus on the impact of climate change on crops in Southern Europe, while working on optimising the nutrient content. For UCS, this new research centre complements its existing research centre in Belgium. Dr Rudi Pauwels will also advise UCS on its plant molecular farming activities.
Urban Crop Solutions has been active in researching growing plants without sunlight, in their own designed and engineered indoor farms, since 2014. Many of which have been commissioned and installed globally. Their past research activities at their headquarters in Belgium have already led to several new applications enabled by their farming technique. Their controlled environment growing techniques offer solutions to the global challenges of food scarcity, and the production of plant-based ingredients and raw materials.
With Dr Rudi Pauwels – who is world-renowned for his development of the world’s most widely used and successful AIDS inhibitors, and founder of several successful biotech companies – UCS will build a new research centre near Málaga in southern Spain. This research centre will work on the challenges brought about by global warming in southern European regions. In these regions, there is an opportunity and a need to rethink traditional farming practices, considering the increasing water shortages, and the advantages offered by modern agriculture. With consideration to the calls that in the future, farms should focus more on the production of the most nutritious crops, UCS and Dr Rudi Pauwels, have determined their joint mission as one that optimises the nutrient content of crops, through their controlled environment agriculture techniques. It is envisaged that the research centre will be operational by early 2023. The studies will be led by Dr Rudi Pauwels and Dr Oscar Navarrete, Chief Plant Scientist at Urban Crop Solutions.
“With this initiative, I reconnect with the centuries-long agricultural tradition in my family. It was my grandfather and especially my father, a horticultural engineer, who passed onto me a lot of knowledge, and passion for this field in my childhood years” explains Dr Rudi Pauwels. “Furthermore, I believe very strongly in plant molecular farming or plant-based production. UCS’s indoor farming techniques are highly important for the use of plants as an alternative and efficient carrier, for the production of molecules of interest for various pharmaceutical products such as vaccines” he adds.
“We are very honoured that a captain of the industry, of Dr Rudi Pauwels’ calibre, wants to work with us to turn the possibilities of indoor farming into concrete realisations. This proves that we have built up a lot of expertise over the past eight years and that we have installed the right business model,” says Frederic Bulcaen, Chairman and Co-Founder of Urban Crop Solutions.
Jean Pierre Coene, CEO of Urban Crop Solutions, adds “whereas in the early years the focus of our company was exclusively on selling installations for traditional commercial food production, we are convinced that we can accelerate our growth by focusing more on installations for plant molecular farming.”
Urban Crop Solutions is an end-to-end indoor farming solutions provider, supporting clients with contract research trials, business planning, as well as the engineering and construction of indoor farms. Their own award-winning indoor farming solutions can be commissioned and scaled anywhere in the world, from remote islands to crowded metropoles. In its state-of-the-art UCS Research Centre, and with their proprietary PharmSpee(TM) technology platform, the team of plant scientists develop recipes for applications ranging from staple foods to ingredients for cellular food products. With a library of 290+ plant growth recipes, 50+ modules deployed globally, and installations in 4 continents, UCS is the go-to partner for commercial growers and public-private research institutes. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or visit our website at www.urbancropsolutions.com.
ABOUT RUDI PAUWELS
Dr Rudi Pauwels is a Belgian pharmacologist and biotech entrepreneur. He studied pharmaceutical sciences at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium. One of the first researchers in the field of HIV, he played a key role in the fight against the AIDS pandemic by discovering several widely used anti-HIV drugs. Over the past three decades, he (co)founded several biotech companies, all of which aim to further develop more personalised and high-precision medicine. Today, he is active as Founder and Chairman of the Praesens Foundation, chairman of Praesens Care, and also holds several board positions in companies and research institutes. He is the author of more than 150 scientific articles and the recipient of numerous awards and honours.