EPPO Workshop on Adoption of Digital Technology for Data Generation for the efficacy evaluation of Plant Protection Products

Ede, The Netherlands, 2022-06-27/29




The EPPO Workshop on adoption of digital technology for data generation for the efficacy evaluation of plant protection products was organized in collaboration with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). Thanks are due to our Dutch hosts, in particular Ms Jilesen, for organizing the venue and logistics. Participants greatly appreciated the interesting technical visit to Eurofins experimental station in Elst, where they were welcomed by the Director of Eurofins, Mr Flier. The use of different digital technologies in efficacy trials was demonstrated there thanks to contribution of teams from six different companies.


The EPPO Secretariat would like to express their gratitude to the Organizing Committee, Working Group Chairs, and Rapporteurs who helped in structuring this workshop and assisted with finalizing the conclusions. Thanks, are also due to the speakers for their informative presentations and all those attending for their active participation and contribution to the outcomes of the Workshop.



General background

The Workshop was organized upon request from EPPO Member Countries which identified the need to critically discuss how the digital technologies used in efficacy trials can be validated and accepted within Good Experimental Practice (GEP) systems and by regulators in the future.


At the Workshop the focus was on sharing experience on the use of digital technology in PPP efficacy evaluation, identifying how digital technologies can support existing methods for specific assessment types and discussing knowledge gaps. The participants discussed how digital technologies can be validated, calibrated and verified, as well as what further work or guidance may be needed. The Workshop also focussed on possible work EPPO could do to assist their member countries, including updating of existing, or preparation of new EPPO Standards. The use of digital technologies in the application of plant protection products was outside of the Workshop’s scope.


The Workshop provided an excellent opportunity to share experiences on the topic. A total of 72 participants, from 17 EPPO countries were present at the meeting.






Mr Horn (EPPO Director General) welcomed participants and explained the objectives of the Workshop. The opening lectures (click on the links to see the presentations – PDF) illustrated the current state of developments of digital technologies, their use in practice and potential possibilities for the future. GEP Managers and representatives of GEP units shared their experiences with using digital technologies and on implementing EPPO PP1 Standards while using digital tools. Representatives of plant protection products industry and the digital technology providers presented their experience with the use of digital technology and the potential for use in efficacy trials.



Welcome address and objectives of the Workshop Nico Horn (EPPO)
Developments of digital technologies: current state and potential possibilities for the future  
Novel sensing and machine learning techniques for in field disease detection Gerrit Polder, WUR Plant Research Wageningen (NL)
How can we learn from plant breeders? Update on use of digital technologies in plant breeding Francois Tardieu, INRAE (FR)
The integration of digital technologies into biological assessment approaches to enhance data quality and delivery Rosie Bryson, BASF (DE)

GEP managers experience

Experience of Digital Technology in GEP Trials in the UK Tony Fisher (GB)
Digital technologies in GEP Units Anna Papamichail (GR)


Key studies

GEP units - Experiences to share on making use of digital technologies so far and on following EPPO PP1 Standards while using digital tools

Cirillo, next generation digital plant pest phenotyping Peter Korsten, Botany (NL)
How can simple RGB pictures be used for counting plant emergence Martin Gejl, Agrolab (DK)

Key studies

Plant protection products industry and Digital technology providers

Using digital tools to assess R&D trials - disease recognition at leaf level

Ramon Navarra Mestre, BASF (DE)

Digital Phenotyping: using sensor-based technologies for measuring crop responses

Aline Nink, Bayer CropScience (DE)

From images to data: the path of automated techniques for digital trial evaluations

Valentino Bosco, Corteva (IT)

Development of a smartphone/tablet app for cereal stand counts

Frank Meier-Runge, Syngenta (DE)

Improving traceability, transparency, and precision of assessments for biological dossiers with digital technology

Alexis Comar, Hiphen (FR)


Working groups

Participants were divided into four Working Groups to discuss the use of digital technologies in efficacy evaluation. Three groups focused on different groups of plant protection products, considering the specificities for efficacy trials of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, and the fourth group discussed use of digital technologies in the framework of GEP systems. In the final plenary session moderated by Mr Kudsk (DK), the rapporteur of each group summarized the conclusions of their group for all the Workshop participants.



Conclusions and recommendations

Based on those outcomes of the Working Groups, the general conclusions and recommendations were elaborated during the plenary session and are summarized as follows.

  • At the moment there is no need to revise EPPO specific Standards concerning digital technologies as the Standards don’t specify how the data is obtained. Revision may be needed in the future if digital technologies are used to generate additional parameters.
  • Validation of digital technologies is crucial.
  • A glossary of technical terms is needed, e.g. to clarify the meaning of the terms ‘calibration’, ‘verification’ and ‘validation’.
  • The raw trial data is the outputs of the assessments, not the images or data files.
  • Calibration, verification and validation is primarily a responsibility of the GEP system.
  • A new Standard or alternatively an addendum to EPPO PP1/181 describing procedures for calibration, verification and validation of digital technologies is urgently needed.
  • Bringing GEP managers together could promote harmonization of the use of digital technologies.
  • Industry may consider sharing a common data set for validation.


Conclusions and recommendations  



Organizing Committee

NL – Claudia Jilesen (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority)

DK – Per Kudsk (Aarhus University)

GR  – Anna Papamichail (Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food)

CropLife Europe – Beth Hall (Syngenta)

EPPO – Ewa Matyjaszczyk