Plant breeders’ rights for food security and economic development

The protection of the rights of plant breeders is an important stimulus for the development of better plant varieties. The possibility to claim intellectual property rights on a variety gives a breeder the exclusive rights to exploit it and to prevent others from doing so illegally.

Many countries are therefore developing and implementing a legal framework for the protection of plant varieties within an intellectual property rights system. Besides developing legislation, the implementation of the Plant Breeders' Rights system has far-reaching consequences of a legal, institutional, technical, financial and commercial nature. In this course, participants will learn about these consequences, and about practical ways to implement new regulations.

A strong Plant Variety Protection System can ensure and improve food security in any country. This course aims at facilitating the introduction and practical implementation of Plant Breeders’ Rights in countries where legislation on this matter is being developed or has recently been passed. And at a better understanding of how a Plant Variety Protection System works for those who are involved in the registration of new varieties.

Naktuinbouw organises this course in collaboration with Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR.

Starting date: 
14 March 2022

Target group

Applicants should have a position in the variety registration system or have a position that will give them such responsibilities in the near future. Countries that have recently developed a plant variety protection law, or those that are currently in the process of developing such legislation, will be given priority. We also welcome employees of the legal departments in the agricultural industry.

Applicants should have an agricultural or horticultural education at a minimum of BSc level or a legal education supplemented with practical experience in agriculture and horticulture. Participants are expected to be proficient in English. 

Date and location

Due to the Coronavirus situation the course will be provided online.

  • Date: Mon 14 March 2021 until Fri 20 May 2022
  • Duration: Part-time, 10 weeks with one or two breaks in between
  • Total hours: 80 hours
  • Venue: Facilitated online sessions


Course subjects:

  • Legal aspects: legal framework, requirements of the international Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), other systems, patents, regulations relating to genetic resource use
  • Institutional aspects: procedures and administration, organisational setup, variety registration systems, collaboration and testing
  • Technical aspects: the principle of Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS), practical DUS-testing, UPOV guidelines, field testing, biochemical/ molecular techniques, statistics, data analysis, reporting, variety denomination
  • Exploitation of plant breeders rights: enforcing rights, royalty collection, farm saved seed

The subjects will be introduced through lectures, discussions and working groups. Practical trainings on DUS testing form part of the course and visits will be made to seed certification services, breeding companies and the Aalsmeer flower auction.

Participants that register timely and have been accepted are invited to take part, free of charge, in the UPOV Distance Learning Course (DL-205) 'Introduction to the UPOV System of Plant Variety Protection under the UPOV Convention'. 


The course fee for 2022 is 4.100,- euros. 


Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation has no funds to financially support participants to take part in one of the courses. Fortunately, different sources provide scholarships for postgraduates.

The most common ones are the Orange Knowledge Programme, MENA Scholarship Programme and StuNed. Early application is recommended as some procedures to finalise subscription (e.g. funding, visa) can take some time.

There are 3 application rounds for individual scholarships every year. These rounds usually open in February, May and September. Read here how to apply for a scholarship.


You can register here

Naktuinbouw organises this course in collaboration with Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR.