HelEx is an interdisciplinary and multi-actor project involving both public partners and participants from industry that aims at identifying molecular and genetic strategies to adapt sunflower crop to climate change and improve its environmental footprint, while integrating stakeholders in the whole process and especially in socio-economic evaluations and innovative communication actions.

Principles of adaptation of wild extremophile Helianthus species will be used to mitigate the impact of climate change on two traits: the feedstock quality and the pollinator and biodiversity ecosystem service. HelEx will, on the one hand exploit previous project results on the genetic basis of production stability and characterize novel wild haplotypes and on the other hand identify new genetic pathways using a combine metabolomic, transcriptomic and phenomic approach.

The work is divided into 7 Work Packages organized as follows :


Objectives: WP1 aims to kick-start the development of sunflower adapted to extreme abiotic environments with improved seed quality and ecosystem service.

Objectives: WP2 aims to generate resilient sunflower varieties based on the traits identified in WP1 and to evaluate the sunflower bio-based feedstocks.

Objectives: WP3 will explore environmental impacts of sunflower genome modifications at different scales.

Objectives: WP4 aims at assessing the socio-economic impacts of the climate-smart sunflowers, ranging from the micro-level (i.e. impacts on farmers) over the meso-level (i.e. producers’ and consumers’ perspective) to the macro-level (i.e. regional, national, and global economy).

Objectives: The objective of this WP is to optimize and boost the impacts and outcome of the HelEx project.

Objectives: WP6 objectives are three-fold: 

  • at the strategic level, to steer the project and ensure the project reaches its objectives and delivers outputs that will generate the expected outcomes;
  • at the operational and contractual level, to put in place the procedures and tools needed to ensure that the project progresses in line with the Grant Agreement, the Consortium Agreement and that the project work plan produces timely and quality results; 
  • at the administrative level, to organize project meetings and collaborative work, prepare project reports and ensure efficient internal communication amongst partners.