Justification

  1. Originality and relevance:  Brazil is a model for the use of fungi for the biocontrol of crops, in particular for sugar cane crops that are key for the production of bioethanol, also a world model for the use of a sustainable source of energy. Understanding the biology of fungal stress is a key step in the optimization of fungal products for biocontrol in Brazilian crops. The symposium allows the presence in Brazil of the leaders in fungal biology, fungal stress, and fungal biotechnology (see the program) in a format that allows interactions with local scientists and students. Our experience with the first ISFUS serves to justify the enourmous opportunities for collaborations that originated from the interactions among participants to the symposium and Brazilian scientists and students. In addition, many of the participants can meet during other international conferences on fungal biology, crop production, or biotechnology, but we think that ISFUS provides a unique opportunity for Brazilian scientists, students and biotechnologists to interact wit the experts in this relevant field of research in the format of a small conference where attendants can easily interact, propose collaborations, and solve real problems for the use of fungi to improve crop production.

  1. Periodicity: We think that a three-year period for the celebration of the symposium is appropriate given the abundance of other international conferences and the difficulties in obtaining funds to support the travel and accomodation expenses of the invited speakers. During the celebration of the second ISFUS the organizers will discuss the periodicity and location of ISFUS to ensure the continuation of this series.

  1. Adequacy of the event: As we have stated above, research on fungal stress is not only a very active research field in fungal biology with relevance for the understanding of basic cell biology but, most important, a key aspect in the optimization of fungal cells for the use of bio-control agents. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that participate in the interactions between fungi and host plants and animals will be key in the optimization of fungal bio-control agents, and in the design of novel strategies for the plant and animal defense against fungal pathogens. Fungi are key plants and animal pathogens responsible for the lost of tons of plant crops. The response of fungi to stress during the plant and animal infection is a key component of the responses that fungi provide to facilitate fungal/host interactions. It is anticipated that increasing our knowledge in the mechanisms that fungi have to deal with environmental and biological stress during plant and animal infections will be key in our future strategies for improving plant crops.

  1. Adequacy of the proposal to the objectives and activities:  The grant proposal aims at convening the travel and accommodation of a selected group of international speakers. Additional support will be provided by companies that will sponsor the event, and by the registration cost of the participants. We could increase the amount of funds obtained by participants increasing the number of attendants, but we feel that the main advantage of this symposium is the reduced number of participants that allows many interactions among the participants (mostly undergraduate and graduate students) and the invited speakers, all of them of relevance in fungal biology and biotechnology. We decided that, in order to keep a high scientific outcome for the participants of the symposium, we should have a limit in the number of participants to 200 and request funds from local and federal grants to support the speakers. The amount that we request for the organization of this international event is low considering the impact of the potential collaborations, interactions, and advice that Brazilian scientists, students and bio-technologists will obtain after the interactions with the most relevant scientists in the field of fungal stress. It is impossible to quantify the impact that organizing this symposium regularly in Brazil will have on Brazilian fungal biologists, microbiologists, and crop scientists and technologists. A rather small amount of funds will ensure that Brazil keeps having a leading role in the organization of this symposium for the benefit of science in general but, most importantly, for the benefit of Brazilian science.