Tomatoes growing in greenhouse
Research institutes

Brightlands Future Farming Institute

The Brightlands Future Farming Institute (BFFI) contributes to technological innovations needed to find answers to the major challenges in the agrifood sector. Aim of the institute is to study sustainable vegetable production systems in interaction with plant genetics, in order to deliver vegetables with optimal consumer traits such as taste and health. The focus of the institute is in the areas of plant functional genomics, plant envirogenetics and circular horticulture systems.

BFFI is located in the Netherlands at the heart the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo surrounded by companies active in agrifood. Researchers and students will be conducting innovative fundamental, applied and translational research by creating synergies between academia and industry.

Vision and mission

One of the biggest challenges is to find solutions to feed the world’s population in 2050 in a healthy, safe and sustainable way. The Dutch agrifood sector can play a major role in this but to do so a strong understanding on how the genetic make-up of vegetables relates to the environment and how to influence this relation is needed. With many technical and scientific questions, this can only be done in a multidisciplinary research environment. Combining technology and engineering with Maastricht University’s existing strengths in healthy nutrition and food innovation links directly to the ambition of making healthy eating enjoyable and sustainable

BFFI has a clear mission statement: 'to design, grow and produce vegetables with optimal consumer traits in the most sustainable way:

  • To address the need for food of the world’s population in 2050
  • To fulfil the obligations of the direct stakeholders
  • To take our responsibility for the sustainability of the food production

The BFFI-way to accomplish the mission is that:

  • We offer sustainable innovations and solutions by creating outstanding interdisciplinary teams and synergistic core competences and infrastructure
  • We are committed to strive for excellence and building critical mass together with our customers along the value chain

A Brightlands institute

Brightlands logo

Brightlands is an open innovation community in a global context, connecting four campuses in the province of Limburg: in Maastricht, Heerlen, Sittard-Geleen and Venlo. The campuses provide entrepreneurs, scientists and students state-of-the-art facilities to support development, education, innovation and growth. Naturally, there are close links between all four Brightlands campuses, and together they enable Limburg to serve as an innovation region where researchers and entrepreneurs take on the major challenges in the areas of materials, health, food and smart services.


The BFFI will conduct research in plant biology and the engineering of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) systems such as greenhouses and indoor farms. The institute will be at the heart of a major horticultural production region. The aim is to make the sector more environmentally and economically sustainable with improved plants and growing systems that add value for plant breeders, growers, retailers and consumers.

Unique Selling Point

BFFI is an independent academic institute powered by Maastricht University and collaborating with BASF’s vegetable seed business attracting both scientists and companies such as to the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo in the heart of one of the largest agrifood clusters in Europe covering the Netherlands and part of Nord-Rhein Westfalen in Germany.

Value chain

The BFFI conducts research on agrifood in a so-called value chain approach by combining the different disciplines within and outside the institute in close collaboration with companies. By combining knowledge on plant physiology, biology and genetics with the engineering of controlled agriculture environments BFFI contributes to a more sustainable vegetable production system.