The research programme includes investigation of isolation distances, the influence of intermediate crops, the climate and the orientation of the maize rows. Initiated by the former federal minister Renate Künast, the research programme was started in 2005 and will continue until 2009. The trials are coordinated by the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL) and conducted by several national and provincial research centres.
Field trials with plant species other than maize also are being considered. This includes oilseed rape, since “it is important to start with co-existence research long before its genetically modified varieties are in approval,” stated the FAL and BVL in a joint press statement. When harvesting oilseed rape, significant amounts of the seeds can remain in the soil and survive for several years.