Lectures by high-profile scientists

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"

The lecture series is a forum for high-profile and internationally visible scientists who are active in academia or at the science-policy interface. The lectures address an interdisciplinary audience of experts from natural, social, and engineering sciences as well as representatives from international and implementation-oriented organizations.

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Past lectures

Amir Heiman

The Unintended Negative Effect of Pharmaceutical Treatment on the Likelihood to Adopt Healthy Lifestyle

by Prof. Dr.  Amir Heiman (December 11, 2023)


This study explores into the interaction between chronic pharmaceutical intervention for hypertension and the adoption of health-conscious lifestyle behaviors, probing whether patients are employing them as complementary or substitutive means in mitigating health risks. Previous studies have analyzed the factors contributing to suboptimal adherence to both healthy lifestyle practices and pharmaceutical regimens, identifying constraints related to costs, time commitments, income constrain, as well as prevailing psychological biases and present time preferences. Departing from prior research, we posit that consumers engage in an optimization process, strategically balancing adherence to pharmaceutical treatment with the augmentation of physical activity and dietary modifications to manage their health risks. This optimization may lead to either a corner solution, wherein only medication or lifestyle changes are employed, or an internal solution, encompassing medication alongside lifestyle modifications.
We employ medical records, enriched with data from a survey of diagnosed hypertension patients, to scrutinize the trade-offs and synergies between these approaches. Our empirical analyses entail the simultaneous estimation of consumers' decisions associated with adherence to pharmaceutical treatment and therapeutic lifestyle choices, encompassing measures of physical activity and dietary adjustments. Notably, our findings yield evidence of boomerang effects stemming from pharmaceutical treatment. Specifically, adherence to pharmaceutical treatment correlates with a decreased likelihood of intensifying physical activity efforts.

Key words: boomerang-effect, pharmaceutical-treatment, adopting-healthy- lifestyle, hypertension.

About the speaker

Department of Environmental Economics and Management, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 7610001, Israel
My research integrates marketing models with risk reduction mechanisms, focusing on the intricate interplay of risk, information dissemination, and marketing strategies in shaping consumer behavior, preferences, and adoption of innovations. Three core domains anchor my work:

(i) Analyzing the effects of pre-purchase and post-purchase marketing mechanisms, including product demonstrations, sampling, and post-purchase guarantees like money-back guaranty policies, on consumer demand and retailers' profitability.
(ii) Investigating the influence of information pertaining to quality, branding, health considerations, production methods (e.g., genetically modified food), and origin (e.g., country of production) on consumer food choices.
(iii) Delving into consumer decision-making regarding the tradeoff between pharmaceutical interventions and lifestyle modifications, with the aim of mitigating health risks.

My research endeavors seek to illuminate the dynamics that govern consumer behavior in response to marketing activities and risk reduction measures, ultimately contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, marketers policies and consumer preferences.

Can the Phenomenon of Vegetative Desiccation Tolerance Provide Answers to Food Security in a Hotter Drier Future?

by Prof. Dr. Jill Farrant (November 2, 2023)


Drought is the greatest threat to world agriculture and due to global warming, increased aridification is predicted in most current food producing areas. This is particularly significant for Africa, where 95% of agriculture is rain fed. Current crops are intolerant of even moderate water loss and while improved
resistance to water loss has been achieved, such mechanisms fail under severe and prolonged drought.
There are some 240 Angiosperm species (termed resurrection plants) that display vegetative desiccation tolerance; a phenomenon which if fully understood, could ultimately be used in the production of crops with increased tolerance to water deficit stress. Using a multidisciplinary systems biology approach, we have investigated mechanisms whereby several
different resurrection plant species, each as a model for a crop to be improved in drought tolerance, tolerate these extreme conditions. Recent studies include investigations of root associated microbiomes and their potential roles in desiccation tolerance, with potential for the production of natural biostimulants that facilitate plant growth under water deficit conditions. In this presentation an overview of molecular physiological processes associated with desiccation tolerance in a range of resurrection plants will be given and current and future potential applied outputs discussed.

About the speaker

Desiccation Tolerance for Food Security” in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. She utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to understand protection mechanisms associated with vegetative desiccation tolerance, and its regulation, with the ultimate aim of producing drought tolerant crops for food security.

She has received considerable recognition for her research, having achieved 11 national and international awards (including recently, the Humboldt Foundation Georg Foster Award), and her work has been the subject of several International documentaries, which can be found on her website.

Farrant has 156 peer reviewed publications, 17 book chapters, over 200 conference proceedings, has graduated 36 MSc students and 32 PhD students during the 30 years she has been an academic. She is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of South Affrica, the Third World Academy of Sciences of of UCT. She is a Member of Academy of Sciences of South African and the Organization for Women in Science in Developing countries.

The recording will be available here shortly.

Jill Farrant

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
© Christina Schiegl

Climate Resilient Habitats: On Digital Modeling and Simulation Capabilities Capturing Spatial Variations in Local Environments  

by Professor Dr. Dominik L. Michels (April 6, 2023)


Climate change impacts communities and human habitats worldwide and locally in different ways. A multitude of interdependencies between, for example, geophysical and human-made factors make adaptations to this changing world extraordinarily challenging. Coarse prediction models, for example predicting an increase of temperature and a decrease of rainfall in specific regions, are not sufficient to allow communities to prepare for and adapt to the multifaceted impacts in their local environment. Urban planning, for example, in progressively heat-stricken areas should incorporate building surfaces that reflect radiation, allow cooling wind to flow freely through neighborhoods, and strategically place plants in areas where shade is needed most. In order to address such needs, we aim to develop the required digital modeling and simulation capabilities by combining our expertise in geometric modeling and computational architecture, physics-based modeling and numerical simulation, and visualization. The necessity for these capabilities is similarly evident if we consider rural and farming regions or forests [1]; these complex ecosystems also maintain their own climate [5].

Similarly, detailed geometric models are required as it has recently been established that climate change not only has an impact on plant ecosystems, but that vegetation also contributes to local weather variations, resulting in diverse microclimates in contrast to the overall macroclimate. On a larger scale, urban, rural and farming, and forest areas are interconnected and changes within each area can easily cause effects beyond the direct environment. In this context, modeling and simulation of weather phenomena [2-3] is at the core of our work considering detailed representations of the underlying geometric structures at the level of individual objects such as buildings or trees [4]. Such high-resolution data are of fundamental importance in order to adapt to the associated challenges of a changing environment and to support a climate-resilient community. Furthermore, the data obtained from modeling and simulating these complex environments could serve as synthetic training data, leveraging machine learning capabilities for smart cities and the development of state-of-the-art land use concepts.

Video references (clickable): 

[1] Synthetic Silviculture: Multi-scale Modeling of Plant Ecosystems; [2] Stormscapes: Simulating Cloud Dynamics in the Now; [3] Weatherscapes: Nowcasting Heat Transfer and Water Continuity; [4] Fire in Paradise: Mesoscale Simulation of Wildfires; [5] Ecoclimates: Climate-Response Modeling of Vegetation

About the speaker

Dominik L. Michels is a Full Professor (W3) of Computer Science holding the professorship of Intelligent Algorithms in Modeling and Simulation (IAMS) at the Technical University of Darmstadt since 2023. He is also a KAUST Associate Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, and was previously employed at Stanford University.

His research aims for the development of intelligent algorithms targeting principled, accurate and efficient simulations, and their applications in the fields of Visual Computing and Scientific Computing. This is based on solid theoretical foundations resulting from fundamental research comprising algorithmics, artificial intelligence, computer algebra, machine learning, mathematical modeling, and numerical analysis. In summer 2016, he started to build up the Computational Sciences Group at KAUST after Professor Michels joined the Computer Science faculty at Stanford University in fall 2014 heading the High Fidelity Algorithmics Group within the Max Planck Center for Visual Computing and Communication. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech. He studied Computer Science and Physics at University of Bonn and B-IT, from where he received a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Physics in 2011, a M.Sc. (first class honors) in Computer Science in 2013, and a Ph.D. (summa cum laude) in Mathematics and Natural Sciences (Dr.rer.nat.) in early 2014. He was awarded the prize for the best dissertation in 2014 within his subject area. During his academic studies he was visiting several international institutions, among others Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research within the greater Moscow area.

His studies and research were awarded and supported with various honors, for example by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, with a Johannes Kepler Foundation Scholarship awarded for excellent achievements in algorithmics and geometry, by the ACM SIGSAM for achievements in computer algebra, and with the academic award of the AFCEA. Professor Michels was awarded an artificial intelligence grant of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia endowed with 1.25 million euros in 2019.

In the non-academic context, he serves as a research partner in the sections of high-technology and consumer goods partnering with and advising leading multinational companies and research institutions from various sectors, specifically from the high-technology and consumer goods sections. Professor Michels is also involved in various spin-offs. In this context, he received the first Procter & Gamble Faculty Award for his research contributions to the consumer goods industry. He also partnered and published regularly with Adobe, Google AI and Google Brain, respectively.

He is a member of the ACM, the IEEE, and the London Mathematical Society. Professor Michels was selected as a member of the top-class jury for the German AI Award in 2019. In 2023, he was elected as a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He declined faculty offers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg in 2019, and from the University of Bonn in 2020. Professor Michels was appointed to the German Council of Advisors on Digital Economy in 2020 by the German government under Peter Altmaier, who served in Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet as Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. After the 2021 German federal election, he served in this capacity under Robert Habeck, the deputy to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

There is no video recording available for this lecture.

Special Issue: Professor Dr. Louise O. Fresco receives the Justus von Liebig Prize for World Nutrition (November 28, 2022)

In close cooperation with Center for Development Research (ZEF), we had the presentation of the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition 2022 by the Foundation fiat panis, Ulm to Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco. The award was presented in-person as part of the Distinguished Lecturers Series of the TRA Sustainable Futures "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability".

Prof. Fresco held a lecture on the subject of sustainable agriculture and food security as the Justus von Liebig-Award is granted to personalities who made important contributions to improving world nutrition. Please find all further information at the ZEF event page. 

Louise O. Fresco (Justus von Liebig Award for World Nutrition 2022)

Prof. Dr. Ray Huffaker

Reconstructing resilience of real-world economic, hydrological, and biophysical systems to extreme climatic events from observational data

by Professor Ray Huffaker (October 27, 2022)


Resilience analysis is widely applied to assess the dynamic response of real-world economic, hydrological, and biophysical systems to catastrophic climatic and environmental events occurring globally at unprecedented magnitude and frequency (e.g., extreme temperatures, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, and wildfires). Currently, investigators engaging in resilience analysis face a daunting selection of competing framings—contingent on wide-ranging potential dynamic responses of a system exposed to extreme events—without empirical guidance on how to infer which framing represents a meaningful reality from observational data. As a result, investigators may contribute misleading resilience analyses only fortuitously corresponding to real-world systemic behavior that public officials are charged to manage and regulate. The seminar seeks to provide missing empirical guidance by formulating a novel diagnostic workflow that begins at ground-zero observation of time series records of system covariates and directs investigators through a sequence of testable hypotheses pointing the way to a resilience framing and analysis representing a meaningful reality. The diagnostic workflow relies on empirical nonlinear dynamic methods to reverse-engineer (reconstruct) state-space dynamics from sequential data to diagnose which type of dynamic system response is the most likely source of irregular fluctuations characterizing observational watershed data. The seminar will draw implications for how current resilience framings must adapt to accommodate the potential for complex real-world systems exhibiting emergent nonlinear-deterministic dynamics. Finally, the seminar will leverage empirically reconstructed watershed dynamics to develop an AI-based early warning system for systemic resilience to extreme climate events—capable of forecasting systemic responses out-of-sample.

About the speaker

Ray Huffaker works in the ecosystems complexity group in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida, USA. He specializes in empirical nonlinear dynamics techniques; biological and economic modeling of water and other ecosystem resources; economic and food system dynamics; and natural resource and environmental law. He teaches doctoral courses in nonlinear data diagnostics and biological modeling. He co-authored a book on Nonlinear Time Series Analysis: Huffaker, Bittelli, & Rosa (2017), Nonlinear Time Series Analysis with R, Oxford University Press.

Global to Local to Global Analysis of Systems Sustainability 

by Dr. Thomas Hertel (September 27, 2022)


Ensuring the long-term sustainability of our land and water resources, even as we seek to meet the world economy’s growing demands, requires informed management of the complex networks of policies, infrastructure and technologies that connect the food and resource nexus. In addressing this challenge, a global perspective is required to determine the boundary conditions facing local decision makers as they seek to craft policies to ensure a sustainable economy and planet. While global drivers are responsible for many of these local sustainability stresses, solutions are generally location-specific, necessitating fine-scale analysis. Furthermore, when combined, these local policy actions can feedback to the regional and global levels. Hence the need for Global-to-Local-to-Global (GLG) Analysis.

In this talk, Hertel will discuss recent GLG analysis undertaken in the Center for Global Trade Analysis at Purdue University in collaboration with colleagues from around the world. Topics will include the control of non-point source water pollution, groundwater sustainability policies, and climate-induced human heat stress. Hertel will conclude by highlighting GLASSNET, a recently funded project from the National Science Foundation which aims to build a global network of networks to support GLG analysis of land and water sustainability. 

About the speaker

Thomas Hertel is Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. Prof. Hertel’s research and teaching focuses on international trade, food and environmental security. He is a 2022 recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize and is a Fellow, and a Past-President, of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Honorary Life Member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) which now encompasses more than 25,000 researchers in 175 countries around the world. More recently, Hertel has initiated GLASSNET, a five-year, NSF funded project aimed at building a global network of networks to address sustainability challenges confronting the world’s land and water resources. Professor Hertel has received a number of AAEA awards including, Outstanding Graduate Teacher, Publication of Enduring Quality, Distinguished Policy Contribution, Outstanding Journal Article and Quality of Communication. His research has also been recognized by the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (Best Journal Article) and the Ecological Society of America (Sustainability Science Award). Dr. Hertel is on sabbatical in Berlin in 2022, sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and hosted by PIK.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hertel

Prof. Katrin Böhning-Gaese

Biodiversity and people in the Anthropocene 

by Professor Katrin Böhning-Gaese (July 5, 2022)


In the Anthropocene, the age of humans, the very same are increasingly overwriting geological and ecological processes in the earth system. This is interlinked with biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution, which are all symptoms of humans overutilizing nature. According to the World Biodiversity Council IPBES, one million of the estimated eight million species on earth are threatened by extinction: We are facing the sixth mass extinction in the history of our planet. Since biodiversity is the existential basis of human life, a decline of biodiversity results in a loss of ecosystem services, which undermines achieving the sustainable development goals.

But what can be done? Given the importance of the biodiversity crisis for human well-being, we need a transformation of society at large, i.e. the fundamental system-wide reorganization of politics, economy, civil society and also science. Especially for agricultural landscapes in Germany, where species declines are particularly high, this means three things: First, the greening of agriculture. Second, fundamental changes in agricultural policy, better collaborations and new technologies. Third, changes in consumption and diets towards food coming from biodiverse agricultural production and a much higher share of plant-based foods. If we commit ourselves to quick, deep, sweeping changes including the expansion of protected areas and the promotion of restoration, the decline in biodiversity can still be halted and reversed.

About the speaker

Prof. Katrin Böhning-Gaese has been director of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and professor at Goethe University Frankfurt since 2010. She previously held a professorship at the University of Mainz since 2001. The trained biologist focuses on the effects of climate and land-use change on biodiversity, as well on the importance of biodiversity for human well-being. She is speaker of the DFG-funded research unit “The role of nature for human well-being in the Kilimanjaro Social-Ecological System”. Prof. Böhning-Gaese is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz. From 2017 to 2021 she was vice-president of the Leibniz Association. In 2021, she was awarded the German Environmental Award for her outstanding research and her commitment at the interface between science, society and politics.

Preparing for Floods with Earth System models and Imagination

by Professor Hannah Cloke (March 4, 2022)


Last summer terrible floods struck Germany and many parts of Europe leading to more than 200 people losing their lives. Early warnings of weather driven natural hazards can be vital in ensuring that we are better prepared for upcoming events. Increasingly these early warnings are based on the forecasts provided by global weather prediction systems that have invested in an earth system modelling approach. This approach allows better representations of the feedbacks that are important in predicting floods, heatwaves and other natural hazards. The ‘ensemble’ or probabilistic approach used in these prediction systems also allows more informed decisions to be taken which consider the uncertainty in the forecasts. But what is the point of giant computer models of the earth system predicting floods several days ahead if nobody believes the forecast or nobody knows what to do in a flood? This talk will illustrate some of our recent successes, the best future opportunities and the critical challenges in forecasting and providing early warnings of floods at the continental and global scale, and consider questions such as: when are global forecasts most useful and to what extent can we take local decisions from global forecasts? To what extent should we forecast the impact of the hazard? How can we communicate complex and uncertain forecasts?

About the speaker

 Professor Dr Hannah L. Cloke OBE is a physical geographer, natural hazards researcher, climate scientist and hydrologist specialising in earth system modelling, flood forecasting, catchment hydrology, applications of Numerical Weather Predictions and science communication. She is Co-Director of Water@Reading at the University of Reading and leads a wide programme of research on the theoretical and practical development of early warning systems for natural hazards, particularly for floods, droughts, heatwaves and disaster risk management.  Hannah advises government, forecasting authorities and humanitarian agencies on national and international flooding incidents and forecasting science and provides expert commentary in the media. Hannah was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2019 for services to flood forecasting and the development of hazard early warning systems. She has also been awarded the NERC Early Career Impact Award in 2015, the 2018 Plinius Medal of the European Geosciences Union and the 2019 British Hydrological Society's President's Prize. Water@Reading were awarded a 2021 GEO SDG prize for their efforts in the use of state-of-the-art, global-scale flood forecasting models for humanitarian organizations to take early action ahead of flood events. Hannah is a Fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) where she is researching Earth System modelling, land surface processes and flood forecasting. She is also Guest Professor at Uppsala University and Associate Fellow of the Centre for Natural hazards and Disaster Science in Sweden.

Hannah Cloke

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
© Christina Schiegl

Groundwater mining and food security - Challenges and opportunities

by Dr. Claudia Ringler (December 14, 2021)


Much has been made of the growth in food demand between 2000 and 2050, but even between 2020 and 2050 there are still substantial increases in demand, of around 3 billion tons with most of the additional supply also being driven by the group of low-and middle-income countries. Challenges to grow production have been multiplying and have gone beyond the traditional biotic versus abiotic stress debate to include climate change with affects water resource availability for production, temperature stresses that affect crop productivity and agricultural labor, and the CO2 fertilization effect that affects nutrient content of crops. Groundwater plays a crucial role in supporting future food production growth, due to its broader accessibility compared to surface water resources, its storage and buffer role, and its typically higher quality. This seminar discusses the challenges associated with growing groundwater dependence and mining — that is the extraction of groundwater resources beyond recharge — and proposes measures that support growing both water and food security.

About the speaker

Claudia Ringler is Deputy Division Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). She currently co-leads the Institute’s water research program and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. Dr. Ringler received her PhD in Agricultural Economics from the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn, and her MA in International and Development Economics from Yale University. Her research interests are water resources management, agricultural and natural resource policy focused at sustainable agricultural productivity growth, impacts of global warming for developing country agriculture and appropriate adaptation and mitigation options. Dr. Ringler has field experience across Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Ringler has been part of a series of Project and Program Advisory and Steering Committees; and International Assessments, such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, the UNEP-led GEO-V Assessment. Find more information on www.ifpri.org/profile/claudia-ringler

There is no video recording available for this lecture.

Looking into vegetation with microwaves: Unique perspectives for agricultural and ecological monitoring 

by Professor Susan Steele-Dunne (November 2, 2021)


Earth observation data from satellite remote sensing provides the continuity and coverage required for large-scale, (near) real-time, and long-term agricultural and ecological monitoring. Unhindered by cloud cover or weather conditions, microwave remote sensing provides timely and reliable data necessary to support decision-making, land monitoring and management.

Here, however, it will be argued that the true value of microwave remote sensing lies in the unique perspective it provides of water dynamics in the soil-vegetation continuum. It will be shown that microwave interactions with vegetation vary with frequency, polarization, incidence angle, and the vegetation itself. The diversity of spaceborne sensors therefore provides complementary information on vegetation structure and water status, and soil moisture availability. Our recent studies will be used to illustrate the value of current satellite microwave data for monitoring vegetation growth and its response to environmental stressors in agricultural and natural landscapes, and to highlight the potential of future missions to provide unprecedented insight into vegetation water dynamics.

About the speaker

Susan Steele-Dunne is a Professor at the Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing at Delft University of Technology where she leads the M-WAVE (Microwaves for WAter in VEgetation) group. Her group uses microwave remote sensing to monitor the transport of water through vegetation from the land surface to the atmosphere in order to understand the role of vegetation in the water, energy and carbon cycles. M-WAVE performs research from field to global scales, combining in-situ and spaceborne sensors to improve our understanding of the influence of vegetation water dynamics on radar observables. Her research embraces the latest developments in modeling, data assimilation and machine learning to exploit existing spaceborne radar instruments for a wide range of applications in ecosystem and agricultural monitoring, and prepare for future missions. Susan leads MINERVA, a network of Dutch academic and industry partners focused on using microwave remote sensing of vegetation for agriculture and food security. Susan is a member of the Mission Advisory Group for ESA's ROSE-L mission.

Susan Steele-Dunne

Gabrielle De Lannoy

Integrating Earth observations and land surface modeling towards sustainable water management

by Professor Gabriëlle de Lannoy (October 12, 2021)


Water on land is a crucial part of our natural Earth system and of our human livelihoods. In this talk, we will review the opportunities and limitations of satellite data for the quantification of water amounts, and how these data can be integrated into land surface models via data assimilation to produce timely, consistent, and accurate estimates of the water budget at any time and location on Earth. More specifically, we will illustrate how improved estimates of soil moisture, groundwater, snow and vegetation allow to limit the harm of natural hazards, to predict energy availability and agricultural production, or to monitor climate variability.

The examples will mainly use state-of-the-art land surface models in combination with (i) intermittent coarse-scale passive microwave observations from the SMOS and SMAP missions to estimate frequent global root-zone soil moisture globally and groundwater depths over peatlands, and (ii) intermittent finer-scale active microwave observations from the Sentinel-1 mission to correct for soil moisture, discharge and irrigation across test regions in Europe, and to estimate snow depth and discharge in the Alps. The discussion will reflect on the importance of models to integrate all the available satellite information, and how (missing information about) human activities such as land use change are affecting model results or model-data integration.

About the speaker

Gabriëlle De Lannoy is full professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. Her research team is interested in land surface observations, modeling and data assimilation, with a special focus on soil moisture, groundwater, vegetation and snow. Prof. De Lannoy received her PhD from the Ghent University (Belgium), performed postdoctoral research on snow data assimilation in the Institute of Global Environment and Society in MD/VA, USA, and then was a senior scientist at the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (MD, USA) working on the SMAP Level 4 surface and root-zone soil moisture (data assimilation) product. She has almost 100 publications in highly ranked journals, won several prestigious awards, and serves as an associate editor and reviewer to multiple journals.

Challenges for measurement, reporting and verification of soil carbon change for atmospheric greenhouse gas removal

by Professor Peter Smith (October 06, 2021)


One proposed option for removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is by increasing the amount of carbon retained in the soil organic matter, an option known as soil organic carbon sequestration. Given that soils already contain a lot of carbon, and changes in soil organic carbon are slow, it is difficult to measure increases in soil carbon against the large background soil carbon stock. Because of this difficulty in measuring changes in soil organic carbon, a key barrier to implementing programmes to increase soil organic carbon is the need for credible and reliable measurement/monitoring, reporting and verification platforms. I outline methods for measuring soil organic carbon change directly in soils, we examine novel developments for quantifying soil organic carbon change, and describe how surveys, long-term experiments and chronosequences (sites of different ages with changes at various stages of carbon gain) can be used for testing models and as benchmark sites in global frameworks to estimate soil organic carbon change. We review measurement/monitoring, reporting and verification platforms for soil organic carbon change already in use and describe a new vision for a global framework for measurement/monitoring, reporting and verification platform of soil organic carbon change. The proposed platform builds on existing repeat soil surveys, long-term experiments, remote sensing, modelling and novel measurement methods and could be applied at national, regional or global scales.

About the speaker

Pete Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) and Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise (ClimateXChange).  His interests include climate change mitigation, soils, agriculture, food systems, ecosystem services and modelling. He has been an author on many reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and led its work of climate change mitigation in agriculture, forestry and land for its 4th and 5th Assessment Reports, and led its work interlinkages between land based mitigation options for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a Fellow of the European Science Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).

Peter Smith

Julia Steinberger

Living Well Within Limits: is it possible? And what will it take?

by Professor Julia Steinberger (August 26, 2021)


This seminar will report on several streams of research within the “Living Well Within Limits” project. The Living Well Within Limits project investigates the energy requirements of well-being, from quantitative, participatory and provisioning systems perspectives. In this presentation, I will communicate individual and cross-cutting findings from the project, and their implications for the sustainability research community. In particular, I will share our most recent results on the achieving social goals within planetary boundaries, as well as modelling the minimum energy demand that would provide decent living standards for everyone on earth by 2050. I will show that achieving low-carbon well-being, both from the beneficiary (“consumer”) and supply-chain (producer) sides, involves strong distributional and political elements. Simply researching this area from a technical, social or economic lens is insufficient to draw out the reasons for poor outcomes and most promising avenues for positive change. I thus argue for the active engagement of the research community.

About the speaker

Professor Julia Steinberger researches and teaches in the interdisciplinary areas of Ecological Economics and Industrial Ecology at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing). She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Leadership Award for her research project ‘Living Well Within Limits’ investigating how universal human well-being might be achieved within planetary boundaries. She is Lead Author for the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report with Working Group 3.

Managing land use as key challenge of the transformation to sustainability

by Professor Sabine Schlacke (June 29, 2021)


Only if there is a fundamental change in the way we manage land can we reach the targets of climate-change mitigation, avert the dramatic loss of bio-diversity and make the global food system sustainable. The WBGU proposes five multiple-benefit strategies illustrating ways of overcoming competition between rival claims to the use of land. These should be promoted by five governance strategies, especially by setting suitable framework conditions, reorienting EU policy and establishing alliances of like-minded states.

About the speaker

Sabine Schlacke is a full professor of Public Law with a focus on construction, planning and environmental law at Münster University. She is Executive Director of the Institute of Environmental and Planning Law and the Central Institute for Spatial Planning. Sabine Schlacke is a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change since 2008 and became its Co-chair in 2016. The German Advisory Council on Global Change provides the German Federal Government with policy recommendations. 2019 she started to consult the German Federal Government also as Co-chair of the steering committee of the “Climate Protection Science Platform”, a body to advise and monitor the implementation of climate change policies. Furthermore, she is editor of the Journal of Environmental Law and vice-chair of the German Association for Environmental Law. In addition to her research and teaching activities, she is also Vice-President of the State Constitutional Court of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Sabine Schlacke

Markus Reichstein

Climate Extremes and Systemic Risks for Sustainable Development Pathways - Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue? 

by Professor Markus Reichstein (May 20, 2021)


Climate change is provoking ever-more extreme events, from forest fires to heatwaves, droughts, and floods. The risk of such events changes as our climate warms, and these risks interact with each other across many environmental and social systems: a heatwave can spark forest fires, which lead to air pollution, impacting public health; drought affects crop harvests, leading to price volatility; the gap between the rich and poor can widen, increasing the risk of social unrest. Yet, the rising systemic risks posed by extreme climate events are hardly considered in most countries’ strategies for working towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The key challenge of risks emerging from climate extremes is that they emerge from the continuously changing boundary conditions of global warming, such as rising global temperatures or modified circulation and rainfall patterns. Thus, models that are commonly used to assess the risks posed by discrete hazards unrelated to climate are not necessarily valid in the future, neither for directly climate-driven extreme events nor for other hazards if they interact with additional stresses posed by changing climates (e.g. sea-level rise). This presentation will elucidate this challenge and ask the question, if and which modelling approaches can be helpful for a better understanding of systemic risks. While combining system modelling with artificial intelligence into hybrid modelling approaches offers a lot of potential, there are many challenges to be addressed by future research.

About the speaker

Markus Reichstein is Director of the Biogeochemical Integration Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry. His main research interests revolve around the response and feedback of ecosystems (vegetation and soils) to climatic variability with a Earth system perspective, considering coupled carbon, water and nutrient cycles. Of specific interest is the interplay of climate extremes with ecosystem and societal resilience. These topics are adressed via a model-data integration approach, combining data-driven machine learning with systems modelling of experimental, ground- and satellite-based observations. Since 2013 Markus Reichstein is Professor for Global Geoecology at the FSU Jena, and founding Director at the Michael-Stifel-Center Jena for Data-driven and Simulation Science. He has been serving as lead author of the IPCC special report on Climate Extremes (SREX), as member of the German Commitee Future Earth on Sustainability Research, and the Thuringian Panel on Climate. Recent awards include the Piers J. Sellers Mid-Career Award by the American Geophysical Union (2018), an ERC Synergy Grant (2019) and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Preis (2020).

Digital Data for Migration Research

by Dr. Ingmar Weber (March 18, 2021)


Reliable and up-to-date data on how many people have moved from an origin country to a particular destination country remains scarce. This not only holds during refugee crises, or in countries with limited statistical capacity, it also holds in Europe. As an example, in 2019 the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) downgraded the quality label assigned to their estimates of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) as they realized they had undercounted migrants from Eastern Europe. Due to such limitations, there is growing interest in using new and natively digital data sources for monitoring migration. A key appeal of tapping into “big data” obtained from social media, satellite imagery, or Google Trends is data recency. However, big data also enables the analysis of qualitatively different and new aspects. These include migration clusters, where people move between a set of countries, or dynamically studying the impact of changes in definitions, such as the residency period before somebody is classified as a migrant. Cross- national comparisons are also facilitated by the fact that companies such as Facebook apply a single, global method for classifying users. At the same time, the use of data collected by private companies creates challenges around opaque data generation processes, as well as questions around user privacy. In this talk, I will give an overview of how non-traditional digital data sources can be used to monitor and model international migration, complementing traditional data sources. 

About the Speaker

Ingmar Weber is the Research Director for Social Computing at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). His interdisciplinary research looks at what online user-generated data can tell us about the offline world and society at large. He works with sociologists, political scientists, demographers and medical professionals as well as with UN agencies and NGOs in the Data for Development space. Prior to joining QCRI, Dr Weber was a researcher at Yahoo Research Barcelona. As an undergraduate he studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge before pursuing a PhD at the Max-Planck Institute for Computer Science. He is an ACM, IEEE and AAAI Senior Member and serves as an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

Ingmar Weber

Sebastian Bauhoff

Performance-based Financing in Health Care: Recent Evidence and New Opportunities

by Professor Sebastian Bauhoff (February 17, 2021)


Performance-based financing (PBF) is an innovative approach to improve the low utilization and poor quality of health care services that has been adopted by many low and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on the idea that “you get what you pay for,” PBF provides explicit incentives for health care providers to increase the quantity and quality of services. While the evidence on PBF is mixed and the approach remains controversial, nearly two decades of experience with these programs allow for constructive reflection on PBF in health care and other policy areas.

This talk will take stock of recent findings on the impact and challenges of PBF for maternal and child health care services, with a view toward policy lessons and opportunities for applied research. PBF continues to struggle with conceptual and practical obstacles, including sustainability and bottlenecks in the broader health system. However, PBF can be impactful, has contributed to an important new focus on health systems performance and quality of care, and provides large amounts of valuable routine data. The talk will review insights from current research on these issues and highlight opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

About the speaker

Sebastian Bauhoff is an Assistant Professor of Global Health and Economics at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He received a PhD in Health Policy/Economics from Harvard University and previously held a position as Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. Sebastian’s research focuses on innovations in health care financing and service delivery that can increase access, efficiency and quality of care in low and middle-income countries. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research that applies rigorous empirical methods to secondary and administrative data. Sebastian enjoys tackling policy-relevant questions and collaborating with decision- makers at all levels.  

Nature's Secrets for Navigating Uncertain Times

by Professor Ruth DeFries (January 26, 2021)


In the last year, the covid pandemic and historic fires have exposed humanity's inabilities to effectively manage shocks. Innovations that make society more resilient to shock is a key aspect of sustainability. Nature has persisted through unpredictable disease, asteroids, and extinctions and survived for billions of years. These strategies and their lessons for human societies, highlighted in the recently published book "What Would Nature Do?", include: investments in diversity; rebundancy in civilization's transport and trade networks; bottom-up decisions rather than top-down impositions from authorities; and self-regulating feedbacks that stem cascading failures. These strategies run counter to the efficiency paradigm that dominates development decisions, but they could help prepare society for an uncertain world. The talk will provide two examples of these strategies based on the author's reseach: diversity of cereals in India for climate resilience and the benefits and perils for feeding humanity through the global trade network.

About the speaker

Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University in New York. Her research uses images from satellites and field surveys to examine how the world's demands for food and other ressources are changing land use throughout the tropics and the effects on climate, biodiversity and other ecosystem services, and human well-being. DeFries is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, receivad a MacArthur "genius" award, and is the recipient of many other honors for her scientific research. In addition to over 100 scientific papers, books for popular audiences include "The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis" and "What Would Nature Do?: A Guide for Our Uncertain Times"

Ruth DeFries

Matthew McCabe

Data-driven agriculture: A new pathway towards sustainability in our food (and water) systems? 

by Professor Matthew McCabe (December 1st, 2020)


By 2050, the global population is projected to reach almost 10 billion. To meet basic nutritional requirements, food production will need to increase between 50-90%. Agriculture already accounts for nearly 70% of total human freshwater withdrawals, while contributing to around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. As such, our farms of the future will need to not only increase output, but do so in a world where climate change and water scarcity will make sustainable production and yield stability even more challenging. A data-driven approach to agriculture has the potential to enhance and secure our food production systems. Remote sensing has an obvious role in advancing this objective, but it has been limited by spatial and temporal constraints, as well as the latency with which data (i.e. information) can be obtained. Emerging observation platforms, particularly those related to CubeSats and UAVs, together with other sensing technologies, are helping to realize this potential through the delivery of timely and actionable intelligence. Yet while we are awash with rich geospatial datasets, turning this “information” into useful and useable products remains an ongoing challenge. Machine learning, along with the rise of cloud computing and the data-cube, have enabled a dramatic shift in how information can be obtained, interrogated and disseminated. These new digital resources provide opportunities to advance not just agriculture, but also offer the tools and information needed to address a range of food and water challenges. In this talk, Prof. McCabe will present an overview of some recent efforts to develop informative products from emerging Earth observing platforms, along with the application of novel machine learning approaches that are enabling the production of scalable, field-level, agricultural informatics. In combination, these technologies are delivering an exciting new era of computational agriculture.

About the speaker

Matthew McCabe is a Professor of Remote Sensing and Water Security at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. He received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Newcastle in Australia, and held post-doctoral positions at Princeton University and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Matthew was an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia before moving to KAUST in 2012. McCabe’s research explores a range of multi-disciplinary issues around water and food security, climate change impacts, precision agriculture, and water resources monitoring and modeling. He has particular interest in the use of novel technologies for enhanced Earth observation and data-model integration for improved system understanding. Prof McCabe has published more than 170 research papers and been recognized as a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Matthew has been involved in a number of international research and coordination activities (G20, GCOS, GEWEX), and is the inaugural Specialty Chief Editor for Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Earth Observation: Novel Earth Observation - Help Shaping a Sustainable Future

by Professor Xiaoxiang Zhu (November 11, 2020)


Geoinformation derived from Earth observation satellite data is indispensable for tackling grand societal challenges. Among them energy, urbanization, climate change, ecology, food security and environment are crucial for shaping a sustainable future. Furthermore, Earth observation has irreversibly arrived in the Big Data era, e.g. with ESA’s Sentinel satellites and with the blooming of NewSpace companies. This requires not only new technological approaches to manage and process large amounts of data, but also new analysis methods. Here, methods of data science and artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning, become indispensable.

In this talk, explorative signal processing and machine learning algorithms, such as compressive sensing and deep learning, will be shown to significantly improve information retrieval from remote sensing data, and consequently lead to breakthroughs in geoscientific and environmental research. In particular, by the fusion of petabytes of EO data from satellite to social media, fermented with tailored and sophisticated data science algorithms, it is now possible to tackle unprecedented, large- scale, influential challenges, such as the mapping of global urbanization — one of the most important megatrends of global changes.

About the Speaker

Xiaoxiang Zhu is the Professor for Signal Processing in Earth Observation at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and heads the department “Earth Observation Data Science” at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). She also serves as the Director of the international AI future Lab “AI4EO”, the co-spokeswoman of the Munich Data Science Research School, the head of the Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence – Research Field "Aeronautics, Space and Transport", as well as in the board of directors of the Munich Data Science Institute of TUM.

The research of Xiaoxiang focuses on artificial intelligence and data science in Earth observation. She develops innovative machine learning methods and big data analytics solutions to extract highly accurate large scale geo-information from big Earth observation data. Her team aims at tackling societal grand challenges, e.g. Global Urbanization, UN’s SDGs and Climate Change, thus, works on solutions that can scale up for global applications. For her research work, Xiaoxiang has received several scientific awards, e.g., Leopoldina Early Career Award (2018) and two ERC grants (2016, 2020).

Xiaoxiang Zhu

Martin Herold

Sensing for Sustainability: Novel Earth Observation Approaches Supporting the Land Use Sector

by Professor Martin Herold (October 12, 2020)


Earth Observation continuously measures and monitors the types, magnitude and rates of land surface dynamics. Recent advancement in big data analytics applied to large satellite time series archives, new terrestrial and drone-based sensing technologies, and the use of computer vision and artificial intelligence opens new avenues to enhance a world-wide “sensor system for sustainability”. This allows for better tracking of anthropogenic activities, environmental changes, impacts and reactions by society to add more self-awareness to Earths self-regulation that is increasingly influenced by human actions. The presentation will give an overview of recent Earth Observation trends for a monitoring framework that supports policy development and implementation by providing improved data and transparency in setting priorities and tracking collective progress towards sustainability and climate-change mitigation goals in the land use sector with both local detail and global consistency.

About the Speaker

Prof. Dr. Martin Herold is the chair for geoinformation science and remote sensing at Wageningen University. He holds a PhD from the University of California-Santa Barbara (2004) and completed a habilitation (2009) on a topic on operational global land cover observation and assessments (FSU Jena). Martin is an expert in the development and implementation of land change monitoring systems using novel technologies and approaches, and in application contexts of the UNFCCC and the Sustainable Development Goals. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, enjoys supervising PhD students and supporting capacity development initiatives for moving innovative satellite and ground-based approaches into sustainable and climate-smart land use practice.

 "Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture: Empirical Evidence from Developing Countries

by Professor Matin Qaim (September 23, 2020)


Hunger and other forms of malnutrition remain widespread problems globally, with huge negative health implications. Agriculture and people’s diets and nutrition are closely linked. Hence the question how agricultural production needs to change in order to contribute more effectively to improved diets and nutrition is of key policy relevance. This lecture will provide an overview of relevant agriculture-nutrition links. A short historical review reveals how important agricultural developments – especially productivity growth in cereal grains – were for hunger reduction over the last several decades. However, food security is not only about grains and calories but also about micronutrients and broader dietary quality and diversity. Related technological, institutional, and policy challenges to shape future agricultural developments will be discussed.

After a brief global overview, micro-level evidence from various developing countries will be presented. As smallholder farmers in developing countries make up a large proportion of the world’s undernourished people, the question how smallholder farming can be made more nutrition-sensitive is particularly relevant. One common hypothesis is that further diversifying small-farm production by introducing additional crop or livestock species is an effective strategy to improve diets and nutrition. This hypothesis is tested with empirical data. Beyond the role of farm diversification, effects of other strategies to improve diets and nutrition will be analyzed, including commercialization of the small farm sector, cash cropping, adoption of new technologies, and participation in emerging value chains. The
underlying mechanisms of nutritional impacts – such as changes in household income and intra-household gender roles – will also be explored.

About the Speaker

Matin Qaim is Professor of International Food Economics at the University of Göttingen. Before, he had research and teaching positions at the Universities of Hohenheim, Bonn, Kiel, and California at Berkeley. He holds a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the University of Bonn. His main research areas include food security, sustainable food systems, and smallholder agriculture. He has research experience in Europe, the USA, and numerous countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Qaim has over 200 academic publications, mostly in top disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals. He is member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and was recently recognized as Fellow of the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). He has served on different high-level expert committees, including for the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Africa Harvest, and the German Federal Ministry of Nutrition and Agriculture. 

Matin Qaim

Noelle E. Selin

Understanding Sustainability through Mercury Stories: Lessons for Decision-Making from a Volantile Element 

by Professor Noelle E. Selin (September 3, 2020)


Informing and evaluating sustainability transitions requires better knowledge about how people interact with their environments as well as with technologies and institutions. Human interactions with mercury pollution provide a millennial-scale history of empirical material through which to examine complex systems relevant to sustainability. Mercury is a global-scale environmental pollutant, and the subject of a new global environmental treaty, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which entered into force in 2017. This element travels through the atmosphere regionally and globally to pose risks both nearby and far away from its emission sources, which include coal burning and artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Noelle E. Selin will present new interdisciplinary approaches to trace pathways by which different policies influence mercury emissions, atmospheric transport, and human exposure and health impacts. The presentation will also discuss ways in which Selin has incorporated interactions with stakeholders and policy-makers in her work, including ongoing efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention, and address how research can both be more robust and impactful through such engagement. The presentation draws upon a forthcoming book about human interactions with mercury and their lessons for sustainability (MIT Press, October 2020).

About the Speaker

Noelle Eckley Selin is Associate Professor in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Director of MIT's Technology and Policy Program. Her research uses modeling and analysis to inform sustainability decision-making, focusing on issues involving air pollution, climate change and hazardous substances such as mercury. She received her PhD and M.A. (Earth and Planetary Sciences) and B.A. (Environmental Science and Public Policy) from Harvard University. Her work has focused on atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, as well as interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations. Her articles were selected as the best environmental policy papers in 2015 and 2016 by the journal Environmental Science & Technology. She is the recipient of a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER award (2011), a Leopold Leadership fellow (2013-2014), Kavli fellow (2015), a member of the Global Young Academy (2014-2018), an American Association for the Advancement of Science Leshner Leadership Institute Fellow (2016-2017), and a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the Technical University of Munich Institute for Advanced Study (2018-2021).

Sustainable Food Systems in the Era of the Anthropocene and Pandemics: Can we have it all?

by Professor Jessica Fanzo (August 17, 2020)


In the last five years, we have seen many exhortations for food systems to provide not only nutritious foods, but to ensure those systems are sustainable from economic, environmental and social justice perspectives. With climate disruption, worsening food insecurity and malnutrition, systemic inequities, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic, the question remains: Can the world expect so much from food systems?

Future modeling and some scenarios show that we should call on food systems to do much more – that is, promote optimal human health, ensure future sustainable planetary health, and provide equitable and fair livelihoods of food system actors. However, this will depend on political will, science, technology, and behaviors and decisions of the unpredictable variable in the equation - humans.

This seminar will present some of the latest data on how food systems are coping in the context of the Anthropocene and the COVID-19 pandemic, and demonstrate how research and science, technological innovation and government action are imperative to ensure food systems are resilient.

At a time when facts and evidence are under ever greater scrutiny, and even openly disregarded as suspect by some political and business leaders, the rigors of science and evidence must be maintained. Research has a vital role in charting a positive and sustainable direction for global food security, nutrition, and health. Research can and does bring about wholesale changes in attitudes, political thought, and action. There has never been a time in history as there is now when progress can be made towards a better world in the context of communication, technologies, innovation, big data and global cooperation. Yet no technical recommendations to fix food systems will stand on two legs with the current fractured and sclerotic global political enabling environment. In order for food systems to function effectively, equitably and sufficiently during the pandemic and long after, the political environment must be one that embraces global cooperation and inclusion and minimizes
political polarization and geopolitical competition. Behavior change incentives and nudges of various food system actors and consumers must complement the research and politics.

Inevitably, there will be trade-offs. The question is, how to deal with those trade-offs while doing the least amount of damage. The seminar will conclude with potential food system pathways to resiliency, equity and sustainability for better diets, better human and planetary health, and a better world.

About the Speaker

Jessica Fanzo, PhD is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University in the USA. She also serves as the Director of Hopkins’ Global Food Policy and Ethics Program, and as Director of Food & Nutrition Security at the JHU Alliance for a Healthier World. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Global Food Security Journal and leads on the development, in collaboration with GAIN, of the Food Systems Dashboard.

From 2017 to 2019, Jessica served as the Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition, and the EAT Lancet Commission. Before coming to Hopkins, she has also held positions at Columbia University, the Earth Institute, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Programme, Bioversity International, and the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya. Jessica has a PhD in nutrition from the University of Arizona.

Jessica Fanzo

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
© Christina Schiegl

 Advancing Crop Yields through enhanced photosynthesis

by Professor Andreas Weber (February 27, 2020)

University of Düsseldorf, Speaker of the CEPLAS Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science

There is no video recording available for this lecture.

Green Growth Innovations to Achieve Sustainable Development Under Climate Change

by Dr. Frank Rijsberman (November 14, 2019)

Global Green Growth Institute

There is no video recording available for this lecture.

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
© Christina Schiegl

Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
© Christina Schiegl

Innovation for sustainable development as a topic for research and society

by Professor René Kemp

Maastricht University / UNU-MERIT

There is no video recording available for this lecture.

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