Press releases of the University of Bonn with reference to TRA Sustainable Future


Press releases from 2024
Maize genes control little helpers in the soil

Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to promote the health and function of plant roots. It is commonly assumed that the composition of these microbes is dependent on the properties of the soil. However, an international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn has now discovered when studying different local varieties of maize that the genetic makeup of the plants also helps to influence which microorganisms cluster around the roots. The results, which have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, could help to breed future varieties of maize that are better suited to drought and limited nutrients.

Main regulator for the body`s oven discovered

Brown fat cells convert energy into heat – a key to eliminating unwanted fat deposits. In addition, they also protect against cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have now identified the protein EPAC1 as a new pharmacological target to increase brown fat mass and activity. The long-term aim is to find medicines that support weight loss. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology".


Press releases 2023
Variety Is Key

Where and how can diversified farming practices be put to profitable use in order to boost both productivity and biodiversity? Researchers at the University of Bonn have tackled this question in a study that has now been published in “Communications Earth & Environment.”

New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

Planetary health as a holistic concept

The University of Bonn has once again recruited an exceptional talent: Ina Danquah has been appointed as the new Hertz-Chair “Innovation for Planetary Health” at the “University of Excellence Bonn”. The Hertz-Chair combines various disciplines in a unique manner. Danquah is a nutritional scientist and expert in public health and epidemiology. Her Hertz-Chair contributes to the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Sustainable Futures”. In addition, Danquah is one of the three directors of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. 

Reliable Security Online for Protection against Fraud

Is there a feasible way to enjoy more effective online fraud protection that is more consumer-friendly at the same time? This question is being worked on by University of Bonn researchers in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure (FIZ) in Karlsruhe and the University of Duisburg-Essen, who are jointly developing an online platform that affords better protection against identity data misuse for both consumers and merchants. The project is to receive a total of 1.5 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a three-year period.

A Network for Women Active in AI and Robotics

Human-robot interaction and sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) will be the topics of discussion on Thursday, November 9th at an event organized jointly by the University of Bonn Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE) and the Women in AI and Robotics network. The event date marks the start of partnership between the two organizations, and is aimed at recruiting new members interested in joining Women in AI & Robotics. Held in English, the event will be held in the foyer of the IWE with address Bonner Talweg 57, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. All interested parties are invited to attend.

More animal welfare or more environmental protection?

Which sustainability goals do people in Germany find more important: Animal welfare? Or environmental protection? Human health is another one of these competing sustainability goals. A team of researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Food Market Research at the University of Bonn have now found that consumers surveyed in their study would rather pay more for salami with an “antibiotic-free” label than for salami with an “open barn” label that indicates that the product promotes animal welfare. The results have now been published in the journal “Q Open.”

Study calls for improvements in climate protection

Projects that reduce deforestation often sell carbon credits - for instance, to consumers purchasing airline tickets. However, over 90 percent of these project credits do not actually offset greenhouse gas emissions. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands), the University of Bonn, the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the European Forest Institute in Barcelona (Spain). It was carried out on an exemplary basis for 26 projects in six countries. The results have now been published in the renowned journal Science.

A Compass for Successful Climate Adaptation

Work to adapt to climate change is becoming increasingly important across the globe. Ensuring that these efforts are effective and have no unintended negative consequences is a vital part of this process. Researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands have joined forces with colleagues from France, Kenya, India, South Africa, the US and the University of Bonn to propose a framework that they call “Navigating the Adaptation-Maladaptation Continuum” (NAM). This tool will aid decision-making on climate adaptation measures and help promote a more equitable and more sustainable future. Their findings have now been published in the journal “Nature Climate Change.” 

Measuring the Extent of Global Droughts in Unprecedented Detail

While some parts of the world suffer extreme heat and persistent drought, others are being flooded. Overall, continental water volumes vary so much over time that global sea levels fluctuate significantly too. By combining the hydrological model WaterGAP with GRACE satellite data, a team of geodesists at the University of Bonn have come up with a new set of data that shows how the total distribution of water over the Earth’s land surfaces has changed over the past 20 years more accurately than ever before. Their findings are now being published in the “Journal of Geodesy.”

Study: When Introducing Bioeconomy Get People on Board

Innovative production methods are needed in order to tackle global challenges such as climate change, population growth and ecosystem loss. This has put strategies for a sustainable bioeconomy that place greater emphasis on using renewable raw materials firmly on the political agenda, both in Europe and around the world. When pursuing strategies of this kind, however, it is important to get the people who will be affected on board first. This is the finding from a study that three researchers from the Institute for Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn have recently published in the journal “Technology in Science.”

Yongguo Li Secures ERC Starting Grant

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are awarded to outstanding researchers and are worth millions of euros in funding. Assistant Professor Yongguo Li from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn has now obtained a much-sought-after ERC Starting Grant. The researcher is investigating how the lipid metabolism can be influenced so as to “burn” as many calories as possible, thus opening up potential new ways to treat obesity and diabetes.

Experts for sustainable AI discussed in Bonn

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. Last week, she brought together international experts in the research field.

Investigating Collective Action

How can people work together to forge new, environmentally sustainable paths in a complex system? This is the question being tackled by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Wolfram Barfuss, the new Argelander professor in the Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA Sustainable Futures) at the University of Bonn. He is developing mathematical models for collective learning and linking different research areas, including complex systems, artificial intelligence and social ecology, in order to identify key levers for easing the transition to sustainability. Barfuss and his team are based at the Center for Development Research (ZEF).

International Conference on Sustainable AI

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. She will now bring international experts in the field together between May 30 and June 1. At the Universitätsclub Bonn, the researchers will discuss cross-cultural perspectives of sustainable AI on a global level.

Paper-based packaging has a good eco-image

German consumers consider paper-based packaging to be particularly environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, they tend to be skeptical about innovative products such as paper-based bottles. This is shown by a recent study by the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich. Almost 3,000 women and men from all over Germany were surveyed for the study. The results have now been published in the journal “Food Quality and Preference.”

8.1 million euros for innovative research greenhouse

Research for more sustainable crop production: A new type of research greenhouse is now being built at the University of Bonn's Klein-Altendorf campus. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing 8.1 million euros in funding for the project, called START. Partners from various institutions will be working together here on an interdisciplinary basis over the next four years. Construction of the deep water culture greenhouse at the Klein-Altendorf campus is scheduled to begin this year so that demonstration operations can begin in 2024.

New research group on the deformation of structures and infrastructure

Roads, bridges and dams age. How long can such structures still bear the weight? The new research group “Deformation Analysis with Terrestrial Laser Scanner Measurements (TLS-Defo)” at the University of Bonn wants to make a step forward in answering these questions. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the group with around 2.4 million euros over the next four years.

First PhenoRob Career Fair

Students and graduates of the University of Bonn are welcome to participate in the first PhenoRob Career Fair to expand their professional network.

Meat import ban in Africa hurts local population

The EU regularly exports large quantities of poultry meat to West African countries. These exports have been criticized for harming importing countries in West Africa and exacerbating poverty there. The reason: Cheap imports depress the local price of chicken, making life difficult for local smallholders. Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Göttingen have now used the example of Ghana to calculate the effects that would result if the country were to significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat or even stop imports completely. The result: Prices would indeed rise domestically, but most local households would not benefit. The study has been published in the journal Food Security.

Press releases 2022
Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition to Louise O. Fresco

For outstanding achievements in the fight against hunger and rural poverty, the Foundation fiat panis has awarded the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition for the seventh time. This year it goes to the Dutch agricultural and nutrition expert Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco. The award ceremony took place at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. Fresco gave a lecture on "Where Are We in Understanding World Hunger" as part of the Distinguished Lectures Series of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Sustainable Futures" at the University of Bonn.

Close alliance in Earth System Science

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich are placing their joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC) on a new contractual footing. As a joint scientific facility of the three partner institutions, an internationally visible focal point has been created to globally observe and comprehensively understand the Earth system and to predict changes. The center is additionally strengthened by a memorandum of understanding now signed with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which has moved to Bonn in 2021.

Aphids and their favorite colors

Aphids are one of the least welcome garden visitors. These small insects can cause all the more damage in agriculture. But how do they actually choose their host plants? What are the basic mechanisms behind this? Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Kassel now present two novel models that can be used to analyze aphid color vision and thus how the animals respond to plants. This opens up new possibilities for future research on this topic - but may also be relevant for agricultural applications. The study has been published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Aimee van Wynsberghe admitted to academy

The Academy of Sciences and Literature has admitted six new members. Among them is Humboldt Professor Aimee van Wynsberghe. The AI ethicist from the University of Bonn has become a full member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Class.

How a harmful fungus renders its host plant defenseless

The fungus Ustilago maydis attacks corn and can cause significant damage to its host. To do this, it first ensures that the plant offers little resistance to the infection. The surgical precision it applies is shown by a new study from the University of Bonn, which has now been published in the journal New Phytologist. The Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben were also involved in the work.

Soil scientist receives Klaus Töpfer Research Prize

Not only in the sea, but also in our soils there is "invisible" plastic - nanoplastics to be precise. This is a problem because it can be absorbed by plants and thus enter the food chain. But how much of such plastic is actually hiding in the soil? To find out, Dr. Melanie Braun from the University of Bonn wants to develop a new method. For her innovative project, the junior scientist has now received the Klaus Töpfer Research Prize worth 50,000 euros, which is awarded internally by the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures" (TRA Sustainable Futures) at the University of Bonn. The prize was named after Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister for the Environment and pioneer of climate policy, who was a guest at the award ceremony.

Protein folding in times of oxygen deficiency

Protein molecules require a defined shape in order to function. When they are created, their building blocks are therefore linked together in a very specific way. Researchers at the University of Bonn are now taking a closer look at a key step in this process and are investigating the effects of transient oxygen starvation on protein folding in plants. Researchers from the University of Münster, the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the University of Bielefeld were also involved in the study. The study has now been published in the journal Plant Cell.

Molecule boosts fat burning

A study led by the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn has identified a molecule - the purine inosine - that boosts fat burning in brown adipocytes. The mechanism was discovered in mice, but probably exists in humans as well: If a transporter for inosine is less active, the mice remain significantly leaner despite a high-fat diet. The study, which also involved researchers from the University of Leipzig and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, has now been published in the journal Nature.

Research for sustainable food systems

How does international trade in agricultural and forest products affect biodiversity? A research project led by the University of Bonn will investigate this question, particularly for animal feed, energy crops, tropical timber and aquacultures. In collaboration with stakeholders from politics, the private sector and civil society, the researchers will develop innovative solutions for more sustainable production and consumption. The European Union is funding the project with around 2.6 million euros over the next three years, of which around 850,000 euros will go to the University of Bonn. Funding has been granted for other projects.

Two new research units on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

Where do the ingredients for your chocolate, smartphone and clothes come from?

A bar of chocolate in the U.S. might have been made in Belgium, with cocoa from the Ivory Coast, almonds from Morocco, vanilla from Madagascar and sugar from Brazil. Were forests cut down for it? Were forced or child laborers involved in the harvest? Were toxins used or rivers polluted? We see similar stories for other products we use daily, such as smartphones, clothes, and cosmetics. These questions cannot be answered easily. That's why companies and corporations should conduct due diligence in their supply chains and pay more attention in the future to the impact of their products on the environment and human rights. Dr. Jorge Sellare, group leader and senior scientist at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and member of the Transdisciplinary Research Unit "Sustainable Futures" at the University of Bonn, has written a commentary on this topic together with other authors in the journal "Nature". The Department of Communications of the University asked him about it.

What benefits nutrition in Africa the most

Malnutrition in developing countries is best addressed not by increasing the variety of crops grown on smallholder farms, but by improving access to markets. This is the conclusion of a recent study by the MwAPATA Institute in Malawi and the University of Bonn in Germany. More variety in animal production, however, does show positive effects. The findings are now published in the journal “Lancet Planetary Health”.

Meat substitutes: Environment does not motivate consumption

People who have a critical attitude toward factory farming or who pay attention to their health in everyday life are more likely to turn to meat substitutes. Concern for the environment, on the other hand, plays no role in this decision. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the University of Bonn in which more than 400 people between the ages of 17 and 86 took part. The results appear in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

Meat consumption must fall by at least 75 percent

If our planet Earth is to continue feeding us in the future, rich countries must significantly reduce their meat consumption - ideally by at least 75 percent. This is the conclusion of a new study by the University of Bonn. The study reviews the current state of research on various aspects of meat consumption. In addition to the effects on the environment and climate, these include health and economic effects. A conclusion of the researchers: Eating meat in small amounts can be quite sustainable. The results are published in the journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Three ERC Grants for the University of Bonn at once

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted because they are hard to come by and provide funding in the millions of euros. At the University of Bonn, three scientists will receive such funding for the next five years.

Bundled expertise at DIGICROP

How can digital technologies be used for more sustainable crop production? Researchers from a wide range of disciplines are working on these questions at the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob at the University of Bonn. At the Cluster's flagship conference, DIGICROP from March 28–30, experts pool their knowledge, bringing together distinguished speakers from around the world. The Cluster of Excellence is receiving support from the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (USA). Registrations for the digital, English-language conference are open until March 24.

Supporting Africa’s contribution to the World Biodiversity Council IPBES

The Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn will receive around eight million Euros in funding over the next eight years from the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. The new CABES (Capacities on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) project aims to strengthen the interfaces between science, policy and practice in Africa and support networking with the international activities of the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES). Another goal of the project is to train early career scientists as intermediaries. To this end, new Master degree programs are being established in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Genetic engineering can have a positive effect on the climate

The use of genetically modified (GM) crops in agriculture remains contentious, especially in Europe. According to surveys, many people fear that these could have negative effects for human health and the environment. However, a new study shows that genetically modified crops could actually be good for the environment, and for the climate in particular. Results suggest that the adoption of GM crops in the European Union (EU) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably. The study by scientists from the Breakthrough Institute in the USA and the University of Bonn in Germany was recently published in “Trends in Plant Science”.

Help for stressed-out cells in a crisis

According to a team of plant researchers, mitochondria provide unexpected help for cells in a crisis by respiring away harmful substances. The current study produced by the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Plants (IBBP) at the University of Münster and the Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn has been published in the journal Plant Cell.

Press releases from 2021
Reduced meat diet has many advantages

Which diet is better: moderately reduce meat consumption and eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain products, as recommended by the German Nutrition Society? Follow our southern neighbors' example and eat more fish and seafood? Or even switch completely to a vegan diet? A new study by the University of Bonn shows that the answer to these questions is not as clear-cut as one might think - depending on which impacts one closely looks. The results are published in the journal Science of The Total Environment.

Next round for two Collaborative Research Centres

Great success for two research collaborations at the University of Bonn: The Collaborative Research Centre Transregio (CRC-TRR) 224 "Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges" and the CRC-TRR 228 "Future in Rural Africa" have convinced with their research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is therefore funding both collaborations for a further funding period with several million euros each. In the CRC-TRR 224 project, scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim are jointly opening up economic perspectives on social challenges. The CRC-TRR 228 project brings together researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and the German Development Institute (DIE) to work on shaping the future of rural Africa.

New Collaborative Research Centres for the University of Bonn

New boost for excellent research at the University of Bonn: The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing two new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC). In the CRC 1502 "Regional Climate Change: The Role of Land Use and Water Management", researchers are investigating the hypothesis that human-induced land use change and intensified water management influence the regional climate. The speaker of the consortium is Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche. In the Transregio-CRC 333 "Brown and Beige Fat Organ Crosstalk, Signaling and Energetics ( BATenergy)", the research teams are looking at different types of adipose tissue and their role in metabolic diseases. The network is a collaboration of the Universities of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The speaker is Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer.

Africa's "Green Wall" also makes economic sense

Fifteen years ago, the African Union decided on an ambitious program: degraded ecosystems in parts of the Sahel are to be successively restored in order to secure food for the people living there and to protect the soil against further degradation. At the same time, the African Great Green Wall is an important contribution to combating climate change. A study by the University of Bonn and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) now shows that it also makes economic sense - although not everywhere in the Sahel. The analysis also shows how much violent conflicts threaten the success of the program. It has now been published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Between nature and technology

Combining artificially created building blocks with natural ones - that is the goal of two new assistant professors at the University of Bonn. Biophysicist Dr. Alena Khmelinskaia and biophysical chemist Dr. Patrycja Kielb work at the interfaces of different disciplines and hold so-called Argelander professorships, two new posts created at the university with funds from the Excellence program. Such junior professorships are cornerstones within the concept of the six Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs), in which researchers work jointly on future-relevant issues across the boundaries of disciplines and faculties. Alena Khmelinskaia and Patrycja Kielb are now building a bridge between chemistry, physics, and life sciences in the TRA "Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions". Their work is relevant for the development of sustainable technologies in modern societies, for example, in medicine or energy research.

University of Bonn recruits top-class researchers

Renowned reinforcement for the University of Bonn: With the first "High profile" professorships financed by excellence funds, three top-class scientific personalities join the University of Excellence to open up new fields of research and to provide important impulses in various disciplines. Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen takes up a so-called Hertz Professorship today (October 1), while agricultural economist Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim and Catholic theologian Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch fill so-called Schlegel Professorships. The three professors were officially appointed at a reception in the Rector's Office.

How plants sense phosphate

A new study by the University of Bonn and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben sheds light on the mechanism used by plants to monitor how much of the nutrient phosphate is available, and to decide when strategies to mobilize and take up more phosphate from the soil must be activated. The enzyme ITPK1 plays a key role in this process. The researchers were also able to show that a particular group of signaling molecules involved in phosphate sensing respond very sensitively to phosphate and that this regulation takes place not only in plants but also in human cells. In the long term, the results could lead to the breeding of new crop varieties that require less phosphate fertilizer. The final version of the study has now been published in the journal "Molecular Plant".

Social mindfulness and prosociality vary across the globe

Humans are social beings, but not everyone is equally mindful of others. To what extent does the degree of social mindfulness differ in different countries? An international team of researchers led by Leiden University has now investigated this - and found considerable differences. Among other things, the authors, with the participation of the University of Bonn, found that greater social mindfulness was also associated with better overall environmental protection goals in countries. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

BMBF funds “Robots in Everyday Life” transfer center

Smart robots, such as vacuuming or mopping robots, are becoming more prevalent in everyday life and will also increasingly take care of tasks in the public sphere in the future. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now approved EUR 2.25 million of funding for the Robots in Everyday Life (RimA) transfer center project. Computer Scientists at the University of Bonn will be working on the Benchmarking of Assistance Robots subproject until 2025.

Joachim von Braun remains president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun, director at the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn, was appointed president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2017 for a four-year term. Now Pope Francis has appointed him for another four years.

Life could exist in the clouds of Jupiter but not Venus

Jupiter’s clouds have water conditions that would allow Earth-like life to exist, but this isn’t possible in Venus’ clouds, according to the groundbreaking finding of new research led by a Queen’s University Belfast scientist with participation of the University of Bonn. The study has been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

DAAD funds two new global centers at the University of Bonn

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funding a total of eight interdisciplinary "Global Centers" to address global challenges in a new program. The University of Bonn is involved in two of the projects: One project focusses on the future of African savannahs and the other on early detection and management of infection risks in West Africa. The funds are granted by the German Federal Foreign Office and amount to around 2.8 million euros per center until 2025.

Project funding: Protection of vines from introduced diseases

Increasingly globalized trade, rising international tourism and climate change are increasing the likelihood that previously unknown harmful organisms will be introduced and carried into Germany and that heat-loving harmful organisms will be able to spread more easily. These include the disease Flavescence dorée, which is caused by bacteria (phytoplasmas) and affects grapevines, among others. A project involving researchers from the PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn has now received funding of around two million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The aim of the "PhytoMo" project is the early detection of dangerous phytoplasmoses. The Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner presented the researchers with the funding notification this week via video conference.

How plants respond to environmental stress

What effects does environmentally induced "stress" have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US - and soon also as a guest professor at the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 Euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15 to August 15, 2022.

New UNESCO Chair at the University of Bonn

Together with the University of Bonn, UNESCO has established the UNESCO Chair in Human-Water Systems. It will be held by the geographer Prof. Dr. Mariele Evers. This means that Germany is now home to 14 UNESCO Chairs that contribute to the implementation of the Global Sustainability Agenda.

Bioplastics in the sustainability dilemma

Bioplastics in the sustainability dilemma

Press releases from 2020
Robotics and agriculture in the focus of young researchers

Another milestone for the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn and the agricultural research community: Together with two of the leading universities of the world, ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Lincoln University in the UK, PhenoRob will host the International Summer School “Agricultural Robotics” at the University of Bonn from August 23-27, 2021. The DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) provides 25,000 euros in funding for the Summer School.

Research Unit on robotics goes into the next round

The German Research Foundation extends the Research Unit 2535 "Anticipating Human Behavior" for three more years. Since 2017, scientists in the group have been investigating how artificial intelligence recognizes and anticipates human behavior. On the one hand, the researchers develop techniques to analyze complex interactions between humans and robots, and on the other hand, technologies for service robots. Due to demographic change, the importance of such robots is steadily increasing.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) comes to Bonn

The Council of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has decided today that Bonn will be a new location for the European authority from 2021. This is a forward-looking decision for the University of Bonn and its partners in the region.

Saving the climate from the ground up

Soil has the capacity to bind large quantities of carbon in the long term. An international team of researchers, including from the University of Bonn, is now advocating effective use of this potential. Experts estimate that this could reduce the increase of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a third. At the same time, agricultural yields in many regions would also increase significantly. In a recent publication they present a strategy to achieve these goals. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production

The International Conference on Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production (DigiCrop2020), which is running from November 1-10, 2020 fully online and free of charge, is the new flagship conference of the German Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. The topic of the innovative conference could not have been any more pressing: Climate change is impacting crop production and at the same time we need to substantially increase the production of biomass within the next decades. How to do this in a sustainable manner is a challenge that not only the over 100 members of “PhenoRob” are working on but also the 50 presenters and six keynote speakers at DigiCrop.

The Universities of Bonn and Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich found joint center for geoscience

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have founded a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates a high-profile international focal point in the Rhineland for global Earth system observation with the aim of making strides toward a comprehensive understanding of our planet and better predicting changes.

Flood risks: More accurate data due to Covid-19

Emerging use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) makes it possible to continuously measure shallow changes in elevation of Earth surface. A study by the University of Bonn now shows that the quality of these measurements may have improved significantly during the pandemic, at least at some stations. The results show which factors should be considered in the future when installing GPS antennas. More precise geodetic data are important for assessing flood risks and for improving earthquake early warning systems. The journal "Geophysical Research Letters" now reports on this.

How can potato plants adapt to heat and drought?

Plant biologist Prof. Dr. Ute Vothknecht from the University of Bonn is a partner in the new EU "ADAPT" project to investigate the adaptation mechanisms of potato plants to heat and drought.

Mysterious climate change

New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past. An international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn has shown that the seasonal growth and destruction of sea ice in a warming world increases the biological productivity of the seas around Antarctica by extracting carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the deep ocean. This process helps to explain a long-standing question about an apparent 1,900-year pause in CO2 growth during a period known as the Antarctic cold reversal. The research results have now been published in "Nature Geoscience".

Global trade in soy has major implications for the climate

The extent to which Brazilian soy production and trade contribute to climate change depends largely on the location where soybeans are grown. This is shown by a recent study conducted by the University of Bonn together with partners from Spain, Belgium and Sweden. In some municipalities, CO2 emissions resulting from the export of soybean and derivatives are more than 200 times higher than in others. Between 2010 and 2015, the EU imported soy primarily from locations where large forest and savannah areas had previously been converted into agricultural land. The analysis is published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

Prof. Joachim von Braun helps to prepare the 2021 UN Food System Summit

UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed has invited Professor Joachim von Braun, Director of Center for Development Research of University of Bonn (ZEF) to chair the Scientific Group for the Food System Summit of the UN Secretary General, which shall be held in 2021.

Environmental policy often has undesirable side effects

"Good intentions" do not generally produce "good results". This wisdom also applies to establishing coherent environmental policies. Without proper oversight and planning, environmental policies can lead to unintended and harmful side effects. A current special issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters is devoted to this urgent problem. The guest editors are researchers from the University of Bonn and international partners.

Anna-Katharina Hornidge appointed Professor of Global Sustainable Development

Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge has accepted the Professorship of Global Sustainable Development at the University of Bonn and has been appointed Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). She will take up these positions on 1 March 2020.

Climate change affects soil health

Climate change is affecting the health of agricultural soils. Increased heat and drought make life easy for the pathogenic fungus Pythium ultimum. As an international team of researchers led by the Universities of Kassel and Bonn has shown, the fungus causes almost total crop failure in peas after a hot and dry stress event. Short-term soil recovery seems to be possible only in exceptional cases. The study has now been published in the journal "Applied Soil Ecology".

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