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

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.

Researchers study endangered cultural heritage

In Africa and in the Amazon rainforest, people have adapted to their environment over centuries and adjust their livelihoods accordingly. This coexistence with nature has created valuable cultural landscapes that are also listed by UNESCO. In two scientific projects, researchers from the University of Bonn are now working with local institutions to investigate how these landscapes can be better protected. The Volkswagen Foundation is funding these projects with several million euros.

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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