Cutting-edge research on sustainability

Transdisciplinary Research Area Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures

Sustainability means using resources in a way that the needs of today are met without neglecting or even disregarding the needs of future generations. This raises questions in a wide range of areas: poverty, hunger, food security, demographic change, health, protection of the environment, climate change and the responsible use of resources pose a global challenge for us all. To achieve progress with regards to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, our researchers apply an interdisciplinary approach focused on solutions combined with basic research, actively engage in global networks and collaborate with Bonn-based UN organizations.

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© Bialek/Uni Bonn

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Importance of Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability: The significance of the Sustainable Development Goals

Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun, Center for Development Research (ZEF) and Speaker of TRA Sustainable Futures, outlines the significance of the UN's sustainable development goals for global development.

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Our Open Call for seed funding is still available to all TRA members. Please feel free to contact us in advance if you have any questions.

Award of the Klaus Töpfer Research Prize 2022

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© ZEF

During our general meeting on July 12, 2022, Dr. Melanie Braun from INRES was awarded the Klaus Töpfer Research Prize 2022. Her project idea "Colloidal and Nanoplastics in Soil" prevailed over strong competition in a multi-stage review process. With the help of the prize money of €50,000, Melanie Braun now wants to develop an analytical method that can be used to quantify the smallest plastic particles in soil.

Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun said at the award ceremony: "Melanie Braun's project fits perfectly with our focus on modeling, foresight and risk assessment capacity, as it provides for the first time data on soil pollution by nanoplastics that can later be used for forecasting and other purposes."

Dr. Klaus Töpfer (on the left in the picture) took the journey to Bonn for the first presentation of the award that bears his name and used his speaking time to emphasize, among other things: "In the question of how we can still feed the growing world population in the future, research on soil is immensely important."

In her acceptance speech, Dr. Braun explained the motivation behind the project idea: "There has been evidence that soils receive plastic input, mainly by agricultural practices like application of sewage sludge and compost as well as irrigation. As soils are one of the most important bases of our food production, there is an urgent need to investigate the prevalence of colloidal and nano-sized plastics in soil, to adequately safeguard worlds food production."

To the complete complete report including a video.

Press releases
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.

Press review

Members of TRA Sustainable Futures in the media (in German)


Speakers

Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun
Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Prof. Dr. Jan Börner
Institute for Food and Resource Economics

Management

Dr. Daniel Minge
Manager TRA Sustainable Futures

Strategic Development and Quality Assurance
Vice Rectorate for Research and Early-Career Researchers

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn 
Argelanderstraße 1
53115 Bonn  

Phone:  +49 175/103 89 57
Email: tra6@uni-bonn.de

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