Second Status Seminar of the »Agricultural Systems of the Future«

The eight consortia presented their research highlights.

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© Agricultural Systems of the Future

From September 28 - 29, 2021, the second status seminar of the eight research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the programme »Agricultural Systems of the Future« took place as an online conference with more than 200 participants.

Sustainable design of agricultural production is one of the central challenges of the 21st century. In order to explore and test possible scenarios for an agricultural economy of the future, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has initiated the »Agricultural Systems of the Future« funding programme. The inter- and transdisciplinary consortia are dedicated to different ways of transforming the agriculture and developing innovative solutions.

After welcoming addresses by the head of the ministry's "Bioeconomy" department, Andrea Noske, Dr Eva Leiritz from Project Management Jülich (PtJ) and Prof Monika Schreiner (Coordination Office »Agricultural Systems of the Future«) the eight consortia presented their project progress and activities to representatives of the ministry, the PtJ and an international panel of experts. 

The status seminar was opened with a welcoming adress from Andrea Noske (head of the Bioeconomy department, BMBF).

Amongst others, new approaches to pasture management, circular economy and integration of ecosystem services for the management of agrarian landscapes were presented. The presentations of the consortia were complemented by virtual poster sessions and the “Young Talent Talks”, where early career scientists presented their work.

The highlight results of the food4future collaborative project were presented by Prof Monika Schreiner (IGZ), Prof. Susanne Baldermann (IGZ/University of Bayreuth) and Prof Jörg Niewöhner (IRI THESys/HU Berlin). In the virtual poster presentation, Dr Anna Fricke and Jakob Sabban (Fraunhofer IAP PYCO) also presented work on integrating the cultivation of macroalgae and crickets in urban areas. In another presentation, Dr Holger Kühnhold, Dr Aisa Manlosa (both ZMT) and Hanna Freudenreich (IGZ) laid out the interdisciplinary linkage of the projects' natural and social science aspects and thus the challenges in the transformation to sustainable food systems.

As a keynote speaker, Prof Lotze-Campen (PIK) gave an overview of societal challenges and future research needs for sustainable agricultural systems under the aspect of the effects of climate change.

For food4future, Ferike Thom (HU Berlin), presented as a "Young Talent Talk". Particularly, she gave insights into the project's "No Trade" scenario and discussed the effects of this extreme scenario on a macroeconomic level.

Other highlights of the status seminar were the keynotes on climate change and artificial intelligence (AI). On the first day, Prof Hermann Lotze-Campen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gave a keynote address on current issues in agriculture in relation to climate change. In particular, the reduction of climate-impacting gases, nitrogen management and the protection and conservation of biodiversity are pressing issues that can only lead to solutions by a systemic and global approach.

The keynote speaker on the second day of the conference, Prof Yael Edan, professor at Ben Gurion University (Israel), addressed the topic of automation, robotics and AI in agribusiness. Developments in this area will increasingly focus on human-machine interaction, innovative sensor technology for optimizing autonomous movement and performing specific tasks in the production and harvest process.

During the two days of the virtual conference, the status seminar's participants discussed the presented results in a lively manner.


Philip Albers and Stefanie Fleischmann, the managers of the Central Coordination Office, as well as Julia Vogt, f4f project manager, prepared and moderated the event together with Thomas Weith and Ulf Weddige (ZALF) and ensured a smooth running of the event.

More information about the other consortia funded by the BMBF programme »Agricultural Systems of the Future« and the work of the Central Coordination Office can be found on the funding line’s website.