Review 2018

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In WS 2018/19, 1198 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Organic Agriculture 676
  • Master Organic Agriculture 192
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen) 171
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences) 100
  • Sustainable Food Systems (Susfoods, cooperation with Fulda, Lyon, Gent, Cluj, Aarhus) 13
  • Exchange students 8
  • Doctoral students 38

As part of the module Event Management, the 26th Witzenhausen Conference took place from December 4 - 8 with the topic "The last dirt?! Soil Protection in Policy and Practice" with over 300 participants.

Three comprehensive lecture series were held in the winter semester: "Heimat, Volk und Scholle - Rechts(d)ruck im ländlichen Raum", "Marketing Gardening" and "Challenges and Possibilities for Sustainable Development Goals".

Excursions abroad took place to France (Bachelor and Master ÖL), Brussels (Master ÖL) and Latvia (Master IFBC).

In 2018, the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences raised €7.9 million in third-party funding.

About 140 articles from our department were published in scientific journals (peer reviewed) in 2018 (see websites of the individual departments). A total of 27 PhDs and three habilitations were completed.

Of the large number of research projects carried out last year, the projects with several scientific cooperation partners that were completed or started in 2018 should be listed as examples.

Completed cooperation projects:

  • UrbanFoodPlus - African-German partnership to enhance resource use efficiency and improve food security in urban and peri-urban agriculture of West African cities (BMBF).
  • BodMech II - Soil-friendly use of machinery in forests - Development and testing of a new test method to determine dynamic soil stress (Agency of Renewable Resources FNR)
  • 3D-Architecture of Microaggregates and their Influence on Mechanical Stability and on Water and Oxygen Supply of Microhabitats (DFG)
  • SIGNAL - Sustainable intensification in agriculture through agroforestry systems (BMBF)
  • BONARES-SIGNAL - Diversity and activity of soil organism communities as indicators for sustainable land use (BMBF)
  • Organic inspection competence - Structured analysis of requirements and development of sector-wide coordinated training and further education concepts for organic inspectors (BLE)
  • Promotion of Organic Agriculture - Measures, Strategies and Operational Perspectives (Thünen-Institut)
  • Regionalization of feed (BLE)

Other completed cooperation projects:

  • 2-Org-Cows project-Towards preventive health management for domestic dual-purpose cattle in organic pasture production systems using novel breeding strategies based on innovative data collection systems (EU, BLE)
  • GLOBE RELOAD - Reduction of post-harvest losses value addition in East African food supply chains (BMBF, ptj)
  • Organic Dairy Health - Improving animal health and welfare in organic dairy herds through breeding and management (BLE)
  • Biodiversity education as a cross-cutting issue of biology, politics and ethics -Qualification measures at botanical gardens (DBU)

Started cooperation projects:

  • Red high-altitude cattle (BLE)
  • Vegan organic products (BÖLN, BLE)
  • Localization and quantification of physical and mechanical properties of the rhizosphere using X-ray microtomography and microsensors (DFG)
  • BONARES SIGNAL-Sustainable intensification of agriculture through agroforestry systems, TP B (BMBF)
  • CoAct - Urban-Rural-Plus- Integrated urban-rural concept for the production of activated carbon and energy sources from residual biomass (DBU)
  • Synergetic use of mobile and laboratory-based spectroscopic methods (Vis-NIR, laboratory and hand-held MIR, hyperspectral frame camera) for optimized determination of temporally and spatially variable soil properties (DFG)
  • Sincere-H2020 - Spurring Innovations for Forest Ecosystems Services in Europe (EU)
  • Food and Water Security in the Levant: adopting an interdisciplinary approach (DAAD)
  • TEFSI - Transformation of European Food Systems (EU)

The following faculty members or projects received awards in 2018:

  • Julia Stark (FG Organic Crop Production): Organic Food Industry Research Award 2018 in the category of best MSc. thesis.
  • Jan Lanvers (FG Organic Crop Production): Second place in the competition "Hessen Ideen" - raised bed idea of "field bindweed"
  • Katharina Menger (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Award for the best contribution at the OEGA (Austrian Agricultural Economists Conference).
  • Stephan Junge (FG Ecological Plant Protection): Poster Award University of Kassel 2018

The following members were appointed or elected to expert committees in 2018:

  • Prof. Dr. Gunter Backes (FG Plant Breeding and Agro-biodiversity): Board DAFA
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger (FG Socio-ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems): Member of the Working Group "Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes", National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger (FG Socio-Ecologjcal Interactions in Agricultural Systems): Member of the working group "Historical Gardens in Climate Change", Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger (FG Socio-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems): Review Editor, Chapter 5, Europe and Central Asia report, Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller (FG Business Administration): DLG e.V., General Committee
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller (FG Business Administration): DLG e. V., Committee for Business Consulting and Accounting

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Major events in 2018 were:

  • Lectures and information booth at Biofach in Nuremberg from February 14 - 17.
  • FerienKinderUni "Research workshop trick-or-treat?!" from March 26 - 28.
  • Plant market of the tropical greenhouse on April 29.
  • Field day at the Neu-Eichenberg experimental farm, organized by the Department of Organic Plant Protection on June 19.
  • Conference "From organic agriculture to sustainable food systems, a re-view and a pre-view" on July 3.
  • Symposium and ceremony "25 years of interdisciplinary research at the Tropical Center in Witzenhausen" on July 13.
  • Conference "Mehrwerte Sozialer Landwirtschaft", organized by the Department of Organic Agriculture and Plant Production on 06 - 08 November.
  • The department was represented at the Eurotier in Hannover from 13 - 16 November.
  • Symposium Crop and livestock diversity from 23 - 25 November.

In 2018, 21 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 250 scientific and administrative-technical staff. Three professorships belong equally to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel.

As of SS 2018, Prof. Dr. Dirk Hinrichs started as head of the department "Animal Breeding" and Prof. Dr. Johannes Kahl as head of the department "Organic Food and Nutrition Culture".

For the SS 2018, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Angelika Ploeger (FG Ecolo-gical Food and Nutrition Culture) resigned.

Dr. Philip Beske-Janssen (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing) followed an appointment as Assistant Professor at the Department of Opera-tions Management at Copenhagen Business School.

Mr. Schäfer retired in 2018 as a long-time employee of the Caretaker's Office.

Changes in the Dean's Office as of 1.4.2018: Prof. Dr. Stephan Peth has taken over as Dean of Studies from Fr. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Angelika Ploeger.