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Excellence Strategy: ZALF involved in the "PhenoRob" Excellence Cluster

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28.09.2018

PhenoRob

In the Excellence Strategy, the decision on the future clusters of excellence was made on 27 September. The Excellence Commission, composed of the international panel of experts and the science ministers of the federal and state governments, selected 57 clusters of excellence from 88 projects submitted. ZALF is an associated partner of the "PhenoRob" Excellence Cluster of the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich.

One of the major challenges in agricultural research is to increase crop production, despite limited farmland, while at the same time reducing the ecological footprint. To achieve this, the Cluster of Excellence "PhenoRob - Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production" is researching new methods and technologies to observe, analyse, better understand and target plants. To this end, fields are monitored from the air and from the ground. Computers process these sensor data in such a way that robots can automatically control and treat individual plants. This should help make agriculture more efficient, gain new insights into plant growth and avoid the use of chemical aids.

"This is a great success and will enable us to maintain close ties with cutting-edge basic research in addition to our application-oriented research. We are contributing here to a central future topic in the field of sustainable cropping systems and are thus also strengthening Brandenburg as a science location with a strong focus on environmental and agricultural science," explains Prof. Frank Ewert, Scientific Director of ZALF.

Funding for the new clusters of excellence begins on 1 January 2019. The funding period is seven years, with a second funding period of seven years following a successful re-application. According to the administrative agreement, the 57 clusters will receive a total of approximately 385 million euros in annual funding, 75 percent of which will be provided by the federal government and 25 percent by the respective host state.

 

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