Crossing Paths

A 2023 Retrospective

18. Dezember 2023
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IGZ/J. Vogt
IGZ/J. Vogt

The year 2023 began traditionally for the IGZ after a two-year break with the trade fair highlights International Plant Fair IPM in Essen and the International Green Week in Berlin. Interested visitors - including the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir - were given insights into our research projects from A for Aquaponic:Mobile to Z for zirkulierBAR.

In March, after an interim period of almost a year, Markus Randig was confirmed as full-time Head of Administration in an acting capacity.

In May, the new junior research group "Stress and Developmental Integration" was launched under the leadership of Dr Justyna Olas-Apelt in the Programme Area "Functional Plant Biology". The scientific focus is analysing the molecular mechanisms of developmental adaptation of plants to recurring environmental stress factors in both model plants and crops such as tomatoes.  Olas-Apelt was previously a scientist at the University of Potsdam.

In September, Dr rer. nat. habil. Silke Ruppel retired as head of the " Beneficial Plant-Microbe Interactions" research group after many successful years of work. We are pleased that the institute and the young scientists she supervised will be able to benefit from her extensive knowledge for a while longer and would like to thank her for her commitment as group leader. The work on growth-promoting interactions between plants and microorganisms was an important component of the Institute's research work.

During the inaugural visit of the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof Dr Martina Brockmeier, the IGZ presented the wide range of research conducted at the institute. The intensive discussions with leading scientists provided new impetus for the strategic direction of the institute. The personal exchange with the young scientists was perceived as very valuable.

The IGZ scientists successfully acquired new third-party funded projects, for example for the Collaborative Research Centre "Phenotypic Plasticity in Plants" in cooperation with the University of Potsdam, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Funding was also approved for a DFG-funded research group "FOR 3000: Ecology and Evolution of Intraspecific Chemodiversity of Plants" in cooperation with the University of Bielefeld, among others. Besides basic research projects, projects with a stronger focus on application, such as "InnoWert" or "AquaponicsOpti", were also successful.

In addition, the IGZ was able to acquire urgently needed funding for energy resilience measures and will thus make the energy-intensive infrastructure of the plant research institute more sustainable. Among other things, photovoltaic systems will be installed and the greenhouse and climate chamber technology will be modernised.

The work from ongoing and completed projects has been published in more than 45 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, the IGZ was significantly involved in the conception and realisation of scientific events such as the "Agricultural Systems of the Future Summit" in Berlin in September or the "Life in Kyrgyzstan (LiK)" conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan last month. Both regionally and nationally, the Institute was again actively involved in dialogue with practitioners in 2023, for example as part of the field days and expert working groups.

Shortly before the end of the year, two of the junior researchers at the IGZ successfully completed their doctorates - congratulations to Dr Maolin Peng and Dr Matthias Renz!

For the "zirkulierBAR" project, the year was marked by numerous dialogue events and the achievement of major milestones - above all the opening of the research facility for the production of recycled fertiliser in Eberswalde. Public interest in "food4future" continued unabated this year. The research work surrounding the "SharpGreens" project on the biodiversity of Brassica oleracea varieties also attracted media attention.

And with the topic "Cabbage vegetables - sustainable, healthy, delicious", the IGZ will be present at the International Green Week in the BMEL hall in January 2024 - come and visit us, we look forward to seeing you!

Until then, we wish you a peaceful festive season and a Happy New Year!