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October 01, 2015

Kick-off for BonaRes in Berlin

Hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), BonaRes – Centre for Soil Research was opened at a kick-off meeting on 1st October 2015 in Berlin.

More than 100 guests from science and politics as well as practical experts were introduced to the BMBF’s funding objectives for BonaRes: considering “Soil as a sustainable resource for the bioeconomy” and therefore, contributing to Germany’s National Research Strategy BioEconomy2030.

During the next nine years the BMBF’s funding program BonaRes aims to gain new insights into the effects of agricultural land use on a variety of soil functions. Hence, new strategies and instruments for a smarter land management shall be developed in order to open the doors for an effective and at the same time more sustainable usage of our soils.

Within the first three years, the funding amounts to 33 million Euros. This enormous soil research investment implies a visibility on an international scale as Keith Bristow (CSIRO), guest speaker from Australia, pointed out enthusiastically at the meeting: “Securing our future requires investment in soils“.

BMBF representative MinDir Bärbel Brumme-Bothe emphasized in her opening speech: “We need to pay more attention to soils. Healthy soils are essential for a sustainable bioeconomy. Therefore, the BonaRes Centre sets a clear sign to soil research in Germany.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, Minister of Science, Research, Education and Cultural Affairs of the state Brandenburg, stressed the significance of healthy soils as well as the necessity of soil research: “Soil research belongs to the set of questions that will shape our future with regard to sustainability. An ecologically compatible land use of the resource soil, the security to feed the world’s population, and therefore stabilizing a foundation for society are global missions. We aim to link these goals by efficient research. Within the modules of the BonaRes funding, national institutes and universities will work together on the global research topic of soil.”

(Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, Minister of Science, Research, Education and Cultural Affairs of the state Brandenburg)

During the panel discussion the BonaRes Centre coordinators Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Vogel (UFZ) and Prof. Dr. Katharina Helming (ZALF) exchanged expectations with the political representative Dr. Luca Montanarella (EU JRC), agricultural expert Udo Folgart (Member of the state parliament Brandenburg and Vice president of the Farmer’s Association in Germany) and funding provider Dr. Ramón Kucharzak (BMBF).

(Panel discussion, from left to right: Hans-Jörg Vogel, Luca Montanarella, Udo Folgart, Katharina Helming, Ramón Kucharzak)

The event also provided an opportunity for a personal exchange with the representatives of the BonaRes Advisory Board and the BonaRes joint projects involving 48 German research institutes and organizations. The next meeting to discuss the state of affairs is planned for March 2016 in Potsdam.