New Conference on Digital Crop Production in November 2020

When a computer scientist talks to a plant expert: A new exchange opportunity for researchers in the field of digital agriculture has been created. The International Conference “Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production” (DIGICROP) will take place on November 10, 2020 for the first time and in a remote fashion. The scientific event addresses an interdisciplinary audience working at the intersection of engineering, robotics, computer science, crop sciences, agricultural sciences, phenotyping, and economics. DIGICROP thus faces the challenge of combining very diverse fields of expertise for a new research topic to achieve completely new insights in the field of digital technologies addressing progress in agriculture, especially crop production.

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Female Talk Series with Emily Burchfield

The joint event of FORLand Agricultural Land Markets – Efficiency and Regulation and PhenoRob will host a talk by Emily Burchfield, Assistant Professor at the Department of Environmental Studies at Emory University, on “Cultivating Food Security in a Changing World”.

Prof. Dr. Burchfield will explore the interactions between agriculturally-driven land use change, climate change, and agricultural production in the United States. Her research integrates “big” geospatial datasets with “deep” qualitative data to understand agroecological system dynamics at multiple scales.

June 26, 2020, 10:00 – 11:00
Virtual via Zoom


New Partner Project: SEnsing Biodiversity Across Scales (SEBAS)

In the past decades, most grassland ecosystems in Central Europe were transformed by higher fertilization rates in combination with increased frequencies of mowing or grazing. While this land-use intensification improved the delivery of the Ecosystem Service (ES) of forage, it has in many cases decreased biodiversity and the delivery of other ESs. In this context, there is an urgent need for a more mechanistic understanding of land-use effects on the biodiversity – ecosystem functioning (BEF) and the biodiversity-ecosystem service (BES) relationship. Due to inherent spatial mismatches between ecological processes and management units in coupled social-ecological systems, though, this is a challenging task. The new project SEBAS aims at improving this mechanistic understanding by integrating site-based ecological research on land-use intensity and six ‘essential biodiversity variables’ (EBVs) with satellite Remote Sensing of these proxies.

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On the Ground and in the Air: Research in PhenoRob Continues despite the Corona Crisis

Field experiments are essential for the quality of agricultural research. Spring is the time of the year when the seeds of the plants for the experimental fields need to be sown, otherwise the researchers will have to wait a whole year until the next vegetation period starts. The sowing of the field crops can be delayed for no more than 4 to 6 weeks. Afterwards the sowing window closes.

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Next PhenoRob Seminar Series with external guests


The 14th edition of the PhenoRob Seminar Series will feature talks by two external speakers. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg, Head of the Institute of Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen, will present novel concepts in the area of protein engineering for innovations in plant health. Philipp Lottes, founder of the startup Pheno-Inspect and researcher at the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn, will provide insights in his experience from founding an agritech startup.

March 13, 2020, 10:00 – 12:00
Location: Nussallee 17, HS XVI, Bonn

Six excellent speakers at PhenoRob Female Talk Series

This is one of the privileges of a Cluster of Excellence: to invite six outstanding female speakers from all over the world. This is how one of the spokespersons, Heiner Kuhlmann, introduced the PhenoRob Female Talk Series on February 11. On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, PhenoRob had the pleasure to host talks by Margarita Chli (ETH Zurich), Maren Bennewitz (University of Bonn), Aimee von Wynsberghe (TU Delft), Asmeret Asefaw Berhe (UC Merced), Silke Hemmings (Wageningen UR), and Ute Nöthlings (University of Bonn). The speakers covered a wide range of research topics related to PhenoRob: from robotics, ethics and soil sciences to crop production and nutrition.

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Visit from New Zealand

Organised by the DAAD, a delegation from New Zealand science institutions visited PhenoRob at the University of Bonn on 13th January. The two spokespersons of the Cluster of Excellence first gave an interesting overview of the research topics and the necessity for changes in today’s agricultural production. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion with a number of questions from the guests.

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PhenoRob Talk at IIT Tirupati

Nived Chebrolu gave a talk titled ‘Robotics for Precision Agriculture’ on 31st Dec, 2019 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Tirupati.

The talk covered topics ranging from monitoring fields using UAVs, automated in-field interventions for weed control using ground robots and the potential of phenotyping activities at the field scale. IIT Tirupati has recently started a inter-departmental effort towards pursuing precision agriculture as thrust area for research.