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.
In his welcome note, Klaus Sandmann, Vice Rector for University Development and Equal Opportunity addressed the day’s overarching theme of women in science. He outlined the ambition to increase the numbers of female researches as well as the related strategy of the University of Bonn.
Kicking-off the scientific talks, Margarita Chli presented challenges and developments in robotic vision and described her most recent works using drones. Shifting the focus within the area of robotics, the talk of Maren Bennewitz elaborated on her approach of covering 3D environments with mobile humanoid robots.
In the afternoon, Aimee van Wynsberghe addressed the multi-faceted issue of ethics in robotics and linked this question of gender bias and equality in the STEM disciplines. After that, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe comprehensively demonstrated the importance of soil health and sustainability for future generations, particularly to mitigate climate change as well as food security.
In the last session, Silke Hemmings gave insights in the results of the first International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge in 2018, a hackathon on AI solutions for crop production on greenhouses. Bringing in a further perspective, the talk by Ute Nöthlings highlighted the relevance of the concept of sustainable diets for environment and human health.