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Transdisciplinary Research Area
Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures (TRA 6)

Edition October 2020
Welcome to the TRA 6 newsletter!
The newsletter keeps you informed about recent developments in TRA 6 and its members' activities.
Distinguished Lecturers' Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"
The lecture series is a forum for high profile and internationally visible scientists who are active in academia or at the science-policy interface. 
The next lectures are:
  • November 11, 2020, 14 h CET, Prof. Xiaoxiang Zhu, Professor of Signal Processing in Earth Observation, Technical University of Munich
  • December 1st, 2020, 14 h CET, Prof. Matthew McCabe, Professor of Remote Sensing and Water Security, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • -- date and time will be announced -- Prof. Ruth DeFries, Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development, Columbia University: "Nature’s Secrets for Navigating Uncertain Times"
Recordings of the lectures of Jessica Fanzo, Noelle E. Selin, Matin Qaim and Martin Herold are available on YouTube.  

TRA 6: Open Call (running application deadline)
The TRA Sustainable Futures invites applications for seed funding for innovative, transdisciplinary research projects or other measures with a clear relation to the goals and themes of the TRA. 
Please find more information on how to apply in the call document .If you want to apply for TRA 6-funding, please use the application form available in eCampus.

TRA 6 related calls
•    European Commission: H2020 Green Deal Call, see here
•    BLE: Breeding of high-performing legume varieties, see here
•    ESA: Responsible AgriTech, see here 
Third party funding
BESoilS – Sulfur cycling in soils along a land-use intensity gradient in German Biodiversity Exploratories (DFG SPP 1341, acquired by Sara Bauke at INRES) 
The aim of this project is to test the hypothesis that the combination of ecosystem type (grassland vs forest) and land-use intensity (i.e. inputs and exports of S) is coupled with distinct patterns of S recycling in soils, which will ultimately interact with species richness and community composition at the respective sites of the Biodiversity Exploratories.

FORLand: Agricultural Land Markets – Efficiency and Regulation (DFG FOR 2596) 
Growing food prices and high liquidity in international financial markets have boosted the demand for farmland with steadily increasing land prices in many parts of the world. This development has fueled public debates on land markets’ functioning as an allocation device and current legislation effectiveness to meet political objectives and societal needs such as sustainable food production. The complexity of farmland markets calls for a multidisciplinary approach including (agricultural) economics, sociology, ethics, geography and statistics. Participating institutions are Humboldt-Universität Berlin (speaker), Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies Halle/S, University of Göttingen, Technical University Berlin, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, and Bonn University, Production Economics Group (S. Hüttel, S. Seifert). A second phase of the project until 2023 has now been approved. Further information

The aim of the HYDROCOASTAL project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA)  is to study new approaches for processing SAR and SARin data from Sentinel-3 in coastal zone and inland water. Various approaches are evaluated in selected test zones and the most promising processing schemes are identified. The chosen approach is then implemented to generate global coastal zone and discharge datasets and the scientific impact of these products is evaluated in few case studies. The University Bonn develops a new approach for coastal zones and evaluates all approaches in the German Bight and German Baltic coast, in the Elbe estuary and Rhine river. 
The project HYDROCOASTAL_CCN1 studies the effect of vertical motion of the wave particles on altimeter SAR processing. Goal is to improve the quality of the three geophysical parameters sea surface heights, wave height and wind sped by accounting for his effect. A new model is developed and fit to the waveforms for the determination of these parameters. After validation, the derived model will be implemented in a new release of the TUDaBo SAR altimeter processor already installed on the ESA G-POD facility ( It is a change notice to the project HYDROCOASTAL. Contact: Luciana Fenoglio-Marc 

Identification, tracking, and classification of ocean eddies in along track radar alimetry data using deep learning (EDDY) 
Ribana Roscher, Luciana Fenoglio and Jürgen Kusche have received a DFG-grant for their joint project on “Identification, tracking, and classification of ocean eddies in along track radar altimetry data using deep learning (EDDY)”. Aim of the project will be developing an improved method for identifying ocean eddies in remote sensing data - understanding ocean eddies better is important for a range of applications from climate research (ocean eddies transport heat and energy) to fishery (eddies transport nutrients) and ocean pollution monitoring. We will need to fill a PhD and a PostDoc position.

Awards and research prizes
  • Sven Behnke (University of Bonn): Amazon Research Award
  • Guillaume Lobet (FZ Jülich): Joseph Schekpens Prize for Agronomy, Académie Royale de Belgique
  • Anja Klotzsche (FZ Jülich): Near-Surface Geophysics Early Career Achievement Award, Advancing Earth and Space Science (AGU)
Further news
The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have founded a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates a high-profile international focal point in the Rhineland for global Earth system observation with the aim of making strides toward a comprehensive understanding of our planet and better predicting changes. Founding directors are J. Kusche (Bonn), S. Crewell (Cologne) and A. Kiendler-Scharr (Jülich). Further information

Within the new BMBF-funded German Alliance for Global Health Research Walter Bruchhausen was elected co-speaker with special responsibility for early career researcher support. This includes heading the decentralized Global Health Academy with its coordinator to be appointed at Bonn University Hospital. Offers for training opportunities in global health research are highly welcome. Further information

The consideration of the relevance of human health, animal health and environmental health as well as biodiversity is called the "One Health" approach ( ). It envisages the promotion and maintenance of health in all these areas through preventive measures. The BMZ is strengthening its commitment in the context of the One Health approach. Anna-Katharina Hornidge was one of nine scientists appointed to the ministry's One Health advisory board. This interdisciplinary body will provide comprehensive and independent advice to BMZ on its priorities in the above-mentioned areas. 

The Global Health Hub Germany - founded in 2019 by the German Federal Ministry of Health to fight tropical diseases, cancer and antibiotic resistance - is an independent network with over 600 members, in which global health players can exchange information and ideas and establish new projects and partnerships. In August, Anna-Katharina Hornidge was elected into the steering committee of the Global Health Hub Germany (Think Tank group of actors). The Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic planning, further development and orientation of the hub.  Up to 16 representatives of the Steering Committee represent the groups of actors from science, business, civil society and youth as well as think tanks, foundations, the parliamentary area and international organizations. Further information

Anna-Katharina Hornidge has been appointed as member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) by the Federal Cabinet for its next term until 31.10.2024. The German Federal Government set up the WBGU as an independent, scientific advisory body in 1992 in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit). The WBGU's task is to analyse global environmental and development problems and to develop recommendations for action and research in the quest for solutions to these problems. Further information

Upcoming events: Past events: Publications
  • Amelung, W., Bossio, D., de Vries, W., et al. (2020). Towards a global scale Soil Climate Mitigation Strategy. Nature Communications, in press.
  • Buchhaupt, C., Fenoglio L., Becker M., Kusche J. (2020). Impact of Vertical Water Particle Motions on Fully-Focused SAR Altimetry. Advances in Space Research, Special Issue 25 Years of Progress in Radar Altimetry. 
  • Dinardo, S., Fenoglio, L., Becker, M., Scharroo, R., Fernandes, M. J., Staneva, J., Grayek, S., Benveniste, J., (2020). A RIPbased SAR Retracker and its application in North East Atlantic with Sentinel-3. Advances in Space Research, Special Issue 25 Years of Satellite Altimetry.
  • Eggemann, L., Escobar, N., Peters, R., Burauel, P., Stolten, D. (2020). Life cycle assessment of a small-scale methanol production system: A Power-to-Fuel strategy for biogas plants.  J. Clean. Prod. 271, 122476.   
  • Escobar N., Laibach N. (2021). Sustainability check for bio-based technologies: a review of process-based and life cycle approaches. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 135, 110213. 
  • Heeren, B., Paulus, S., Goldbach, H., Kuhlmann, H., Mahlein, A., Rumpf, M., Wirth, B. (2020). Statistical shape analysis of tap roots: a methodological case study on laser scanned sugar beets. BMC Bioinformatics 21(1).
  • Hossain, F., Bonnema, M. Srinivasan, M., Beighley, E., Andral, A. Doorn, B., Jayaluxmi, I., Jayasinghe, S., Kaheil, Y., Fatima, B., Elmer, N., Fenoglio, L., Bales, J., Lefevre, F., Legrand, S., Brunel, D., and Le Traon, P.Y. (2020). The Early Adopter  Program for the Surface Water Ocean Topography Satellite Mission: Lessons Learned in Building User Engagement during the Pre-launch Era. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. N. 101.
  • Karegar, M.A., Kusche, J. (2020). Imprints of COVID‐19 Lockdown on GNSS Observations: An Initial Demonstration Using GNSS Interferometric Reflectometry. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (19). 
  • Müller, B., Hoffmann, F., Heckelei, T., Müller, C., Hertel, T. W.,  Polhill, G. J., van Wijk, M., Achterbosch, T.,  Alexander, P., Brown, C., Kreuer, D., Ewert, F., Ge, J.,  Millington, J. D. A.,  Seppelt, R., Verburg, P. H., Webber, H. (2020). Modelling food security: Bridging the gap between the micro and the macro scale. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 63, p. 102085. 
  • Nong, D., Escobar, N., Britz, W., Börner, J. (2020). Long-term impacts of bio-based innovation in the chemical sector: A dynamic global perspective. J. Clean. Prod. 272, 122738. 
  • Schramowski, P., Stammer, W., Teso, S., Brugger, A., Herbert, F., Shao, X., Luigs, H., Mahlein, A., Kersting, K. (2020). Making deep neural networks right for the right scientific reasons by interacting with their explanations. Nature Machine Intelligence, Vol. 2.
  • Stolpe,  I. (2020). Nutag und Mobilität: Zur Dynamisierung mongolischer Heimatkonzepte. In: Dana Bönisch, Jil Runia und Hanna Zehschnetzler (Hg.): Heimat revisited. Kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf einen umstrittenen Begriff. Berlin: De Gruyter: 209-233. 
  • Webber, H., Lischeid, G., Sommer, M., Finger, R., Nendel, C., Gaiser, T., Ewert, F. (2020). No perfect storm for crop yield failure in Germany. Environmental Research Letters 15: 104012.
  • Wensing, J., Caputo, V., Carraresi, L., Bröring, S. (2020). The effects of green nudges on consumer valuation of bio-based plastic packaging. Ecological Economics, Volume 178, 106783.
  • West, T. A. P., Börner, J., Sills, E. O., Kontoleon, A. (2020). Overstated carbon emission reductions from voluntary REDD+ projects in the Brazilian Amazon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (39), p. 24188. 
  • Rajão, R., Soares-Filho, B., Nunes, F., Börner, J., Machado, L., Assis, D. et al. (2020). The rotten apples of Brazil's agribusiness. Science 369 (6501), pp. 246–248. 

If you have exciting news to report for the next edition of the newsletter, please report to  

On October 13, at the start of World Food Week, studies from leading research institutes on how to end the global hunger crisis were presented on the conference “A world without hunger is possible – What must be done”. Development Minister Gerd Müller was joined by a number of scientists, among them Prof. Joachim von Braun, to present the findings of two new studies undertaken by institutions including Cornell University, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Center for Development Research (ZEF).
Study by ZEF/FAO 
Report PARI 
The German Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn2030) has published a new impulse paper “Nachhaltig aus der Corona-Krise!”. The impulse paper provides the German Government with recommendations to strengthen German sustainability policy in response to the coronavirus crisis. The recommendations aim especially at strengthening systemic thinking and action in the political sphere with the aid of science, with a particular focus on the future development of the German Sustainable Development Strategy. Download the paper (in German).


Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Transdisciplinary Research Area
Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures
Poppelsdorfer Allee 47
D - 53115 Bonn

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