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Transatlantic Summer School - Frontiers in Plant Sciences

CEPLAS is organising in cooperation with the Competence Area Food Security, Washington State University, Michigan State University and UC Davis the “Transatlantic Summer School - Frontiers in Plant Sciences” in Maria in der Aue (near Cologne, Germany) to be held between 27 to 31 May 2019. Therefore, we invite PhDs or first year PostDocs to register. The registration deadline is 25 March, 2019. Please check the summer school webpage for more information.

Follow Sonja teaching in the schoolgarden of the Omomas Care Center in Namibia

Sonja is studying at the University of Cologne to become a Biology teacher. She was awarded a travel grant by the Food Security Competence Area to support her practical training in the self-suffiency school garden at the Omomas Care Center in the south of Namibia.  In addition to a school education, the disadvantaged kids supervised at Omomas are prepared for the challenges of a self-determined life. In the affiliated self-sufficiency school garden, the kids learn how to cultivate fruit and vegetables with the aim of becoming self-sufficient and increasing acceptance for a balanced and healthy diet. Together with the pupils, Sonja plants Bambara groundnut and Gem Squash - both are considered orphan crops.

We can follow Sonja from March 7th to 11th in an Instagram Takeover and watch her teach cultivation, harvest and processing of these crops.

Invitation to contribute to the Special Issue “Food for Future” in Agriculture

We would like to encourage you to submit a manuscript to the Special Issue of Agriculture. You find all relevant information about the submission on   

Deadline: 31st March 2019


This Special Issue aims to contribute further knowledge and advancements on diverse aspects of food production to ensure food security. It collects contributions to the “1st Cologne Conference on Food for Future”, held in Cologne on 5–7 September 2018, and it is open to external submissions. In particular, we encourage contributions focused on three research areas:

  • Functional food: Quality and nutritional enhancement of crops.
    Diets have become less diverse and 90% of the world´s calorie intake is provided by only 15 crops. Furthermore, the nutritional content of modern high-yield staples is declining, leading to deficiency diseases, particularly in developing countries, dependent on a few calorie-rich but nutritionally poor staple crops. To prevent these diseases, the improvement of the nutritional quality of staple crops is a promising approach. The population of developed countries could profit by improving the concentration of phytonutrients in their diet to reduce chronic diseases based on phytonutrient-poor diets.
  • Orphan crops: Potential of alternative crops for modern plant breeding.
    Orphan, or underutilized, crops have not been the focus of plant breeders and farmers over the last century due to their limited importance in the global market. The fact that they are highly nutritious, resilient in natural and agricultural conditions and provide economic and environmental benefits for local farmers is drawing more and more attention to their high potential contribution to diversifying agricultural systems and food sources.
  • Innovative food sources and production systems.
    The increasing demand for grains and meat in the next 30 years will require the search for alternative protein sources and more environmentally-sustainable, cost-effective production systems. Possible approaches are the more intensive use of insects or microalgae either for direct or indirect human consumption or as a protein source into feedstock mixtures, helping to make feedstock production more sustainable.


Guest Editors

Prof. Dr. Stanislav Kopriva

Dr. Mara Schuler Bermann

Dr. Rumen Ivanov

Dr. Richard Jacoby

Dr. Antonella Succurro