According to UNO estimations, the world population is going to increase significantly from at present 7 billion to more than9 billion people by 2050. Simultaneously, the available agricultural area and grassland will decrease rapidly due to climate changes and soil degradation and fossil fuels will be exhausted in the foreseeable future. For these reasons, humankind will be confronted with great challenges and has to change its dealing with natural resources. Existing biological resources must be used by innovative processes more sustainably than before. Bioeconomy can significantly contribute to meeting these challenges. The basics of bioeconomy are the biotechnological research and the resulting innovations in the agricultural economy and the manufacturing sectors and all related services, which develop, produce and process or otherwise use the biological resources (plants, animals, microorganisms).

Plants are the central column of the bioeconomy, as they are the basis of all life. Photosynthesis provides the material basis on which our society is built on. Even today, we do not only depend on plants for our food and nourishment, but plants also provide the raw material for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries and are used as fuel.

The plant-based bioeconomy is one of the key industries of the 21st Century to secure the future provision of food, feed and renewable resources and to overcome the dependence on fossil fuels. The ScienceCampus Halle - plant-based bioeconomy (WCH) unites leading experts in the field of plant science, agricultural, economic and social sciences in order to meet these social challenges of our time.


Feed the world with bioeconomy?

The annual International Green Week took place in Berlin from January 17th to 26th, 2020. The Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) presented itself in the Saxony-Anhalt Halle at the joint science stand with the Competence Cluster for Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health (NutriCARD) and the ScienceCampus Halle - Plant-Based Bioeconomy (WCH).

The main focus of the general discussions at the Green Week this year was particularly the challenges of climate change for the agriculture and food industry as well as solutions for sustainable, resource-saving and environmentally friendly production processes. The WCH was able to give an important impulse by presenting the increase in biodiversity in the field as a partial solution. Using modern breeding methods, the variety of crops can be increased by crossing original ancestors of our crops. By crossing a variety of cultivated barley with 25 diverse wild barley at the MLU, particularly tolerant barley lines (HEB-25) were developed, which are characterized by high yield stability with abiotic stress factors such as drought and heat.

Accordingly, various types of barley ears, including a black one, could be examined by the numerous interested people. And of course there was also a tasting at the food fair. The red colored shortcut pastry cookies from the ScienceCampus Halle were baked from wheat containing anthocyanin, the so-called purple wheat. An old grain that naturally contains the red plant pigment anthocyanin, which is considered to be health-promoting.

In total, the IGW had every year around 1,750 exhibitors from 61 countries and 400,000 trade fair and congress visitors from 75 countries.

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Winterschool for postdocs: What comes after a doctorate? - 02-06 March 2020

Find the right career path and be successful

The ScienceCampus Halle offers following workshops:

  • How to find your job on the German non-academic labour market
  • Blast your fussy mind - entrepreneurship as career option
  • Third-party applications for one´s own position in the postdoc phase
  • Reserch Data Management
  • Intellectual property rigths and alternative forms of protection
  • How to use networking advantage


Postdocs can register per email (anne-laure.tissier@sciencecampus-halle.de) until 21st February 2020.

The registration is free of charge.

The number of participants is limited to 15.

Workshop attendees can register for one of the other workshop individually. Priority will be given to registrations for the whole week.


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Challenge innovation at the WCH

The time suddenly seems to run faster once the last minute of the marshmallow challenge started. Nervous glances keep falling on the ticking clock. With hectic-looking hand movements, the five group tables are trying to stabilize the material. Then the acoustic signal sounds and all hands have to leave the five wobbly constructions of 20 hard spaghetti, 1 meter of thread and 1 meter of tape. Since most noodle towers, on which as high as possible a marshmallow should sit enthroned, tip over immediately, the winner team is fast detected, whose tower height measures 48 cm. After a short round of reflection, the participants have the chance to make a second attempt. And lo and behold, this time it works better. Another team wins with 66.5 cm tower height.

The mood is not only left to the winning groups, all participants have been taught by this special challenge to go into application and testing in innovative research as quickly as possible. This challenge was part of a comprehensive program around innovation in research on the occasion of the visit of an Uzbek delegation consisting of 13 junior scientists accompanied by staff from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the The mood is not only left to the winning groups, all participants have been taught this special challenge to go in the application and testing as quickly as possible in innovative research. This challenge was part of a comprehensive program around innovation in research on the occasion of the visit of an Uzbek delegation consisting of 13 junior scientists accompanied by staff from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Uzbek Ministry of innovative development on 14 October 2019 at the Science Campus Halle.

In addition to this marshmallow challenge in the method workshop "Creative Ideation" of the Transfer and Entrepreneurship Office of the Martin-Luther-University by Moritz Bradler and Dr. Andreas Lauenroth, Dr. Anne-Laure Tissier introduced the work of the ScienceCampus Halle. Also WCH Co-speaker Professor Ludger Wessjohann did not miss the opportunity to give those present helpful tips for innovative start-ups, since he himself has successfully founded six companies. He also presented his new Humboldt Research Fellow Dr. Nilufar Mamadalieva. Only recently, the Uzbek has expanded its research department of bioorganic chemistry at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB). Dr. Kai Kaufmann from the DENKweit GmbH also gave the Uzbek delegation a practical example of how to successfully start a business from research. DENKweit GmbH has been a Fraunhofer spin-off since September 2018 and combines innovative sensor technology with modern data analysis in the photovoltaic and automotive sector. At the final institute tour by Sylvia Pieplow and Dr. Antje Hellmuth offered further opportunities for exchange and contact mediation.

Afterwards, the WCH member Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transformation Economies (IAMO) as well as the Institute of Geology of the MLU were visited in Halle. At the end of the trip, the Uzbek participants were invited to present their findings at the InnoWeek, Uzbekistan's largest innovation fair.

The delegation had a total of two weeks with the BMBF to explore the German university and non-university research and innovation landscape e.g. in Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. The background of this trip is the intensification of contacts in the field of innovation and research between Germany and Uzbekistan, which should lead to a joint Scientific-Technological Cooperation (S&T cooperation) in 2020. Within the framework of STC agreements, the federal government is conducting calls for tenders for bilateral research projects with selected partner countries.

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Promoted by:


National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030

Spitzencluster BioEconomy

European Commission

The International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research

EuropaBio - the European Association for BioIndustries

Cooperations of the Leibniz Association with universities

FACCE JPI  - Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change

Founding Members Associated Members
WCH-Founding Members WCH-Associated members