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Working Groups of the Senate Commission

Working Group "Sustainable intensification of plant production systems"

In 2014, the Senate Commission published the policy paper "Sustainable and resource-efficient intensification of crop production - perspectives of agroecosystem research", in which potential benefits of basic research for the sustainable intensification of crop production are summarized.

In the second mandate period, the Senate Commission will focus on (1) optimising multiple characteristics of agricultural production systems within a landscape context and (2) integrally evaluating innovative production systems.

The goal is to identify the fundamental research topics for the development of a catalogue of criteria with location or region-specific solutions for the establishment of sustainable and highly productive plant production systems.

Close networking beyond scale boundaries of different disciplines such as plant breeding, genetics, plant cultivation, biodiversity/ecology and social economics appears to be called for, as landscape aspects are an integral component in all these disciplines.

Working Group "Genotype x environment x management interactions in wheat cultivation"

The goal of the working group is to identify fundamental research topics at the plant and field level which will improve the understanding of the complex interactions between genotype, environment and management, taking the cultivation of wheat, one of the most important cereal types in Germany and Europe, as an example. Furthermore, it is intended to encourage multidisciplinary projects and to identify the most important research questions with respect to the relationship between genotype and the landscape context, again using the cultivation of wheat as an example.

Junior Researcher Academy "Agroecosystem Research: Soil Resources and Plant Production"

The think tank roundtable discussion "Sustainable intensification of plant production” that took place during the first mandate term in October 2013 identified a lack of early career researchers working in this area.

The goal of the Junior Researcher Academy "Agroecosystem Research: Soil Resources and Plant Production" is to remedy the lack of well-trained early career researchers from various research areas in agricultural sciences who are investigating fundamental questions concerning the sustainable intensification of plant production in the landscape context taking into account the whole system. It is intended to prepare young researchers to take on research projects independently and familiarise them with project leadership and with obtaining third-party funding. Current questions in research to explore the sustainable intensification of plant production within a landscape context will be highlighted in the workshop.

Working Group "Sustainable intensification in agriculture"

Joint working group of the Senate Commission on Agroecosystem Research and DKN Future Earth

The working group was set up in Spring 2015.

Its goal is to bring together researchers from various disciplines, companies from different agricultural areas and other stakeholders at federal, state and at a local level (from Germany and other countries) to raise their awareness of the subject of "sustainable intensification of agricultural production", to promote the development of socio-economic solutions at a regional level and to identify the research required to achieve this. The new research approaches developed in this way should be targeted at improving productivity while protecting natural resources and maintaining eco-system services. The newly developed research approaches will take region-specific conditions as their subject and also offer solutions.

The DFG roundtable discussion "Sustainable intensification of agricultural production: The need for socio-ecological solutions at regional level” will take place from 19 to 20 November 2015 in Bonn. Organised by the German Committee Future Earth (DKN-FutureEarth) and the DFG Senate Commission on Agroecosystem Research, its purpose is to identify future research requirements and to develop new research approaches.

Working Group "Field trial infrastructure"

The "Field trial infrastructure" Working Group published a position paper entitled "Field Test Infrastructures - Current Situation and Future Prospects" in 2013 which identified ways to optimise field testing at German university sites through improved coordination.

In the second mandate term, the working group will discuss strategies to develop research infrastructures for targeted long-term manipulation (climate, input), including a network of existing field trial facilities.

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