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News | Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018: species protection and the sustainable use of resources in Africa

Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Junior Professorship for the “Sustainable use of natural resources” goes to Dr. Jacqueline Loos

How can the natural environment be protected without causing the local population to go hungry? When it comes to species protection and the maintenance of biodiversity in developing countries, this is a central question. The environmental scientist Dr. Jacqueline Loos of Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany, aims to answer this question with her research. The recipient of the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018 is working on a research project entitled: “Wildlife, Values, Justice: Reconciling Sustainability in African Protected Areas.” Her research focuses on the effectiveness of nature reserves in Zambia and Tanzania, where more than a third of the surface area is protected.

 

Dr. Jacqueline Loos, Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018 (Photo: Robert Bosch Stiftung / Robert Thiele)

 

Conservation and the sustainable use of resources

Addressing population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is a major challenge. Loos has concluded that a nature reserve can only function and fully serve its purpose if the local population does not suffer as a result of it. A balance must thus be struck between protecting the environment and making sustainable use of local natural resources. With her research, Loos aims to help draw a realistic picture of local realities, and to reconcile them with conservation and species protection initiatives.  “The fight to maintain biodiversity cannot succeed if the local population is starving,” says Dr. Loos. “If we want to ensure that nature reserves function properly, the local population must also benefit. We must thus take their needs into account and involve them in decision-making process.” Loos also uses modern technology for her research, such as drones and automated image processing. Her aim is to gather information on animal populations at her study site. Loos is set to receive a total of one million euros in funding from Robert Bosch Stiftung over a period of five years.

More than a million euros in funding

Robert Bosch Stiftung aims to strengthen sustainability science in Germany. To this end, it has offered the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship for the “Sustainable use of natural resources” since 2008. The initiative funds research at German universities or research institutions with up to a million euros over a period of five years, and aims to help solve urgent socio-ecological challenges that are relevant especially in developing or emerging countries. The research findings should contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The following video presents more information about the research project.

News | Increasing agricultural yield in nutrient-poor soils

Robert Bosch Stiftung awards its 2017 Junior Professorship to Dr. Michaela Dippold

New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung

In the coming years, food scarcity in Africa will continue to worsen as a result of stagnating agricultural yields for crop plants. One solution could be to use the types of high-yield plants that have contributed to increasing agricultural production in industrialized nations in recent years. The drawback of these types of plants is hat they require the best possible conditions, which were only available in high-performing agricultural environments until now.

 

 

The work of Dr. Michaela Dippold focuses on remedying this situation. The research associate in the department of crop sciences at Georg-August University in Göttingen is the Robert Bosch Junior Professor 2017. Over the course of her research, she will spend the next five years establishing the adaptation mechanisms of old plant types in Sub-Saharan Africa. Often, these are well adapted to local conditions such as drought and low nutrient intake, but their yield is relatively low. The aim of Dr. Dippold’s research is to find out how the water and nutrient intake of crop plants can be improved, also to achieve stable yields in nutrient-poor soils. The results of this work will serve as the basis for a new generation of high-yield plant types.

Since 2008, Robert Bosch Stiftung has awarded the “Sustainable Use of Natural Resources” junior professorship each year. The professorship is endowed with one million euros over a period of five years and serves to build an independent group of researchers at a German university or research institute. These groups serve to strengthen the realm of sustainability science in Germany and solve pressing environmental problems that are of particular relevance in developing or transitioning countries.

More information on the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship can be found here.

News | Using energy sustainably

Robert Bosch Stiftung awards the 2016 junior professorship to Dr. Oliver Schenker

New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung

Finite resources are the engine of global economic growth, and demand for raw materials continues to grow. Today, more than a billion people around the world still have no access to electricity. Against this backdrop, the international community recently acknowledged the need for a sustainable, low-carbon energy policy at the world climate conference in Paris. However, this acknowledgement is not enough: the right legal and economic framework conditions are also urgently necessary. As current developments show, both are insufficient: for instance, more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants are presently being planned around the world.

 

 

Which factors are working against sustainable energy policy, especially in emerging and developing countries? And how can these obstacles be overcome? These are topics that Dr. Oliver Schenker will focus on over the course of his tenure as the 2016 Robert Bosch Junior Professor. Starting in June, the environmental and resource economist will be heading a research project at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Schenker and his team will develop economic balance models that will analyze a number of different effect factors. “The effects of and interaction between political tools in the policy mix will be a central part of my analysis,” Shenker says. Among other things, the economist will analyze the energy transition in Germany – a development that has brought forth unpredictable changes for the major energy providers. The results will include a framework that will help provide orientation for fast-changing emerging and developing countries, all the while offering the flexibility and adaptability required to effectively respond to future changes.

Since 2008, Robert Bosch Stiftung has awarded the “Sustainable of natural resources” junior professorship. The aim is to contribute to solving urgent environmental problems. The professorship is funded over a period of five years with a budget of one million euros. Scientists from all disciplines and countries are invited to apply for the 2017 junior professorship.

More information on the 2016 junior professorship can be found here.

News: Energy from plants

Having been awarded the third Robert Bosch Junior Professorship, Dr. Regina Palkovits intends to establish a research group to study the efficient use of biomass

2010_Energy_from_plants

New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung

 

Following on from Dr. Nina Farwig (2008) and Dr. Asia Khamzina (2009), Dr. Palkovits was awarded this year's Robert Bosch Junior Professorship by Dr. Kurt Liedtke, chairman of the board of trustees of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Prof. Klaus Töpfer, chairman of the selection committee, for the sustainable use of natural resources. In a research group at RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Dr. Palkovits is examining how biomass can be used in the long term to produce plastics or fuel, for example.


On the occasion of the Junior Professorship award ceremony at Robert Bosch's former residence, Dr. Palkovits talked with Dr. Christine Kolmar, executive board member at WWF Deutschland, and Dr. Torsten Henzelmann, greentech expert and partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, about ways of developing the raw materials of the future. Dr. Palkovits, born in 1980, studied chemical engineering at TU Dortmund University and gained her doctorate at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Max Planck Institute for Coal Research). She is also an ambassador for Science Year 2010 with the motto “The Future of Energy,” an initiative launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


In view of the increasing scarcity of raw materials and the move towards climate protection, generating energy from plants is seen as a very innovative and promising approach. If scientists succeed in future in splitting the cellulose in plant cells into tiny parts much more efficiently than has so far been possible, this would open up many new areas of application. It could be used, for example, as a renewable raw material for the production of chemicals and fuels. Using the research results from the working group for the efficient use of biomass, Dr. Palkovits also wants to help developing countries and emerging markets position themselves as “energy suppliers of the future.


The topic's relevance to today's society, the innovative research approach, and Dr. Palkovits' previous achievements all combined to win over the selection committee chaired by Professor Klaus Töpfer. In his speech, the former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) underlined the close links between the fundamental convictions of Robert Bosch and the goals pursued by the program of the Junior Professorship “Sustainable Use of Natural Resources.” The Robert Bosch Stiftung sets aside up to 1 million euros for a period of five years for junior professorships in order to fund independent research at a German university or a chosen research institute. The deadline has just closed for entries for the next Robert Bosch Junior Professorship, which will be awarded in 2011.