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Bioeconomy: Germany and Brazil Pool Resources

A joint platform is being set up in Jülich for sustainable plant and agricultural research

Berlin/Jülich, 20 January 2012 – The largest agricultural research corporation in Brazil (Embrapa) is to establish a laboratory (LABEX) at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The corresponding agreements were signed in Berlin today as part of the International Green Week. The collaborative research will focus on the topics of bioeconomy and plant phenotyping. German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, her Brazilian counterpart Mendes Ribeiro Filho and Dr. Henk van Liempt from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research emphasized the importance of this cooperation for the sustainable development of this key issue for the future.

With more than 8,300 employees, Embrapa (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária) is the largest agricultural research organization in Brazil. In spring 2012, it will set up a German LABEX as an external laboratory of the European LABEX based in Montpelier. Forschungszentrum Jülich, one of the largest centres in the Helmholtz Association, has been chosen as the location.

The LABEX will function as a platform for cooperation between Brazilian researchers and German research institutions, the scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC). It will facilitate the pooling of expertise and allow these scientists access to unique infrastructures. The aim is to increase the yield and quality of agricultural products while simultaneously conserving natural resources. "The cooperation shows how strong the science partnership is between Germany and Brazil. Germany and Brazil, leading science nations in Europe and South America, are combining their resources in order to address the challenges of tomorrow and to contribute to sustainably providing the world’s population with food, renewable resources and bioenergy. The German-Brazilian Year of Science Technology and Innovation 2010/11 intensified this partnership and provided the impetus for this cooperation, bolstering agricultural research within the bioeconomy," says Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Research and Education, speaking about the collaboration.

Plant-environment interactions and their use in plant breeding (phenotyping), the adaptation of crops to climate change and the sustainable use of resources in agroecosystems will be the central topics of joint research in the LABEX. The results will be used to design integrated and sustainable production systems for the bioeconomy of food and feed crops, renewable resources and bioenergy.

The establishment of the LABEX is an important contribution intensifying the collaboration between Brazil and Germany in agricultural and plant research. "It is a milestone in the cooperation that was agreed upon by both countries during the German-Brazilian Year of Science Technology and Innovation 2010/11. Brazil is already one of the most important countries for the production of food and feed crops, renewable resources and bioenergy. The country will play a key role in a future bioeconomy," says Prof. Ulrich Schurr, director of the institute for plant research at Jülich, where the new LABEX Germany will be established. Germany contributes its globally recognized strengths in plant sciences and its unique technological expertise in plant phenotyping to the cooperation.

Further information:

About Embrapa

About the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC)

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr
Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Plant Sciences (IBG-2)
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel: +49 2461 61-3073
Email: u.schurr@fz-juelich.de

Press contacts:

Dr. Barbara Schunk, Annette Stettien
Tel: +49 2461 61-8031/-4771
Email: b.schunk@fz-juelich.de, a.stettien@fz-juelich.de


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