The Future of Agricultural Sciences
The former President of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Professor Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, received the medal of the Max Schönleutner Gesellschaft Weihenstephan (MSGW) at their 10th anniversary celebration. Gerd Sonnleitner, former President of the Bavarian, German and European Farmers’ Associations, was also awarded this prize. In his speech, TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann emphasized the importance of agricultural sciences.
"The Max Schönleutner Gesellschaft Weihenstephan and TUM have always had the same common goal: to promote future-oriented research and training and to support innovative talents in agricultural and horticultural sciences at TUM," explained President Hofmann.
President Emeritus Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann started a far-reaching reform and transformation of the TUM campus Freising-Weihenstephan in the year 2000. He established the Wissenschaftszentrum für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt (TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan) in order to deal with topics that are crucial for our century, such as world nutrition, lack of raw materials and climate change, at the highest scientific level.
Internationality and interdisciplinarityIn his speech Thomas F. Hofmann pointed out the potential of the "Green Campus" Weihenstephan, stating that with outstanding scientists, complemented by excellent international appointments, it was possible to focus on the digital transformation along the core topics of crop and livestock sciences, ecology and environment.
It was essential to join forces especially on such pressing issues as "How do we feed the growing world population?" or "What forms of land use are promising for the future?". Hofmann called for building bridges between the disciplines, as this would open up interdisciplinary horizons and opportunities.
Ideal conditions at WeihenstephanThe structures in Weihenstephan are excellent - for example with the World Agricultural Systems Center (Hans Eisenmann-Forum for Agricultural Sciences). Here, the creation of the new "TUMagrar Zukunftswerkstatt" (TUM Think Tank for the future of agriculture) is planned. Together with representatives from the spheres of science, industry and associations, future topics will be discussed and new findings provided for science, government, industry and society.
An Agro&FoodTech Venture Lab is also planned in Weihenstephan in order to promote company start-ups based on science. In this maker space, creative ideas and innovative technologies in the agricultural and food sector will be tested and brought to market maturity.
New study programmes and teaching formatsThe Master’s programs in agricultural sciences have been modernized. TUM now offers a Master in Agrosystem Sciences and from the coming winter semester in "Agricultural Biosciences".
In general, Hofmann promoted a new understanding of teaching. By offering more online teaching, it would be possible to create extra capacity which should lead to new face-to-face formats on campus. "We have to use the attendance phases to get students to interact."
Awarding the Max Schönleutner MedalWolfgang A. Herrmann, former President of TUM, and Gerd Sonnleitner, former President of the European, German and Bavarian Farmers’ Associations, subsequently received medals from the MSGW.
In 2007, both were key contributors to the reappraisal and restructuring of the fields of agricultural and horticultural sciences, which led to a target agreement for the agricultural sciences in 2008. TUM President emeritus Herrmann continued the pursuit of these goals in 2018 in a new agreement with the Bavarian Ministry of Science to strengthen the agricultural sciences.
Technical University of Munich Dr. Katharina Baumeister
The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is setting new trends in agricultural sciences: Under the leitmotif of digitalization, the "World Agricultural Systems Center - Hans Eisenmann-Forum" will capitalize on the...