Disseminating research and knowledge: IAPN
An ever-increasing world population, changing dietary habits and climate change currently impose great demands on agricultural research. All over the world, a more efficient use of cropland and of pastures, of water and of nutrients in agriculture play increasingly important roles. One of the central issues is how to use intelligent nutrient management in order to raise the efficiency of limited resources such as water and soil. Another important challenge within this context is to increase productivity and yield security, while at the same time improving the quality of the harvested products. The Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition – IAPN, a public-private partnership between K+S and the Georg-August-University of Goettingen, is devoted to finding answers to these and to other questions.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, Director of Innovation Lab AgTech and Nutrition of K+S and Managing Director of the IAPN.
An Important Contribution to International Food Security
“With the IAPN we provide a boost to application-oriented research in the field of plant nutrition and fertilisation”, is how Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, Director of Applied Research and Advisory Service Agro of K+S and Managing Director of the IAPN, explains his company’s commitment. In doing so the manufacturer of potash and magnesium fertilisers contributes considerably to meeting the challenges agricultural research is facing today. Agriculture is called upon to ensure its ability to feed the future population of the world, and to efficiently use the existing resources.
Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, Scientific Director of the IAPN.
Current research focus of the IAPN
“In the future, limiting factors such as water scarcity or heat stress will increasingly need to be taken into consideration in plant nutrition. This is currently the one of the greatest challenge our scientific discipline is facing.“ This is how Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert describes the most important demands placed on agricultural research at the moment. He was appointed Scientific Director of the Institute in May 2011. “An important research focus of the institute is the question of how to use optimum nutrient supply to raise the water use efficiency of plants in order to ensure excellent yields even when water is scarce.” Junior Professor Dr. Mehmet Senbayram and several PhD-students have meanwhile joined Prof. Dr. Dittert in his search for answers to these questions.
Doctoral Projects on Efficient Water Use
At the end of 2016, three IAPN PhD candidates successfully completed their doctoral projects. Their work focused on aspects of the efficient use of water for crops. More on IAPN research projects
Junior professor Prof. Dr. Merle Tränkner, scientific assistant at IAPN.
Junior professor at IAPN
Dr. Merle Tränkner became a junior professor at the IAPN in 2017. Questions relating to the supply of nutrition to crops and the efficient use of resources, such as water, for example, are the focal point of her research activity. These issues build on the research results previously achieved by the IAPN. “The constant growth in the global population and the problems posed by the increasing scarcity of resources make plant and food production that is sustainable and conserves resources while being simultaneously adequate particularly important,” says Merle Tränkner. “The efficient use of water and nutrients is of central importance for obtaining optimal plant growth and represents an exciting challenge for research at the same time.”
A Look at the work of the IAPN
“IAPN in Dialogue”: within the scope of his professional training programme Daniel Olol from Uganda discusses a presentation on the relevance of knowledge transfer regarding the food and income security of smallholders with students, scientists and guest from other research fields. More on this topic available at the IAPN website. (Photograph: Dach)
A successful partnership: staff members of the IAPN, the Division of Plant Nutrition and Crop Physiology at the University of Goettingen, and K+S KALI GmbH, at their meeting in Goettingen on 15 April 2013. (Photo: Dach)
Insights into research at the IAPN: doctoral student Balint Jakli (right) presents his research project. His audience (from left to right): Dr. Ernst Andres, K+S KALI GmbH; Prof. Dr. Mehmet Senbayram and Merle Tränkner, IAPN; Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, K+S KALI GmbH. (Photo: Dach)
Junior Professor Mehmet Senbayram explains tests conducted at the IAPN, on how to improve the water-use-efficiency of plants by improving their nutrient supply. (Photograph: Dach)
Taking a look at an experimental set-up for investigating the influence of nutrient supply on the water use efficiency of agricultural crops. (Photo: Dach)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, doctoral student Merle Tränkner and technical assistant Kirsten Fladung working at the laboratory.
The first international and interdisciplinary symposium on magnesium was held from 8-9 May 2012 at the University of Goettingen, Germany, and drew more than 120 participants from 30 countries. The conference was hosted by the IAPN. (Photograph: Herwig)
Organisers of the symposium (left to right): Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, K+S KALI GmbH; Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak, Sabanci University Istanbul; Dr. Andrea Rosanoff, Center for Magnesium Education & Research; Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, Director of the IAPN. (Photo: Herwig)
The 2012 symposium on magnesium also included a competition for the best scientific poster. The jury of this poster competition included (from left to right): Prof. Dr. Ernest Kirkby, University of Leeds; Prof. Dr. Don Huber, Purdue University and Prof. Dr. Joska Gerendas, K+S KALI GmbH. (Photo: Herwig)
Junior Professor Mehmet Senbayram (centre), who heads a group of junior scientists at the IAPN, immersed in conversation at the 2012 magnesium symposium. (Photo: Herwig)
Opening the freshly renovated offices and labs of the IAPN on 3 March 2012 (left to right): Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, K+S KALI GmbH; Dr. Ernst Andres, K+S KALI GmbH; Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel, President of the Georg-August-University of Goettingen and Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, IAPN. (Photo: Herwig)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee (left) is responsible for the research cooperation on the side of K+S KALI GmbH. Scientific Director of the institute is Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert. (Photo: Herwig)
A tour of the freshly renovated premises of the IAPN. Shortly after the picture was taken all laboratories were outfitted with new analysis equipment. (Photo: Herwig)
The agreement on the research co-operation was signed on 5 November 2010 (From left to right): Dr. Ernst Andres, Executive Director of K+S KALI GmbH; Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, Director of Applied Research and Advisory Service Agro of K+S KALI GmbH, Prof. Dr. Kurt von Figura, President of the University of Goettingen, and Prof. Dr. Dr. Bertram Brenig, Dean of Faculty. (Photo: Georg-August-University Goettingen)
K+S Board Member Andreas Radmacher (2nd from left) visits the IAPN. PHD student Ershad Tavakol explains the existing methods of analysis. (Photograph: IAPN)
Thorsten Scheile has received the sponsorship award of the agricultural economy 2014 for his master thesis. Topic of the paper, which he wrote at the IAPN, is the emissions decrease in agriculture. (Photograph: agrarzeitung)
In November 2014 the IAPN hold the second international magnesium symposium with approximately 100 participants in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photograph: IAPN)
Sasakawa Africa Assocation employee Christine Kyomugisha presented the concept of the farmer learning platforms at the “IAPN in dialogue” in September 2014. The concept is used in Uganda to perform a knowledge transfer to small scale farmers. (Photograph: IAPN)
The IAPN-team 2014 (from left to right): Martina Renneberg, Secretary, Kirsten Fladung and Ulrike Kierbaum, technical assistants, Balint Jakli, PHD student, Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, Head of Science, Merle Tränker and Ershad Tavakol, PHD students, Junior professor Dr. Mehmet Senbayram. (Photograph: IAPN)
Bestowal of the Georg Forster research award to Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak (right). Prof. Cakmak, who worked as a guest scientist at the IAPN in 2014, receives the award from the president of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, Prof. Dr. Helmut Schwarz. (Photograph: Humboldt-Stiftung/Ausserhofer)
Daniel Olol (middle), who works for the “Growth for Uganda” project stayed at the IAPN for a couple of weeks to enhance his knowledge about plant nutrition and ground analysis. With him in the picture are Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, Head of Science at the IAPN (left) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee, Head of Applied Research and Advisory Service Industry at K+S KALI GmbH and IAPN managing director. (Photograph: IAPN)
Partnership for a constructive dialogue between research and practice
K+S has gathered a wealth of knowledge on plant nutrition, and has already set up a number of international research co-operations. This joint project of the University of Goettingen and K+S is meant to bundle the available resources of both organisations and to integrate the numerous individual projects into an international network. The IAPN will serve as an interface between the industry and university research. The institute’s scientists will pick up on topical issues raised by practice, and will implement these in concrete research projects.
The IAPN is a so-called public-private-partnership between the Georg-August-University Goettingen and K+S. In terms of organisation and location, the new institute is closely tied to the Department of Crop Sciences of the University of Goettingen, and will conduct its international research projects in accordance with German scientific standards.
Challenge of knowledge transfer
In addition to research, spreading new but also existing knowledge is a key task for the IAPN. Students at Göttingen University and guest scientists that can later pass on knowledge themselves are among the most important target groups. The intensive exchange between IAPN and K+S bolsters the competence of the company’s agriculturalists, who are active worldwide in advising on agricultural practice. With international symposiums on magnesium in 2012 and 2014, the IAPN provided an important stimulus for interdisciplinary exchanges between scientists who are leading magnesium specialists.
During the “IAPN im Dialog” series of events, scientists and practitioners report on projects concerning plant cultivation and plant nutrition. The events, which have an international character, are aimed at students, scientists and other interested persons.
Read more about the work of the IAPN