ATB Director now heading the European agricultural engineering community
Prof. Dr. Barbara Sturm, Scientific Director of the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), took over the presidency of the European Association of Agricultural Engineers EurAgEng yesterday during the AgEng-LAND.TECHNIK 2022 - International Conference on Agricultural Engineering in Berlin.
The handover of the EurAgEng presidency was made by the previous president Prof. Dr. Prof. Fátima Baptista from the University of Évora, Portugal during the AgEng Conference 2022, which is being held this year together with the LAND.TECHNIK conference of the Max Eyth Society of the Association of German Engineers (VDI-MEG).
The European Society of Agricultural Engineers (EurAgEng) was founded in 1992 in a spirit of cooperation to network experts from science and industry in the field of agricultural and biosystems engineering, to exchange knowledge and experience and to promote expertise across national borders. A special focus is on cooperation between academic and industrial research in multi- and transdisciplinary projects and on the promotion of young scientists.
Recalling this spirit of the foundation, Barbara Sturm outlined the tasks ahead: "We are facing major global challenges such as food security, environmental and climate protection, which we can only tackle together. European research institutions, universities and colleges, as well as industrial alliances, are currently working intensively on a wide variety of technical solutions to make agriculture fit for climate change and for the transformation to a biobased circular economy. These innovative puzzle pieces need to be brought together more strongly than before. We need intensive dialogue and close cooperation, also with industry and business, in the areas of digitalisation, robotics and automation, in order to be able to realise both resource and energy-saving as well as feasible solutions for a diversified, sustainable agriculture more quickly than ever before," says Barbara Sturm. "We have to think not only in systems, but must also communicate and collaborate with other disciplines and on the global stage. EurAgEng can provide an ideal platform for achieving this. I want to get that off the ground," says the new EurAgEng President. She added that another central concern for her is the promotion of young engineers within the framework of EurAgEng. New formats for the exchange and cooperation of young professionals from science and industry at European level are needed to strengthen the attractiveness of the sector. There is still room for improvement, says Barbara Sturm.
The current President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), Keith Tinsey, emphasised in his welcome address how important it is to intensify the transatlantic exchange and to work together on global solutions more intensively than before. He identified several linkages here, for example in the area of the ASABE initiative Circular Biobased Systems. Tinsey and Sturm have already agreed on further talks to explore the possibilities of a more intensive cooperation between EurAgEng and VDI-MEG with ASABE in the future.
Prof. Dr. Barbara Sturm has been heading the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy in Potsdam as Scientific Director and Chair of the Board since October 2020. In a joint appointment, she holds the professorship 'Agricultural Engineering in Bioeconomic Systems' at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Before moving to Potsdam, she led the research group 'Process and Systems Engineering in Agriculture' at the University of Kassel. Born in 1978, the agricultural engineer received her doctorate from the University of Kassel in 2010 and initially conducted research at the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, Newcastle University (UK). In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Anton Schlüter Medal of the KTBL for her habilitation.
Barbara Sturm is, among other positions, Vice-President of the Leibniz Association and a member of the Board of the German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA). In 2021, she was chosen as a member of the 'Teaching and Research' expert committee of the VDI Max-Eyth-Gesellschaft Agrartechnik (VDI-MEG). Full-time agricultural engineering professors at both universities and universities of applied sciences are networked in this committee. Since 2022, Barbara Sturm has also been a member of the Technical Advisory Board, the executive committee of the VDI-MEG. Here, she is the German representative in the 'EurAgEng Council'.
The engineering discipline Agricultural Engineering combines the disciplines of mechanical, civil, electrical and process engineering with an understanding of agricultural principles based on technological considerations in order to improve the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural processes. Biosystems Engineering also combines engineering with applied biological and environmental sciences.
The Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy is a pioneer and a driver of bioeconomy research. Its research creates scientific foundations for the transformation of agricultural, food, industrial and energy systems into a comprehensive biobased circular economy. The focus is on the development and integration of techniques, processes and management strategies, effectively converging technologies to intelligently crosslink highly diverse bioeconomic production systems and to control them in a knowledge-based, adaptive and largely automated manner. ATB conducts research in dialogue with society - motivated by knowledge and inspired by applications.