The Sustainable Food Systems Research Centre consists of an interdisciplinary group of professors and researchers across the different faculties of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, to join forces and combine existing natural, engineering, social and economic expertise. The common goal of all members is to conduct research to help transform our food systems towards more sustainability.


Dietrich Darr

Professor of Agribusiness, Spokesperson of the Research Centre

Dietrich Darr`s research interests include the socioeconomics of agroforestry and smallholder agricultural and tree production systems, as well as the role of non-timber forest products in rural livelihoods and their value chains.
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Alexander Struck

Professor for Theoretical Physics

Alexander Struck is interested in mathematical modelling of complex systems and advanced data analytics. His actual research focuses on machine learning algorithms for optical and spectroscopical data to determine microbiological organisms on various surfaces qualitatively and quantitatively.
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Kathrin Meinhold

Research associate and project coordinator

Kathrin Meinhold´s research interests include the sustainable commercialisation of non-timber forest products, in particular how they may possibly transition from subsistence use to retail commodity.
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Steffi Wiedemann

Professor of Animal Science and Environmental Impacts
Steffi Wiedemann´s areas of interests include the characterization of biotic and abiotic effects on the welfare, health and performance of farm animals in different environments and in the establishment of preventive measures taking into account the production of safe food.
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Rolf Becker

Professor of Physics with Focus on Sensors and Mechatronics

Petra Blitgen-Heinecke

Professor of Process Engineering

Petra Blitgen-Heinecke´s research interests are engineering of processes and sustainable design of regional materials flows, especially food waste flows like coffee ground in order to use them as a raw material for the production of higher value goods.
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Dirk Bockmühl

Professor of Hygiene and Microbiology

Dirk Bockmühl´s research focuses on the analysis of microbial communities in the non-clinical setting and the investigation of antimicrobial efficacy of laundering, dishwashing and cleaning processes. The research also tries to elucidate the role of antimicrobial resistance in the domestic environment and the interactions with other areas, such as agriculture.
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Christoph Böhmer

Professor of Physiology

Jannike van Bruggen

Research associate and project coordinator ‘SUFACHAIN’

Jannike van Bruggen’s research interest lies in understanding climate change impacts on smallholder farming systems and their adaptive capacity, in particular in relation to agricultural water management. She has experience working on farm household level as well as on larger spatial scale combining information from household surveys with remotely sense information through geostatistical modelling approaches.
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Lily Chambers

Professor of Bionics

Lily Chambers´ research interests are in Biomimetics and include the development of surfaces, sensors and actuators that mimic biological principles. Her expertise includes bio-inspired and soft robotics, flow sensors, antifouling surfaces and artificial muscles.
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Jens Gebauer

Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems

Jens Gebauers´ applied teaching and research activities are based on botanical knowledge, horticultural know-how, and interdisciplinary, regional and international cooperation.
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Ute Hansen

Professor of Biology and environmental monitoring

Ute Hanse´s actual research focus is on new fast methods to detect microbiological contaminations relevant for sustainable food systems through applications in both, food production and monitoring of the safety of treated wastewater reused for agricultural irrigation.
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Ronny Hartanto

Professor of Technical Computer Science

Ronny Hartanto´s research interests include the precision farming including robotics and application of the information technology in the agriculture domain as well as machine interpretation of the collected data from the farm or environment.
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Michael Hemkemeyer

Project coordinator
‘C:N:P:et al.’

Michael Hemkemeyer’s research interest is in the field of soil microbial ecology. It focusses on the one hand on functions related to the stoichiometry of soil microbial biomass elements beyond carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and on the other hand on soil particle size fractions as colonisation sites and microhabitats.
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Drini Imami

Project Coordinator ´SusAVaIR`

Ingrid Jungwirth

Professor of Social Sciences, Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Ingrid Jungwirth´s research fields are mobility and migration, gender and diversity studies, sociology of work and gender as well as social theories. Her research and teaching focus on questions of participation in society.
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Matthias Kleinke

Professor of Environmental Technology

Matthias Kleinke´s research interests are applied environmental research and the recycling of material flow. Prof. Kleinke considers implementation-oriented cooperation with companies in the region as well as cooperation with international partners to be indispensable.
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Kerstin Koch

Professor of Biology and Nanobiotechnology

Kerstin Koch´s main fields of research: origin and functions of micro- and nanostructures on biological surfaces. Solid-liquid interfaces at superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic surfaces, structure formation by molecular self-assembly, molecular architectur of plant waxes, self-healing and crystallinity of plant waxes, development of biomimetic surfaces, e.g. with replica techniques.
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Waltraud Kofer

Projects ´Green FabLab` and ´HAW.International Modul B`

Ana Kreter

Project coordinator ´Agroforestry Living Laboratory`, TransRegINT

Florian Kugler

Professor of Food Science and Technology

William Megill

Professor of Bionics, Focus on Sensors and Robotics

Maryam Mehri

Research associate
in the third-party funded project "Pro4-HSRW"

Maryam Mehri's research focus includes Life cycle and Impact assessment, Risk analysis, Determination of the elemental composition, Data classification, Verification of sustainability standards and labels.
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Jannis Menne

Research Associate ´Agroforestry Living Laboratory`, TransRegINT

Jannis Menne's research interest is the interaction between (agro-)silvopastoral systems and livestock husbandry within the context of environmental factors and animal welfare. Employing a technology-based approach, the aim is to gain a better understanding of the environmental and animal welfare implications of agroforestry systems.
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Ute Merbecks

Professor of Sustainable Finance und Sustainability Reporting

Ute Merbecks´ current research interests are in the field of sustainability reporting across different industries, e.g., the food industry. Additionally, corporate responsibility in the digital age is on her research agenda. Her expertise lies in the areas of corporate finance, management accounting, financial accounting, group control, and risk management.
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Anna-Lea Ortmann

Research Associate ´Agroforestry Living Laboratory`, TransRegINT

Simone Pauling

Professor of Safety, Quality control, Health and Environmental Protection

Simone Pauling´s research interests include quality and sustainability along agri-food chains, in regional as well as global value chains. It is her aim to foster the production of safe, high quality, affordable and sustainable food while safeguarding the natural environment, using natural resources sensibly and enabling all participants in the supply chains a good living standard.
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Frank Platte

Professor of Chemical Process Engineering

Roland Schmetz

Professor of Drivetrain Engineering, Power Electronics

Roland Schmetz´s research interests focus on energy-efficient and sustainable drive systems, the efficient energy supply of (mobile) machinery, tractors, other agricultural machinery, construction machinery and (rail) vehicles including appropriate methodology and energy and environmental impact analyses for their development, design and comparison.
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Neil Shirtcliffe

Professor of Biomaterials

Neil Shirtcliffe´s research interests incl. measuring the degradation of biomaterials; investigating superhydrophobicity and similar phenomena, interactions of implants, measuring and extracting information from spectroscopy and electrochemistry in the food field that involved analysing spectra to detect bacteria on the surface and reactions of polyphenols in food.
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Nele Vahrenhorst

Project Coordinator ´SDG-Partnership`

Conor Watson

Scientific Associate, Soil Science

Conor Watson´s research interests are assessing the effects of amendments on soil biology and chemistry, plant nutrition via secondary fertilisers and remediation of contaminated soils.
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Florian Wichern

Professor of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition

Florian Wichern´s research focuses on improving nutrient and carbon use efficiency of food systems. He aims to quantify nutrient flows at different scales from the plant-soil-microbe interface to the regional scale in order to assess management and abiotic stress effects on soil organic matter accumulation and nutrient provision to plants.
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Tobias Wünscher

Professor of Agribusiness

Maria Gomez Vale

Research associate and Start-up Scout Start Glocal

Maria Gomes Vale´s current research interests lay on interactions among environment, trade, and health; with the use of geographical evaluation methods and econometric modelling.
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