Interreg (Euregio Rhein-Maas-Nord) • 2022-2026

Benefits of Frass als Teilprojekt in Agropole Innovates

The BeneFrass project investigates the potential of waste streams from commercial insect production as specialty fertilizer and soil amendment. The study assesses the nutrient content, risks, and benefits associated with insect waste, known as frass. It employs lab analyses, pot trials, and field experiments to evaluate the effects on soil microbial communities and nutrient cycling.

The project begins by characterizing waste streams from insect production facilities, analyzing frass for nutrients and trace elements. Pot trials are conducted to assess the impact of frass on soil microbes, enzyme activities, carbon and nutrient dynamics.

Field experiments evaluate frass as a fertilizer in real agricultural settings. Frass is applied to crops at different rates, and its effects on crop productivity, soil health, and environmental parameters are monitored.

BeneFrass aims to determine the potential of insect waste as specialty fertilizer and soil amendment. By considering nutrient content and potential risks, it supports sustainable waste management and innovative agricultural solutions. Findings will advance our understanding of insect waste, soil microbes, and nutrient cycling, enhancing agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.


Funded by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Programm WIR! • 2023 – 2025

Charakterisierung organischer Massenströme zur potenziellen Nutzbarmachung enthaltener Wertstoffe

Im Verbundvorhaben CoMpoNent werden die vielfältigen Rest- und Nebenströme der regionalen Agrar- und Lebensmittelwirtschaft auf ihre wertgebenden Inhaltsstoffe untersucht und eine Einschätzung zur weiteren Nutzung im Sinne einer biobasierten Circular Economy erarbeitet. 


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) • 2023-2026

Kombinierte Produktionssysteme für Ackerbau, Land- und Forstwirtschaft

Das Agroforst-Reallabor ist Teil des TransRegINT-Projekts an der Hochschule Rhein-Waal. Es zielt darauf ab, unterschiedliche Agroforstsysteme zu entwickeln, die an die natürlichen, strukturellen und sozioökonomischen Bedingungen der Region Niederrhein optimal angepasst sind, und diese gemeinsam mit Projektpartner umzusetzen.
Die Umsetzung soll im Rahmen des Projektes durch die Hochschule Rhein-Waal wissenschaftlich begleitet werden, um Daten zu den langfristigen ökologischen, ökonomischen und sozialen Leistungen dieser Systeme zu erheben. Darüber hinaus sieht das Projekt die Schaffung eines regionalen Netzwerks aus verschiedenen Akteure vor, die direkt und indirekt an den agroforstlichen Produktionsketten beteiligt sind (z. B. Hersteller von Agrartechnik, Landwirte, Genossenschaften, landwirtschaftliche Berater und Dienstleister, Lebensmitteleinzelhandel, Gemeinden, Interessenverbände usw.). Das Reallabor ist dabei offen für die Einbindung neuer Partner, die an der Entwicklung und Umsetzung von Agroforstsystemen in der Region interessiert sind.

Kurzfristig zielt das Projekt darauf ab, Demonstrationsflächen für verschiedene Agroforstsysteme in der Region Niederrhein zu schaffen und diese wissenschaftlich zu begleiten. Damit wollen wir langfristig dazu beitragen, Agroforstwirtschaft als eine nachhaltige und wirtschaftlich tragfähige Alternative zu bestehenden Produktionssystemen für europäische Landwirte zu etablieren.

© Tony Oliveira / Sistema CNA / Senar

C:N:P:et al.

Funded by German Research Foundation (DFG) • 2023-2026

The unknown soil microbial stoichiometry and its potential use 

The soil microbial community provides important ecosystem services and is intergral part of soil health and fertility. A microbial cell consists of biomolecules comprising the structural elements C, H, O, N, P, and S. Physiological and structural stability is granted by the ionic elements K, Na, Cl, Ca, and Mg. For fulfilling specific functions proteins like enzymes contain the proteinogenic metals Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, and Mo. Depending on the kind of organism or the environmental conditions further elements can play specific roles like Se, Co, Ni, W, B, or Si. From the level of single cells to the whole community, sets of elements can be recognised, which are needed for growth and maintenance of the soil microbial biomass and the single processes of the ecosystem services ( However, the ratio of soil microbial biomass C to any other element, i.e. the stoichiometry, needed for running these processes is not known.

Determination of soil microbial biomass elements was restricted to C, N, P, S, and K and for the C:N:P ratio a relative homeostatic value has been found. A protocol developed in the Soil ionoMICS project (see below) enables now determining further microbial biomass elements ( Using soils, which by long-term fertilisation treatments differ in their nutritional status, the project aims at finding which elements behave homeostatic or plastic. We want to link the bioavailable elements and the soil microbial biomass elements to functions like enzyme activities and to the abundance of functional genes coding for metalloproteins. The grand goal is to find out whether the knowledge of soil bioavailable elements and microbial biomass stoichiometry can be used to enhance microbial growth and ecosystem services by addition of elements in limitation.


Funded by DAAD • 2023-2025

North-SouthSouth partnership between Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences (HSRW), Makerere University, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MAK), and the Central University of Technology (CUT)

Africa is facing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss driven by rapid population growth, persisting poverty, food insecurity, unsustainable natural resource use, and climate change. University graduates will play a central role in solving these societal, political, technological and ecological challenges, e.g. through developing appropriate sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity ‘conservation through use’ strategies. Graduates will require flexibility and adaptability, strong cooperation skills, and the ability to deal with dynamic and complex problems. Academic education must therefore enhance reflective and discourse-oriented teaching and focus on integrating research and academic teaching. Guided self-study forms of learning are required to enhance the independence of the students and develop a problem-solving mind-set.

Against this background, the proposed project aims at enhancing SDG-related research and teaching through a strong North-South-South partnership between Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences (HSRW), Makerere University, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MAK), and the Central University of Technology (CUT), to prepare graduate students for the societal challenges ahead and the requirements of the job market. This includes updated curricula and didactic methods, pedagogical practices that encourage students to develop conceptual learning, critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as improving digitalisation and building capacity among lecturers to teach digitally.


Funded by BMEL • 2022-2025

Improving the sustainable management of the Brazilian Cerrado through quantifying and valorising ecosystem services of autochthonous silvopastoral systems

The Brazilian Cerrado is a savanna of global importance. It is severely threatened by agricultural expansion and forest conversion into intensively managed pastures. Autochthonous silvopastoral systems (SPS) are a more sustainable alternative, yet financially less profitable than intensively managed systems under current conditions.

The project aims to contribute to the sustainable management of the Cerrado through quantification and valorisation of ecosystem services provided by SPS, and through monetizing these services via SPS product labels and certification, value-added processing of non-timber forest products, and carbon credits.

This will improve the profitability of SPS relative to other land uses. Specifically, the project will (1) map the current and model the future distribution of SPS under climate change and management scenarios; (2) quantify and valuate the ecosystem services they provide; (3) assess the factors determining their adoption and management; (4) develop business cases to monetize ecosystem services provided by SPS; and (5) develop policy recommendations and decision support.

The project will furthermore build the capacity of extension agents and farmers, and the scientific expertise of German and Brazilian junior and senior researchers.


Funded by BMBF • 2022-2025

Promoting sustainable land management through product, process and SME development in NTFP and agroforestry value chains of Central Asia

Landscapes in Central Asia face considerable degradation pressure. Population growth, economic development and the transformation of traditional lifestyles are expected to further increase pressures on local environmental resources jeopardizing local livelihoods. While the integration of trees into agricultural landscapes in agroforestry systems is associated with significant environmental and social benefits, such production systems are still not widely adopted in the region. Given that the profitability of various agroforestry systems and tree plantations involving walnut, almond and/or apple trees in combination with hay making or agricultural crops has been demonstrated, the limited adoption of agroforestry systems by local farmers has mostly been attributed to a lack of technologies; land tenure insecurity, a lack of knowledge among farmers and local researchers, as well as poorly developed markets and processing industries.

Against this background, the project aims to contribute to the sustainable management of agricultural and forest landscapes in Central Asia. The focus is on the design and analysis of agroforestry and plantation systems, development of more efficient food processing technologies and higher quality food products, the improvement of marketing channels through supply chain transparency, strengthening of producer organizations and certification, and increasing of local value creation through valorisation of selected ecosystem services.


Funded by DAAD • 2022-2024

Analysis of ecosystem services and socioeconomic performance of silvopastoral systems in the Brazilian Cerrado (EcoCer)

The Cerrado is a major centre of agricultural production in Brazil. Most of the agricultural commodities are produced in mono-cropping systems on large commercial estates, and to a lesser extent by smallholder producers. As a consequence of intensive agricultural production, the Cerrado region faces significant sustainability challenges. Accumulated deforestation in the Cerrado already amounts to 49%.

While land management in the Cerrado traditionally included autochthonous silvopastoral systems that involve cattle production on low-input pastures dominated by various native tree species, these agroforestry systems are of lower productivity and profitability and, therefore, threatened by conversion into more intensive production systems by local smallholders despite their advantageous environmental performance. The project aims to contribute to increasing the productivity and profitability of silvopastoral systems, and to simultaneously improving more intensive agricultural production systems by investigating and analysing the (a) geographical distribution and structure, (b) ecosystem services provisioned, (c) socioeconomic performance, and (d) adoption and dissemination of these systems in the Cerrado.


Funded by BMEL • 2022 – 2025 

Zukunftsfähige Rinderhaltung in Deutschland unter Berücksichtigung von Tierwohl, Umweltwirkungen und gesellschaftlicher Akzeptanz

Animal Welfare Xperience

“Tierschutz erLeben”

Funded by BMEL • 2021-2024

“Animal Welfare Xperience” – Development of a virtual teaching/ learning platform for better understanding of animal welfare of cattle and sheep in the context of professional training

In Germany, cattle and sheep farming plays an important role in supplying people with animal food and in preserving the cultural landscape. Traditionally, knowledge about animal health and welfare for stakeholders directly involved in livestock farming is mainly taught at universities of applied sciences, as part of training as an agricultural and animal farmer  or at technical colleges.

The primary goal of the project “Tierschutz erLeben” is the development of an online teaching/learning. On the basis of an interactive, up-to-date learning map and a simulation game, current and future players in livestock farming are offered a choice of learning modules with which they can acquire knowledge about the basics of animal welfare and herd management of cattle and sheep and apply, analyze and evaluate this knowledge in a playful way. The e-learning offer can be used completely independently in self-study or integrated into a course in the sense of a modular system. The project aims to make a significant contribution to improving knowledge transfer in the field of animal welfare of cattle and sheep.


Funded by BMBF • 2021-2025

COMplex Biofilms and AMR Transmission

Antibiotic resistance is recognised as a critical threat in both human and animal medicine. Addressing this threat can be challenging when bacteria exist in complicated communities called biofilms. Biofilms form naturally and allow bacteria to survive and persist in diverse environments. Surviving bacteria facilitates the spread of antibiotic resistance genes contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

The COMBAT (COMplex Biofilms and AMR Transmission) project will identify interventions that can actually control complex biofilms in three different environments, thereby decreasing the threat of antimicrobial resistance spreading. COMBAT’s approach is based on solid novel laboratory-based biofilm study but also on the application of interventions in the domestic, healthcare and animal environments, providing a direct application to control real “One Health” antibiotic resistance problem.


Funded by Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, im Rahmen des Förderprogramms FF HAW-Kooperation

• 2021-2023

Entwicklung innovativer Verfahren zur mikrobiologischen Qualitätsüberwachung in Echtzeit

Daten zu bakteriellen Belastungen liegen bei Anwendung etablierter Kultivierungsmethoden erst nach Tagen vor. Mit Expertise in Biologie, Physik und Verfahrenstechnik aus drei Fakultäten der Hochschule Rhein-Waal wird an schnelleren Verfahren zur Detektion und Identifikation von Mikroorganismen geforscht.

Ziel des Projektes ist die Entwicklung biophysikalischer Verfahren zur schnellen Identifikation mikrobi­eller Kontaminationen in Gewässern. Im Mittelpunkt stehen dabei For­schungs- und Entwicklungsaktivitäten mit dem Ziel, ein Verfahren zu entwickeln, das es erlaubt, mit Hilfe der Raman-Mikrospektroskopie Bakterien auf Einzelzellebene zu identifizieren. Untersuchungen der mikrobiologischen Kontamination von Trinkwasser, Lebensmitteln und Oberflächengewässern dauern üblicherweise mehrere Tage, so dass eine schnelle optische Detektion mittels Raman-Mikrospektroskopie innovativ und hoch relevant für alle Bereiche der mikrobiologischen Qualitätsüberwachung ist.

Gleichzeitig werden im Rahmen des Forschungsschwerpunktes Kommunikations­strukturen aufgebaut, die die Wissenschaft mit potentiellen Nutzern aus Industrie, Analytik und Umweltüberwachung zu­sammenbringen.


Funded by EU Central Asia Invest Program • 2020-2022

Expansion of Local Smallholder Organic Farming and Forest Products from Central Asia

ELSOFP Central Asia is a 3-year project to boost the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agri-forest-food sector of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan through increasing the efficiency and sustainability of production and processing of food products from smallholder farming and forest management operations. Sustainable management of natural resources, in particular of agricultural, forest and pasture lands, will be promoted through organic production practices, which reduces adverse impacts on climate change and enhances natural biodiversity compared to intensive agriculture practices. Furthermore, sustainable high-quality value chains for Central Asian food products to EU markets will be established through improving collaboration and coordination of stakeholders along the value chain.


Funded by BMEL • 2019-2022

Quality improvement and more efficient utilization of products derived from the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) to enhance food security and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

The rapid growth of the baobab processing sector, particularly in Malawi, has led to substantial challenges that significantly constrain the benefits derived from baobab utilization. These challenges include as poor and inconsistent raw material quality; safety, shelf-life, and quality issues of processed products; nutrient loss and waste streams during processing; or the predominance of largely informal processing enterprises of low economic performance. In cooperation with partners from science and practice, the BAOQUALITY project, therefore, aims to improve the quality and safety of baobab products, optimize local processing technologies and increase resource efficiency during processing.

This intends to support baobab collectors and processors in improving their products and processing technologies and help diversify their sources of income. Ultimately, this will contribute to improving the supply of nutritious, safe and affordable baobab food products, and achieve nutrition and food security objectives.


Funded by BMBF • 2019-2022

Entwicklung von innovativen Formulierungsverfahren mit Nutzpilzen als neuartige Pflanzenstärkungsmittel für die Kartoffelfruchtfolge

Die Kartoffel ist eine der wichtigsten Kulturpflanzen in Deutschland und Europa. Doch das sich stetig erwärmende Klima, zunehmende Wetterextreme wie Trockenheit oder Starkregenereignisse und steigender Schädlingsbefall setzen der Knolle allerdings immer stärker zu. Um Kartoffeln gegenüber solchen Umwelteinflüssen besser schützen zu können und und in ihrer Fruchtfolge zu stärken, zielt FORK darauf ab, Formulierungs- und sogenannte Ummantelungsverfahren (Saatgutcoatings) mit verschiedenen Nutzpilzen zu entwickeln, die die Fruchtfolge nachhaltig stärken sollen.

Antibiotikaresistenzen im Haushalt

Funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) • 2018-2022

Analyse der potentiellen Transferpfade von Antibiotikaresistenzen aus der Umwelt in den Haushalt und Entwicklung von Verbraucherempfehlungen

Ein bislang vernachlässigter Bereich im Zusammenhang mit Antibiotikaresistenzen ist das häusliche Umfeld, obwohl diesem durch den Umgang mit Lebensmitteln, die mit der medizinisch und landwirtschaftlich bedingten Problematik der Antibiotikanutzung in Verbindung stehen, eine zentrale Rolle zukommt. Wasserführende Systeme (Abflüsse, Geschirrspüler, Waschmaschinen) spielen eine bislang unterschätzte Rolle. Die Analyse der möglichen Transferpfade von Antibiotikaresistenzen im häuslichen Umfeld kann helfen, die möglichen Risiken des Transfers innerhalb des Haushalts und aus dem Haushalt in die Umwelt abzuschätzen. Es soll ein vertieftes Wissen über Transferpfade erlangt werden, welches abschließend als Projektergebnis Verbrauchern und anderen Beteiligten zugänglich gemacht werden soll.


Funded by Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (MULNV) • 2018-2019

Evaluation von Biomasseerfassungsmethoden in intensivem, mehrschnittigem Grünland

Düngung von intensiv genutztem Grünland sollte neben der Maximierung der geernteten Biomasse in hoher Qualität zunehmend auf eine effizientere Ressourcen-, insbesondere Stickstoffnutzung abzielen. Vor diesem Hintergrund zielt optiGRASS darauf, die N-Düngung im Grünland effizienter zu gestalten, N-Verluste zu minimieren und assoziierte negative Umwelteinflüsse zu reduzieren. Hierfür wurde ein Modell zur Vorhersage des Stickstoffbedarfes von intensivem Grünland zur Optimierung der Düngung und Reduzierung von Stickstoffverlusten erstellt.

Soil ionoMICS

Funded by Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (MKW​) • 2017-2020

Elementzusammensetzung von Bodenmikroorganismen und ihre Bedeutung als Indikator zur Bodenfruchtbarkeitsbewertung, sowie für die Kohlenstoff- und Stickstoffspeicherung von Böden

Die organische Bodensubstanz beeinflusst wichtige Bodenfunktionen und speichert große Mengen Kohlenstoff (C) und andere Elemente, wie Stickstoff (N) und Phosphor (P). Da etwa 50% der organischen Bodensubstanz aus mikrobiellen Residuen besteht, tragen die Bodenmikroorganismen substantiell zur C- und N-Speicherung im Boden bei. Die Förderung dieser Organismen stellt eine wichtige Maßnahme für eine klimafreundlichere Landwirtschaft dar. Neben verschiedenen Umweltfaktoren, werden Bodenmikroorganismen durch die Verfügbarkeit und Qualität organischer Verbindungen, die als Substrate dienen, und die Verfügbarkeit von Nährstoffen beeinflusst. Da Informationen zur Elementzusammensetzung von Bodenmikroorganismen kaum vorliegen, wurden in dem Projekt die Elementzusammensetzung von Bodenmikroorganismen (Soil ionoMICS) unter verschiedenen Landnutzungs- und Bewirtschaftungsformen, sowie unter Salz- und Trockenstress erfasst.


Funded by BMBF • 2017-2020

Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African food value chains

In Eastern Africa, post-harvest losses (PHL) are estimated to destroy between 20 and 60% of the food produced, thus contributing heavily to the devastating nutritional situation. Besides reducing the total amount of available food, PHL reduces quality and represent an unacceptable waste of scarce resources. PHL aggravates rural poverty by eroding income generation along the food value chain. The RELOAD project fostered a comprehensive approach to reduce PHL and improve rural livelihoods, shifting from the paradigm of ever-increasing production, towards increasing resource-use efficiency by increasing sustainability and raising value within the existing food value chains.


Funded by BMBF • 2017-2019

Analysis and Sustainable Use of the Food Potential of Undertilized Plant Species of Nut and Fruit Forests in Kyrgyzstan

The walnut-fruit forests in Kyrgyzstan constitute a unique resource, and are considered a biodiversity hotspot. However, current use patterns are unsustainable, large parts of the forest are over-aged and benefits derived from these forests are unequally distributed among local populations . Thus, the aim of SusWalFood is to contribute to the development of nutritious foods from wild plant species (fruit trees, shrubs, herbs) of Kyrgyz walnut forest ecosystems. This will contribute to local food security, the sustainable management of these natural resources and the development of new sources of income for the local population.


Funded by BMEL • 2016-2019

Quality improvement and more efficient utilization of Enhancing local food security and nutrition through promoting the use of Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in rural communities in Eastern Africa

The BAOFOOD project aimed at promoting the use, processing and market development of baobab for improved food/nutrition security and rural livelihoods in Kenya and the Sudan. To ensure a sufficient and sustainable supply of highly nutritious baobab products for the local communities in the target regions, the project investigated the current contribution of baobab raw and processed products to local diets, food security and income generation, assessed the distribution and abundance of baobab and its potential for future growth and development, and built capacities of local communities, particularly women, on value addition and raised their awareness on the value of baobab products for family nutrition.

Food Protects

Funded by INTERREG • 2016-2019

Food Production Technologies for Transboundary Systems

Food Pro·tec·ts soll hochklassige, technologische Innovationen in den Deutsch-Niederländischen Wirtschaftsraum bringen. Im Projekt kooperieren Unternehmer beider Länder mit Innovationsexperten innerhalb verschiedener Technologiecluster unter der Zielvorgabe, neue und neuartige Technologien gemeinsam zu entwickeln zum Fortschritt der so genannten Agrarwende. Die thematischen Schwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Erweiterung des Verbraucherschutzes und der Information von Verbrauchern; Reduzierung von Wasser- und Nahrungsmittelausschüssen innerhalb der Produktion; Verbesserung von Tierwohl und -gesundheit; sowie neue Wege bei der Transformation von Biomasse in wertvolle Produkte wie z.B. Futtermittel.

EffiZwisch 2.0

Funded by Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (MULNV) • 2015-2022

Förderung eines effizienten Zwischenfruchtanbaus zur Verbesserung des Klima-, Wasser- und Bodenschutzes in der Landwirtschaft 2.0

Hohe Nitratgehalte in Grundwasserkörpern sind nach wie vor ein großes Problem in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Zwischenfrüchte (ZF) werden als ein Mittel zur Reduktion der Stickstoffverluste propagiert. Zudem können ZF zur Humusbildung und Verbesserung des Bodengefüges beitragen. Um Zwischenfrüchte zielgerichtet zur Reduktion von N-Verlusten, zur Erhöhung der Kohlenstoffspeicherung und zur Verbesserung des Bodengefüge-Zustandes in intensiven Ackerbausystemen einsetzen zu können, wird die Erfassung der Kohlenstoff- und Stickstoffgehalte in der Pflanzenbiomasse notwendig. Vor diesem Hintergrund werden in dem Projekt EffiZwisch 2.0 die Biomasseaufwüchse unterschiedlicher Zwischenfrüchte und Zwischenfruchtgemenge bei unterschiedlichen Düngeniveaus erfasst. Zudem werden die Kohlenstofffreisetzung und der Stickstoff-Transfer in die Folgekultur untersucht.