From competing visions to the "Agricultural Systems of the Future"
Due to the multifaceted challenges faced by today’s agrosystems, new and alternative ways of sustainable and resilient agricultural production will be required. But how do agrosystems need to be designed to adequately meet the complex challenges? In order to identify relevant fields of research and innovation in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) laid the foundation for the future in 2015 by establishing the “Agrosystems future process – ideas and strategies for a liveable future”.
Representatives of science and research, industry and society as well as politics and associations were invited to contribute ideas and visions for the agrosystems of the future in an open “Vision Contest”. A total of 96 visionary concepts were submitted. These were discussed and further developed using design thinking in the course of a creative workshop in September of 2015 with more than 100 participants.
The insights gained from the “Vision Contest” and creative workshop formed the foundation for the BMBF funding initiative “Agrosystems of the Future” announced in mid-2016. Out of 117 submitted idea sketches, 40 were selected for the funding of a six-month concept phase in a multi-stage selection process by an international panel of experts. At the end of the concept phase (September 2017 – February 2018), eight excellent research consortia were proposed for funding by an international panel of experts in May of 2018.
The eight chosen consortia to be funded by the BMBF for up to five years commenced their work for the future of agricultural production in the first six months of 2019. In their visionary projects, they pursue in part unconventional approaches to meeting the challenges faced by agrosystems.