Plants of the Future

Through its research, the CEPLAS (Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences) is taking on the future problem of the world’s increasing population and simultaneous shortage of raw materials. Scientists examine how plants adapt to changed environmental conditions, how they can be able to grow in almost every living space on Earth and how these findings can be useful to agriculture. CEPLAS is a joint effort of Heinrich Heine University, the University of Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the Forschungszentrum Jülich

Since the Cluster’s areas of research also include such controversial topics as food security, green gene technology and agricultural manufacturing processes, it is one of the Cluster’s main concerns to share research methods and corresponding results with the public. Research topics are made accessible to different target and age groups in various easy-to-understand formats, such as the monthly "Planter's Punch" series, in which CEPLAS young researchers present research topics in a clear and comprehensible manner, as well as an annual lecture series. Tours and exhibitions at the HHU’s Botanical Garden and numerous films in the CEPLAS media centre as well as daily attractions in social media round off the selection.  

In addition, CEPLAS also seeks active dialogue with policymakers. The CEPLAS team organises discussion groups with representatives of national and federal politics, scientists act as authorised experts on technical committees and specially compiled informational material is put together for decision-makers. Initiated through the University of Cologne, CEPLAS also participates in the specialised field of "Food Security" – a network of scientists from various disciplines (philosophy, geology, law), representatives from the industry, NGOs and students – where the topic of food security is to be dealt with using an integrated approach.

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