The glass plant: IPK Gatersleben inaugurates plant cultivation hall

The newly constructed plant cultivation hall of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben was inaugurated on Monday, 28 August.

In their welcoming addresses, the Minister-President of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Reiner Haseloff, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka and the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Kleiner, emphasised the importance of this globally unique facility for the expansion of research infrastructures in Germany, Europe and beyond. The IPK is opening a new dimension for the research of crop plants.

The scientific director of plant phenotyping at IPK, Prof. Dr. Thomas Altmann, describes the new infrastructure as “an important innovation which will enable us to provide major scientific contributions towards managing future societal tasks such as food security and supply of raw materials”. Plant cultivation is possible under highly reproducible and precisely adjustable environmental conditions in the plant cultivation hall. With the aid of the latest technologies which will be developed within the scope of the German Plant Phenotyping Network (DPPN) sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and installed in the plant cultivation hall, varied properties and agriculturally important features such as the productivity of crop plants (e.g. cereals), can be recorded and analysed under different environmental conditions.

In addition to the IPK, the Jülich Research Centre (coordination) and the Helmholtz Centre Munich are DPPN partners. An important prerequisite for establishing the latest investigative methods and concepts in the realm of fundamentally and application-oriented crop plant research will be created through the construction of this facility. Minister-President Dr. Reiner Haseloff emphasised: “Saxony-Anhalt has a great tradition in crop plant research. IPK Gatersleben represents this in a special way. The event today makes it obvious: the future of crop plant research will also be significantly shaped by Saxony-Anhalt. The IPK is without doubt an ambassador for excellent science in our state.”

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka, said: “The plant cultivation hall is a joint effort. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt and IPK Gatersleben were financially involved in the construction of the plant cultivation hall. And it was worthwhile: the plant cultivation hall is a lighthouse project in Europe. Together we will continue to develop the strong location Germany with green innovations.” Research infrastructures such as the plant cultivation hall, but also providing museum and other collections, large-scale appliances, databases or central specialised libraries to open use for research has always been an integral element of the Leibniz Association mission, emphasised Leibniz President Matthias Kleiner.

The IPK plant cultivation hall is an impressive example of the strengths of the Leibniz Association in this field. In his welcoming address, Andreas Graner, Managing Director of the IPK, referred to “an important contribution towards further enhancing the scientific and cultural value of the Federal Ex Situ Gene Bank for Agricultural and Horticultural Crop Species domiciled at the IPK, because the usability of the biological diversity preserved here for the future can be significantly improved through corresponding research efforts.” The invited guests were able to gain an impression of the future processes in the hall during tours through the building and by means of film presentations.

7.8 million euros were expended for the construction of this new building and the prior establishment of technical installations. The Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Economy, Science and Digitalisation and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research are jointly funding this construction project with 5.8 million euros.


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