International collaborations

International collaborations at the Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Natural Sciences at Leibniz University Hannover is an attractive research location and is characterized by numerous international collaborations: it offers the best conditions for foreign students, visiting scientists to learn and establish contacts.

Furthermore, the Faculty of Natural Sciences is active in many university-wide and subject-specific exchange programs and supports students, doctoral candidates and young scientists in gaining experience abroad and establishing international contacts.

Information for students

In addition to traditional cooperation activities in the EU, Israel and the USA, we maintain partnerships in the Asian region, in Latin America and beyond to emerging and developing countries in order to find a sustainable and formative position in the North-South dialogue.
The exchange programs focus on the development of new international contacts and networks. International cooperations are promoted through the development of double degrees, double doctorates, joint degrees and the exchange of doctoral students, postdocs, scientists and scholars.


EU project MOVE

In the course of the EU Biodiversity Strategies 2020 and 2030, all EU member states have committed themselves to map their ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide and to evaluate them accordingly. In addition to the 27 member states in continental Europe, the European Union includes a total of nine outermost regions and 25 overseas countries and territories where EU strategies are also to be implemented. In addition to the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores, these include more distant regions such as Martinique, French Guyana and La Réunion.

The Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology (PhyGeo) is significantly involved in the projects MOVE and MOVE-ON, which were established for this purpose, and acts as subproject leader.

  • Assessment and evaluation of ecosystems and their services in the EU overseas territories

    In order to advance the identification and assessment of ecosystems and their services in these areas, which is important for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, the EU has initiated the collaborative projects MOVE (Facilitating Mapping and Assessing Ecosystem Services, MAES, to support regional policy in OVerseas Europe: mobilizing stakeholders and pooling resources) and its successor project MOVE-ON (From case studies to anchor projects - Setting the ground to advance MAES in Europe's overseas) with a total duration of 5 years (2018-2023). MOVE and MOVE-ON are coordinated by the University of the Azores and bring together a total of 16 project partners, most of which are located directly in the overseas territories.

    First project results show that, mainly due to the special geographical locations of the overseas territories, the prevailing extremely high biodiversity as well as specific land use patterns, the ecosystem services provided differ in part from those on the European mainland. The land surface of French Guyana, for example, is 90% covered with tropical rainforest, which has a decisive influence on global climate regulation. Since many of the overseas territories are smaller islands, tourism based on nature-based leisure and recreation activities or the provision of fishery products are of particular importance. The highly diverse ecosystems, from which all these valuable ecosystem services are provided, must be preserved in the long term. Their recording and evaluation can make an important contribution to this.

Horizon 2020 Africa project UPSCALE

Upscaling the benefits of push-pull technology for sustainable agricultural intensification in East Africa

Closing the yield gap in African smallholder agriculture is a critical challenge which must be met in order to achieve food security goals for millions of farmers. In sub-Saharan Africa, this challenge is compounded by the need to adapt cultivation practices to extreme dryness and ongoing climate change, and by the recognition that conventional methods of agricultural intensification are environmentally costly, unsustainable, and poorly adapted to low-income farming. Nature-based solutions that harness the benefits of biodiversity and the environment for productive, low input and climate-resilient agriculture are increasingly suggested as promising avenues for sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa and beyond. Push-pull is an integrated cropping system that involves driving pests away from the main crop using a repellent intercrop (the push) while attracting them out of the crop with trap plants. Push-pull also improves soil health and water retention, provides economic and high-value livestock fodder, and a recently developed climate-smart variant making use of traditional cereal varieties (sorghum, finger millet) increases system resilience to climate change. Through its growing success in staple cereal crops, push-pull has enormous potential to be the most important discovery for food security and environmentally friendly agricultural management of the 21st century.

  • Goals, geographical scope and partners

    What is the project about?

    UPSCALE is a new H2020 Research & Innovation project worth €7.66 million, starting in November 2020 and lasting for 5 years. The project aims to take key steps to realize the transformative potential of push-pull technology by expanding its scope and applicability from individual fields to whole landscapes and regions, and from cereal to other important crops and cultivation systems. The overall goal is to address food security, livelihoods and climate change resilience in the sub-Saharan region of East Africa, while reducing the environmental impact of agricultural practices. For this, it will foster the design, adaptation and adoption of strategies for integrated agro-ecological management based on push-pull technology for wide-spread and climate-resilient sustainable intensification.

    Who is behind the project?

    The UPSCALE consortium consists of a group of 18 partners from 4 European and 6 African countries teamed up under the lead of the Leibniz University of Hannover (Germany). The UPSCALE consortium is ideally composed to tackle the challenges of developing and upscaling the push-pull management system in East Africa: the expertise of icipe in development of push-pull management systems is complemented by other partners’ skills and track record in key research areas such as research synthesis, cropping systems ecology, spatiotemporal modelling, chemical ecology, landscape ecology, food-web ecology, soil science and social science including socioeconomics, sustainability science, gender, and policy, as well as international experts on stakeholder engagement and communication.

    Which novel technologies are going to be developed during the project?

    UPSCALE is a highly ambitious project that advances both science and technology beyond the state-of-the-art, representing the springboard to unlock uptake by addressing and involving ‘critical levers’ at all levels and scales of society, including applied research, policy and multi-actor value chains in Africa and Europe. In practice, UPSCALE will introduce a novel application of ecological methods, modelling tools and social-ecological approaches to the barely explored ground of providing data-driven, quantitative and qualitative tools to assess and improve social-ecological resilience of ecosystem services and farms. UPSCALE will examine this under state-of-the-art scenarios of climate change, closing the gap between small-scale models and coarser large-scale models, to build an improved cross-scale social and ecological modelling framework which yields key information for management, dissemination and policy decisions. Moreover, UPSCALE will develop and adapt dissemination toolboxes including a Knowledge Exchange Hub (KEH), mobile app, interactive integrative maps for spatial targeting of dissemination efforts, long-lasting multi-actor communities (MAC). Multi-actor design and integration of empirical models for push-pull adoption and effectiveness are the basis for targeted and rapid spread of push-pull and sustainable intensification information to key stakeholders, thus ensuring the relevance of research, as well as the feasibility and increased uptake of proposed solutions and implementation of results.

    What is the geographical scope of the project?

    The project activities will be conducted in five main study regions within East African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania) each of these regions being selected to encompass different biophysical (including climate, soils, topography) and farming system characteristics. All the selected regions have been exposed to varying degrees to the push-pull technology through previous training and dissemination, notably by the UPSCALE project partners. All the regions share several constraints for push-pull expansion including limited access to agricultural extension services and frequent shortage and high expense of seeds for push-pull implementation. Therefore, these regions are essential for implementing the experimental tasks following a standardized, common study design across countries and are open for collaboration and merging with study and dissemination sites of other ongoing or recent projects.

Erasmus+ mobility project Guatemala

Aquaculture ponds at the Faculty of Agronomy at USAC

The Erasmus+ mobility project with partner countries (KA107) between the University of San Carlos of Guatemala (USAC) and the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) aims to learn, teach and work together in an interdisciplinary and sustainable way in the field of environmental sciences. The target group are students at the BSc and MSc level from the USAC who will be able to complete modules and projects at the LUH, as well as PhD students and lecturers from both countries. Within this context, Prof. Jutta Papenbrock and Dr. Ariel Turcios were in Guatemala to establish contact between the two universities, evaluating the research needs and to plan future actions in favor of research and cooperation between both institutions. Now it is being planned to bring in between four and five USAC students in the summer semester 2021 in order to carry out part of their experiments at the LUH and in this way fulfill the exchange of information and knowledge between both institutions. In addition, the trip of two media didacticians to Guatemala is contemplated with the aim of supporting the University of San Carlos with respect to the E-Learning system.

  • Objective and research contents

    The aim of the join research project is to use different plant species as biofilters and to establish sustainable value chains. Plants can purify nutrient-rich water and wastewater by taking up nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate and converting them into biomass. They are also able to break down or detoxify organic and possibly toxic substances that occur in the environment. These plants can be used as food or as fodder. Some of the target plant species contain valuable ingredients that can be used in medicine or as dietary supplements. The plant residues can be used to generate bioenergy, e.g. for the production of biogas. The digestate, in turn, would be returned to the cycle as fertilizer. At the LUH and especially at the Institute of Botany, all areas of this value chain have been examined and appropriate methods have been established, e.g. also for the quinoa plant (Chenopodium quinoa) cultivated in Guatemala, and are now to be implemented in the potential partner country.