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University competition: Food project by Dr. Harvey Harbach receives award

Dr. Harvey Harbach’s research into sustainable food production at Hof University of Applied Sciences is one of the winning projects in the university competition for the “Science Year 2023 – Our Universe”. From more than 70 submissions, an expert jury selected a total of 15 project ideas nationwide, each of which will now receive 10,000 euros in prize money to put their ideas into practice by the end of the year.

Since 2000, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD) have jointly proclaimed a Year of Science. Many hundreds of partners from science, business, education, culture and politics then open the doors of their institutions. They invite visitors to take a look at the developments and research under the respective motto. This year’s theme was “Our Universe”.

Bavarian universities particularly successful

From board games to virtual reality applications, from exhibitions to do-it-yourself experiments, the award-winning projects approach the topic of outer space in very different ways. The thematic spectrum is also wide. They range from very topical problems of space travel, such as the increasing littering of our Earth’s orbit, to the question of the habitability of exoplanets or a virtual journey to a black hole. The teams are distributed regionally throughout Germany, and with eight winning projects this year, Bavarian universities are particularly well represented.

Sustainable food production through hydroponics in Hof

The research of Dr. Harvey Harbach at the Hof University of Applied Sciences was also convincing: He entered the 2023 university competition under the heading “Nutrition of the future through sustainable food production” and was successful.

An example of sustainable food production through hydroponics: basil; photo Hof University of Applied Sciences;

His topic here: in location-independent, water- and nutrient-efficient systems, edible plants can be grown almost anywhere – even in outer space.

Our project aims to prove, through an interactive field trial, that hydroponics can be a viable building block in the future of our food supply.”

Dr. Harvey Harbach, researcher and award winner

“To implement this now, groups of two consisting of students and elementary school children will work together to conduct experiments, the results of which will be published online and in a journal,” he continued.

Dr. Harvey Harbach; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Networking and further evaluation

While the winners will now begin the implementation phase of their ideas, they will simultaneously attend training sessions and events organized by Science in Dialogwhere they can also network with each other. Finally, at the end of the year, the projects will be evaluated one more time and it will be decided which teams have communicated the topic of the universe in a particularly creative and accessible way. The teams provide regular updates on their progress, difficulties and highlights in project implementation on the Blog of the university competition.

The university competition is organized annually by Science in Dialogue (WiD) in cooperation with the German Association of University Communication and the German Rectors’ Conference and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the Year of Science.

Rainer Krauß

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