SMART Plants for Tomorrow’s Needs
Plants enable life on Earth through the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy. Beginning with the Neolithic Revolution, the domestication of plants provided the basis for human population growth and, subsequently, the evolution of highly developed civilizations. However, the growing food demands imposed by an increasing population and the effects of anthropogenic climate change pose huge challenges for sustainable food production and ecosystem maintenance.
The Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences CEPLAS addresses these grand challenges through world-class fundamental research on complex plant traits of agronomic relevance that impact on yield and adaptation to limited resources. Hence this knowledge is essential for designing and breeding plants that react in a predictable way to future challenges (SMART plants).
CEPLAS integrates the resources of the Universities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, and the Forschungszentrum Jülich into an internationally leading plant science center that attracts world-class faculty and junior researchers.
Beyond its research mission, we aim for the Cologne/Düsseldorf area to become the location of choice for talented young researchers wishing to develop their careers. To support this aim, CEPLAS provides novel forms of training for undergraduate and graduate researchers and postdoctoral scientists at the interface of plant and microbial biology, systems and synthetic biology, and theoretical biology.