The Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences is located between Stuttgart and Lake Constance in the south of Germany. Around 3,500 students are enrolled at two locations in Baden-Wuerttemberg: Sigmaringen and Albstadt. The university offers 24 study programmes in its four faculties (Engineering, Business Science and Management, Life Sciences, IT). The main research areas of the university are Digitalization / IT Security / Industry 4.0, Health / Nutrition / Biomedicine and Sustainable Development / Smart Materials and Products. The university is the second largest contributor to the AlpBioEco project after the city of Sigmaringen.
Know you better as a project partner
- How many people work in your organization on the AlpBioEco project and what are their roles?
Prof. Dr. Christian Gerhards: At the initiative of the Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), we have become part of the AlpBioEco project and there are currently four of us working on it. I am a professor specialized in three main research topics: food technology, food quality and safety and production and packaging processes. I work for AlpBioEco with Cornelia Ptach and Saskia Stiller for the scientific work related to the project. The university also finances the position of Communication Manager for AlpBioEco and I therefore also work with Audrey Leclerc on communication.
- Walnuts, apples or herbs? Which team do you belong to and why?
Cornelia Ptach: With Saskia and Christian, we are looking for the potential of walnuts. There is a large walnut production in our region. On the 23rd of March, I presented the AlpBioEco project at the 6th national meeting of walnut producers.
- What are you currently doing as work for the project?
Saskia Stiller: We are currently working on finalizing our value chain analysis for the first AlpBioEco report that will complete our first collective phase of work. With regard to laboratory research, we work on product development and the evaluation of products developed in the food, textile and cosmetics sectors.
- Why did you choose to work for AlpBioEco?
Prof. Dr. Christian Gerhards: The university decided to join the AlpBioEco adventure from the beginning and worked closely with the city of Sigmaringen, the first contributor to the project, on the grant application. We also have a very good cooperation with the BUND on walnuts which gave us one more reason to participate in the project.
Audrey Leclerc: Beyond the university's perspective and as a person being employed for the project I like the international dimension and the challenge of developing the bioeconomy. If the project is successful, it may lead to sustainable and environmentally friendly jobs in the region and in all the Alps.
You and the bioeconomy
- In your opinion, how can AlpBioEco help to develop bioeconomy?
Cornelia Ptach: We develop ideas that can be taken up by regional start-ups. In particular, AlpBioEco allows more networking, especially across sectors, and supports a sustainable future-oriented economic performance.
Saskia Stiller: We also raise awareness of the bioeconomy among stakeholders and the public. This is an essential point in our project approach.
- Why do you think the bioeconomy is so important for the Alps?
Prof. Dr. Christian Gerhards: The Alpine region is disadvantaged in terms of food production due to its geographical and structural dimension. The bioeconomy can become an economic pillar in its own right alongside tourism.
- If you just had to choose a symbolic word or expression representing the AlpBioEco project, which one would it be?
Saskia Stiller: Future-oriented.
Cornelia Ptach: Preservation of landscape forms.
Audrey Leclerc: Employment.
Prof. Dr. Christian Gerhards: Transnational and cross-sector.
From left to right: Prof. Dr. Christian Gerhards, Audrey Leclerc, Saskia Stiller and Cornelia Ptach.