Agricultural and food sciences
- Sustainable agriculture
The world food supply needs to increase by 70 % to feed the 9 billion global population by 2050, increasing pressure on agriculture and necessitating further intensification. Currently, EU is heavily import dependent for more than 90% of nonrenewable phosphorus and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, at large economic cost (€15 billion/y) and with negative environmental impacts from fertiliser production and use. Furthermore, phosphate has been identified as a critical raw material for the EU. We therefore need a new European effort to address ‘he Nutrient Nexus’ where reduced nutrient losses and improved nutrient use efficiency across all sectors simultaneously provide the foundation for a greener and more circular economy to produce more food and energy while reducing environmental pollution. European farmers and fertiliser industry thus urgently need techniques for increasing substitution of synthetic with waste-derived nutrients formulated into high-quality, bio-based fertilisers. However, this requires research into new processing, application and assessment and more innovative and entrepreneurial scientists capable of meeting these future needs - FertiCycle aims to to fill this gap. The objective of FertiCycle is to train 15 early stage researchers (ESR) to develop new processes for production of bio-based fertilisers, recycling wasted resources and to estimate the market potential and sustainability challenges of their production and use. The training program aims to enable the ESR to generate, integrate and apply inter-disciplinary knowledge for developing new technical solutions for bio-based fertiliser production, management and marketing, and will give them competences for inter-sectoral work and international collaboration in industry and academia. FertiCycle outcomes will be 15 trained scientists; required technologies, knowhow and market concepts from which innovative new bio-based fertiliser products can develop to proof-of-concept level with industry.