University of Hohenheim as Germany’s no. 1 university for agricultural research is to be the location for a nationally important scientific center for animal wellbeing and animal health, reduced use of antibiotics, better use of resources, and reduced environmental effects.
A key factor in livestock animals’ characteristics are the interactions between the animal and the billions and billions of microorganisms that are located in particular in the intestinal tract. Up to now, these processes have in large part not been understood. With the new “Hohenheim Center for Livestock Microbiome Research (HoLMiR)”, the University of Hohenheim is to work on closing this gap in knowledge. The decision was made by Germany’s Council of Science and Humanities, in their spring meeting in Trier. The final decision on funding the research buildings was made by the Joint Science Conference (GWK) on June 2018 based on the recommendation of the Council of Science and Humanities. “We know that these microorganisms play an important role in how animals behave, how susceptible they are to illness, whether they can utilize scarce feed resources well, and how many environmentally dangerous substances they excrete,” explained Prof. Dr. Markus Rodehutscord, spokesperson for the 10 leading researchers at the future Hohenheim Center for Livestock Microbiome Research (HoLMiR).
Intensive basic research about the types, mechanisms, genetics, and other influences on the symbiotic community of animal and microorganisms is intended to deliver the key to solving applied problems.
“In the long term, we’re hoping to find new prevention and therapy approaches for using medications, creating breeding programs for adapted races that need less feed, or developing high-quality food production with fewer negative effects on the environment,” stated Prof. Dr. Rodehutscord.
The estimated costs for the Hohenheim Center for Livestock Microbiome Research (HoLMiR) are around 47 million for construction. Another 3 million euros for basic equipment and 4 million for large equipment will also be needed. Module I of the research building will be specialized laboratories with in vitro and tissue technology as well as cutting edge major instrumentation. The planned location is south of the Biology building to make use of synergies with existing specialized labs. Module II of the research building will be the animal experiment unit. The location will be at the Meiereihof research station to make use of synergies with the institutions there.
The new buildings will have a total area of around 3,500 square meters. They are to serve as a platform for 10 working groups and 3 young scientist research groups with a total of 40 scientific and 20 non-scientific employees.
The preparation work is to start in 2019. Construction will tentatively start in 2020. The planned construction time is 2 years. Construction work was made possible by the Master Plan 2030 in which the University, state, and city of Stuttgart agreed on guidelines to build on the historical campus.