Universität Bonn

INRES Crop Science


Assessing options for the SUSTainable intensification of Agriculture for integrated production of food and non-food products at different scales (SUSTAg)


The broad EU public expects agriculture to provide food security, protect the environment and biodiversity, and sustain rural communities and landscapes. Beyond these expectations, agriculture must be highly adaptable in the face of climate change and volatile market and political conditions, in which the demand for industrial and bioenergy crops is set to increase. The creation and support of a competitive European bioeconomy offers an opportunity to simultaneously address food security and bioenergy demand through their consideration within an integrated systems analytical framework. In addition to enabling better accounting of synergies and tradeoffs between food and non-food crops, such an integrated systems’ view can facilitate the identification of options for the sustainable intensification (SI) of production across different sustainability dimensions (ecological, economic and social). By simultaneously considering food and non-food production from both the local/regional and European/global levels, parallels between farm entities, regions, and countries can be identified such that production and processing are developed to enable the greatest economic and environmental benefit at a European level. Within this context, the overarching aim of SUSTAg is to identify both generic and location-specific SI pathways and options at the global/European and case study level to build a competitive European bioeconomy. The feasibility of actually operationalizing the generic and location-specific SI options will be evaluated in a series of three regional case studies. The study will make use of innovative cross-disciplinary (e.g. crop science, farm systems, supply chain, economic) and multi-scale (global, European, regional, farm) integrated modelling analysis, with global and European scale analysis setting economic and political boundary conditions regarding the relative competitiveness of case study regions for food and non-food production. At each scale, evaluation of systems and SI options will consider: production conditions; dynamics in demand for food and non-food products; resource use and availability; socio-economic and policy environment; and climate change and variability. Results will be presented in transparent and relevant SI evaluation metrics to allow stakeholders to analyze and weigh tradeoffs at each of the case study and European scales. Stakeholder engagement and interaction at all stages of system design and analysis is sought as the best options and pathways to integrated food and non-food production depend on specific context and stakeholder values. The ultimate outcome of SUSTAg will be a set of stakeholder relevant options for sustainably increasing food and non-food production within an emerging European bioeconomy.

Persons in charge

Prof. Frank Ewert,
Dr. Thomas Gaiser,
Dr. Heidi Webber


2016 - 2019


Bundesministerium für Forschung und Entwicklung (BMBF)

Cooperating partners

  • 7 partners in 4 European countries



Wird geladen