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Plant-Ukraine teaching and research module

Interdisciplinary and interlingual educational modules with practical application and research projects based on the innovation platform "InnoBioDiv".


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  • Project title: Plant Innovation Platform Cologne-Ukraine (“Plant-Ukraine”)
  • Funding reference: AV-LL22-Koe
  • Sponsor: Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching
  • Duration: 06/01/2022 - 12/31/2024
  • Support program: Securing learning and teaching. Focus Ukraine
  • Research focus: Development of educational modules on climate change and climate adaptation
  • Tags: soil, microorganisms, plants, water and nutrient availability, drought stress, climate change, Internet of Things, automated plant research, robotics, sensors
  • Target groups: Universities, researchers, students (especially from Ukraine), society
  • Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Institute and working group: Institute for Plant Sciences, AG Bucher
  • Project partner Germany: Technical University of Cologne (Institute for Telecommunications (INT), AG Dettmar)


Project partners in Ukraine:

National University of Radioelectronics (Kharkiv), W. N. Karazin, Kharkiv National University, Biotechnology State University (Kharkiv), Yuriy Fedkovych Chernovtsy National University, O. M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy (Kharkiv), Open International University of Human Development "Ukraine" (Kyiv), V.Y. Yuriev Institute of Plant Industry (Сharkiv)



The Plant-Ukraine project aims to set up an innovative, interdisciplinary educational module for biology and engineering in cooperation between the University of Cologne, the Technical University of Cologne and currently six Ukrainian universities. Another partner institution is the Institute of Plant Production named after V. Ya. Yuriev.

The Plant-Ukraine project ties in with the already established BMUV project "Innovation platform for education and research on the influence of climate change on the growth performance of plants and biodiversity in the soil (InnoBioDiv)". In this project, an innovation platform is being set up that, based on the latest research results from the Cluster of Excellence for Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) and using state-of-the-art technology from the fields of sensors, robotics, transmission technology and signal processing, will examine the influence of climate parameters on the growth performance of plants and soil biodiversity makes it tangible. The focus is on the development of concepts for adapting crops and ecosystems to climate change, biodiversity in the soil and the resource-saving use of water and nutrients in the cultivation of crops and the security of supply for the population.

The Plant-Ukraine project, funded by the Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education (, expands the InnoBioDiv project by involving Ukrainian scientists and students, who can earn academic credits by participating in student learning projects.

The intensive cooperation with Ukrainian lecturers during guest stays at the University of Cologne laid the foundation for online lectures in the winter semester 2022/23 for Ukrainian students, which included preparation for participation in the educational module. On-site visits by Ukrainian students took place in January 2023 as part of the joint learning projects.


Main goals

In our learning modules, students and researchers from Germany and Ukraine develop their ideas and concepts for researching climate change and its effects on plant growth and soil biodiversity. The focus is on interdisciplinary and intercultural cooperation with students from the Technical University of Cologne, the University of Cologne, and the participating Ukrainian universities and institutions. The basis is the linking of modern technologies such as robotics and the Internet of Things with in-depth knowledge of plant growth and plant-microorganism interactions to develop innovative questions, experiments, and solution approaches.

As part of the Plant-Ukraine project funded by the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching, the project partners University of Cologne and TH Cologne will explore further networking and cooperation opportunities for Ukrainian students and scientists in addition to the practice-oriented teaching modules.

Educational modules

Educational Concept

The educational modules are based on the didactic model of "Constructive Alignment", according to which learning objectives, teaching and learning methods, and the type of examination(s) are coordinated when planning a course. To achieve the learning goals, great importance is attached to teamwork in interdisciplinary and international groups. To make the learning outcome tangible, pre- and post-tests as well as a self-evaluation are carried out with all participants.

Various digital learning and communication tools are used so that the module participants learn to network and interact - wherever they are - (ZOOM as a central connection platform, SLACK for communication within work groups, learning videos, Google Docs Editor for editing online documents, and the cloud storage service Sciebo for exchanging and editing data).

Modular structure

The module is divided into three blocks. In the first block, course-related teaching content is taught in online seminars in Ukrainian and English. In the second block, the participants form interdisciplinary teams and jointly develop concepts for the adaptation of crops and ecosystems to climate change and plan detailed experiments. Block 3 is the experimental phase, in which the teams can independently carry out their individually planned experiments on the premises of the University of Cologne and the TH Cologne.