INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

INCREASE Citizen Science Day at IPK Leibniz-Institute

For the last three years citizens from across Europe had been invited to take part in the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment. The interest has been overwhelming with more than 9,000 participants during the third round of the experiment. Now for the first time in Germany, project partner Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) invited 100 interested participants to an INCREASE Citizen Science Day on the 21 July 2023. “Participants were keen to witness the work of the scientists close up,” says Kerstin Neumann, head of the working group ‘Automated plant phenotyping’ at IPK Leibniz-Institute und coordinator of the Citizen Science Experiment. “The 100 available places were taken very quickly”.

After a general introduction of the IPK Leibniz-Institute by Jens Freitag (IPK head office), Andreas Börner, head of the working group ‘Resource genetics and reproduction’, introduced the institute’s gene bank, that hosts more than 150,000 samples. He gave interesting insights in the management of genetic resources worldwide and explained how the IPK gene bank is managed and organised. Following that, Kerstin Neumann held a presentation on the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment and shared latest developments and first results. Surely, the highlight of the day was a guided tour through the IPK gene bank and specifically to the shelf with the beans where more than 8,000 varieties are stored at -18°C. The day concluded with a questions & answers round with all participants.

In summary, the Citizen Science Day was very insightful and inspiring for both, citizens and professional scientists. “The day was a great occasion for us to exchange ideas with participants and we are grateful for any feedback received. We also wanted to extend our gratitude for their involvement, without which the INCREASE project could not succeed. Only the participants with their commitment make it possible for the scientists to research the diversity of beans and bring them back into our gardens,” says Kerstin Neumann.

The entire INCREASE team thanks all participants for their interest in the project, their strong commitment to Citizen Science and the very valuable questions and feedback provided during the Citizen Science Day at IPK Leibniz-Institute.

Group picture

Kerstin Neumann (INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment Coordinator) welcomes the attendees

Kerstin Neumann presents an overview of the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment

Visit of the IPK gene bank - germination checks

Visit of the IPK gene bank - cold storage

Visit of the IPK gene bank - herbarium collection

Questions & Answers session

Venue of the Citizen Science Day - the IPK lecture hall