After three years of construction: AGRO-Technicum officially opened in Westerberg

“Combining agricultural system technology in the region” is the assumption according to which the AGRO-Technicum was officially opened on Wednesday (June 8) at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. Students of engineering and computer science departments can research innovative agricultural systems such as field robotics in a new building complex for $ 7 million.

In addition to the AGRO-Technicum, the new building complex also comprises a laboratory building and a multi-functional hall. The construction time was three years: “A few weeks ago everything would have looked catastrophic, now it’s all done after just three years of construction – but it only works when everyone is working together,” he says Prof. Dr. Arno Ruckelshausen from the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrück. “We would like to conduct interdisciplinary research together with other departments. And the companies with their headquarters here with the Agrotech Valley also cooperate, although they are competitors. Working with companies, we create a transfer between science and practice. And that’s the only way there can be growth. ”

Own “ecosystem” for robotics

Thanks to the expertise of the Osnabrück County, the region’s potential for agricultural technology systems was recognized as early as 2008. “The university wanted to use this potential and interest, and thus combine the technology of agricultural systems regionally” – says the university rector Prof. Dr. Andrzej Bertram. The former British barracks, bought by the state of Lower Saxony and made available to the university, were chosen as the site for the new agricultural systems technology center. “The architects did not have an easy task: a campus with its influence, with a library, a cafeteria and a” frog “in Westerberg needs a great counterbalance. Thanks to the new AGRO-Technicum, it was a great success. A separate ecosystem has been created where students and companies can exchange ideas about robotics. “

The grand opening took place in the new multi-functional hall, where some machines and robots were exhibited.  / Photo: Groenewold
The grand opening took place in the new multi-functional hall, where some machines and robots were exhibited. / Photo: Groenewold

Connecting buildings and users in architecture

The result of the architectural competition is tailored to the users of the building: “We have been looking for an individual solution for a long time, combining the location, task and users of the premises” – he explains MSc. Architect mgr. Thomas Fisher, Managing Director of the ATELIER 30 architectural office. “It could not be a” licked-out “house, it had to respond to people. We opted for a building that uses very little material. ‘ Concrete fits in with the idea of ​​agriculture. “The multi-purpose hall in particular has a kind of farm game that plays out like a loft and reflects creativity and innovation.”

Try field work directly

The heart of the new building complex is the test field: “Thanks to the field of innovation, we now have many new opportunities. For example, we can try out field robots directly in the field and then take the short route back to the multi-purpose hall and make improvements there. So there is a very high probability that it will also prove itself in the real field, ”says Ruckelshausen.

One of the department's projects is the Mars robot, which, like field robots, is also being tested in the Fields of Innovation.  / Photo: Groenewold
One of the department’s projects is a Mars robot, which – like field robots – is being tested in the Fields of Innovation. / Photo: Groenewold

Digital solutions for future ecological conditions

In addition to the university’s own funds, the new buildings were funded by Lower Saxony and a € 1.5 million grant from the ERDF program. minister Bjorn Thummeller from MWK Niedersachsen sees money well invested: “This innovative building also shows how the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences knows how to use the money. The AGRO-Technicum sets a new standard, which is a model for Lower Saxony and beyond. The atmosphere here is unique. ” In addition, the university is well equipped with a design that responds to the ecological conditions that can be expected in the future. “What the construction team has conjured up here is amazing. A performance machine has emerged to train young people well and thus contribute to the further development of the region ”.

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