Professor Dr Florian Wichern
A native of Geest, a town in the north of Germany between Hamburg and Bremen, Florian Wichern discovered a fascination for nature, farming and the use of natural resources at an early age. As a child, this fascination led him to sheep rearing for its use in the tending of habitats and conserving of natural environments.
Fascinated by the notions of sustainability and motivated by a desire to explore the international interconnectedness of Germany’s trade and (agricultural) economy vis-à-vis tropical countries, he later spent a year working on a church-affiliated development project in South Africa. This sojourn awoke in him the desire to advance the cause of developmental and agricultural practices that are socially, ecologically and economically sustainable. To that end, he set out on an academic career that began with a degree in ecological farming at the University of Kassel, Germany. With a concentration in tropical farming he spent a great deal of time not only studying the agricultural interrelationships between nations, but investigating them first-hand through field research projects in numerous countries. These experiences taught him the special importance of soil and, in particular, the (micro)organisms it contains, and helped him to develop a true passion for investigating the roles and microbial effects of these organisms in producing fertile soil.
In his subsequent PhD dissertation under the supervision of Professor Jörgensen of the University of Kassel and Professor Müller of the University of Hohenheim, Florian Wichern investigated the pre-crop effect of peas and oats and their potential for improving soil fertility as rotation crops. The focal point of this investigation was a quantitative analysis of the interactions between roots and soil micro-organisms. After earning his PhD, he went on to expand his professional experience and expertise in international agriculture through a position at the fertilizer company K+S KALI in Kassel.
Florian Wichern was appointed to a professorship at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in 2009 and, as one of the founding deans, spent his first two years contributing to the academic, structural and personnel-related development of the University as a whole and the Faculty of Life Sciences in particular. Due to his extensive and internationally-recognized research expertise, he has been granted a research professorship with a reduced number of teaching hours from 2017 to 2020.