greenRelease to win first prize in the 2019 Bio-Gründer Wettbewerb


On 11 September 2019, the greenRelease team in Bönen, North Rhine-Westphalia, with its innovative approach to crop protection, won first prize in the competition "Bio-Gründer Wettbewerb". Dr. Felix Jakob (Biotechnologist, DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University), Dr. Caspar Langenbach (Biologist, RWTH Aachen University), Alexander Töpel (Chemist, DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University) and Dr. Michael Wustmans (Economist, Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn) participated with greenRelease as research project. A total of 40 teams applied, with the 7 best teams presenting their projects to more than 100 guests from the fields of science, business and politics. The winning team was awarded by Dr. Kirsten Bender from the Ministry of Economics, Innovation and Digitisation NRW. She is head of Division IV A 5: Transfer, Industry 4.0, Biotechnology/Bioeconomics, Textile Industry, Patent Exploitation.

"The founders of greenRelease will revolutionise crop protection with their development", stated the jury of the Bio-Gründer Wettbewerb. The idea behind it: Plant protection agents can be applied to the surfaces of leaves in microscopically small, so-called microgel containers, which are then released continuously over a period of several weeks. Anchor peptides ensure that the microgel containers adhere specifically to the leaf surface and are not rinsed off even when it rains. Conventional pesticides, on the other hand, are often washed off by rain, so the protection of the plant is limited in time or requires the agent to be applied more frequently. The optimised approach in the greenRelease project thus makes it possible to significantly reduce the amount of pesticide used.

As FocusLab, the greenRelease cooperation project is part of the Bioeconomy Science Center, a consortium of three NRW universities and the Jülich Research Centre. The project is led by Dr. Felix Jakob (DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University). The working groups of Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg (DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University), Prof. Andrij Pich (DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University), Prof. Uwe Conrath (RWTH Aachen University), Prof. Stefanie Bröring (Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn), Georg Noga (Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn), Prof. Claudia Knief (Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn), Prof. Georg Groth (Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf), Prof. Holger Gohlke (Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf), and Prof. Ulrich Schurr (Research Centre Jülich) are involved in the project. Prof. Schwaneberg, Prof. Pich, Prof. Bröring and Prof. Conrath prepared and accompanied the team as mentors for the competition. The Bioecenomy Science Center was founded in 2010 and consists of 58 different groups.

The annual Bio-Gründer Wettbewerb for innovative start-ups and young entrepreneurs from the agricultural, food, biotechnology, biochemistry and related sectors took place for the twelfth time. The competition is organised by the Bio-Security Competence Centre and offers innovative ideas space for development. The first prize winners received cash and non-cash prizes amounting to 4.000 euros.


Image information:
From left to right: The first winners of the bio-founder competition Alexander Töpel (AG Pich, Aachen), Dr. Felix Jakob (AG Schwaneberg, Aachen), Dr. Caspar Langenbach (AG Conrad, Aachen), Dr. Michael Wustmans (AG Bröring, Bonn)
Source: M. Wustmans
Further information
Project Leader

Dr. Felix Jakob

+49 241 80-23344
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PhD Student

Alexander Töpel, M. Sc.

+49 241 80-23394
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