German-Colombian research collaboration, sparked by award-winning PhD candidate

The Colombia PeatSense Congress in Bogotá, enabled by an award to PhD student Antje Uhde, brought together German and Colombian peatland scientists.

The Colombia PeatSense Congress, held from March 19-22 at the Biology department of the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, brought together German and Colombian scientists to explore collaboration opportunities in peatland science and remote sensing. The congress was the result of a competition for project ideas supporting German-Colombian research collaboration of the International Office of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In a final science slam of the short-listed candidates, our PhD candidate Antje Uhde won the 2nd place and was awarded 8.000€ to support the Colombia PeatSense Congress.

The program featured a diverse range of presentations covering tropical peatland mapping, ecology, biodiversity, and social conflicts related to deforestation. Additionally, participants gained insights into peatland research in Germany and funding opportunities for bilateral exchange from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Interactive networking sessions facilitated knowledge exchange and collaboration, with discussions focusing on the current state of peatland research in Colombia and potential areas for collaboration. Hands-on skill transfer workshops on spatial data analysis in R and SAR remote sensing analysis provided valuable training for early career scientists.

A highlight of the congress was the field trip to Chingaza Natural National Park, offering participants firsthand experience of Colombia's peatland landscapes and the conservation challenges they face. The congress was a resounding success with a lot of positive feedback, lively discussions and a promising new network with broad collaboration potential.

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