Our INI2021 Program!

Scientific program

The scientific program will be divided into 8 main themes and 15 subthemes related to different aspects of reactive nitrogen in combination with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Each of the subthemes will be introduced by a keynote speaker. Please visit our “Speakers” page for the list of keynote speakers who had confirmed their participation for the in-person conference.

1. Nutrition and lifestyles
SDG 2  SDG 11  SDG 12

Nitrogen-related global inequalities of the food system

While in some regions of the world food production and retail lead to vast losses of nitrogen to the environment, in other regions not enough nitrogen is available for sustainable agricultural crop production. Food system governance should minimize nutrition inequalities and optimize the efficiency of nitrogen use in order to achieve equal food security without nitrogen-induced impacts. The session will illustrate such inequalities and present good practice examples.

Responsible consumption and production and feedbacks in the N cycle

Feedbacks between sufficiency strategies or choice of sustainable lifestyles (including dietary choices and circular economy approaches) and the nitrogen cycle will be addressed. How are these feedbacks assessed in the light of a growing world population and different economic situations in different regions of the world? How far will voluntary consumer choices help or are regulations needed?

2. Agriculture and food
SDG 2  SDG 3

Livestock production and nitrogen

In terms of nitrogen loss, livestock systems are still ineffective and untight. However the demand for meat and dairy products is continuously increasing in parallel with a growing world population and a shift in consumption patterns. It is therefore important to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use in livestock systems.

Optimizing the efficiency of nitrogen use in crop production

Cropping systems are open systems and fertilizer nitrogen is released in different forms into the environment. There are also feedbacks between nitrogen and other nutrient elements. Which new options/techniques (from organic farming to biotechnology) exist to close budgets as much as possible? What role do leguminous plants play?

3. Ensure health, clean water, air and cities
SDG 3  SDG 6  SDG 11

Nitrogen air pollution affects human health

Health is affected by nitrogen emissions and their impacts on the atmosphere (NO2, secondary particulate matter, ozone). How big are the threats and which sources influence them? Which solutions for cleaner air and sustainable cities in traffic and industry are available?

Reduction of nitrogen in wastewater to ensure clean water and sanitation

Nitrogen outflow with unpurified wastewater is a major threat for ecosystem health and human well-being. Effective wastewater and sewage management is therefore essential for health and ecosystem quality.

4. Combat threats for biodiversity
SDG 14  SDG 15

Threats for terrestrial biodiversity – understanding of nutrient cycles and biosphere-atmosphere interaction

Threats for terrestrial biodiversity through nitrogen availability and understanding of terrestrial nutrient cycles including biosphere-atmosphere interaction will be addressed. Possibilities for better management to shield ecosystems and protected species from negative effects will be highlighted.

Threats for aquatic biodiversity by nitrogen flows – understanding of nutrient cycles

Threats for aquatic biodiversity through nitrogen availability and understanding of aquatic nutrient cycles including will be addressed.

5. Observing global challenges, fluxes and interactions between different drivers and pressures
SDG 13

How nitrogen influences our climate

Nitrogen affects climate change directly and indirectly. Examples are nitrous oxide emissions or interlinkages between the global biogeochemical N and CO2 cycles. This session will highlight these feedbacks between nitrogen emissions and climate, including global risk assessment and identification of tipping points.

Global assessments of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle: Observation and modeling

Nitrogen emissions influence global pathways of atmospheric and aquatic mass transport. Through modeling or satellite or ground-based observations, the quantification of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle is being continuously improved. This is an important basis for robust risk assessment.

6. Closing the N cycle: Innovations for sustainable N management

Innovation and infrastructure

This session will highlight innovative ideas and developments in industry, traffic and agriculture. This includes potential advances such as remote sensing, biotechnology, closure of open systems, NOx recapture, bioeconomy, recycling or transformational changes to the N cycle in order to reduce pollution.

7. Integrated science and policy approaches – Social and public awareness
SDG 4  SDG 17

Integrated approaches: From science to policy

Integrated science and policy approaches are necessary to solve complex problems. Normally, policy focuses on very few targets. Economic figures play an important role. Political discussions are often ruled by (over-) simplified pictures and equations. How to cope with the complex problems of reactive N compounds?

Educational aspects, public awareness, risk communication

Appropriate risk communication is key for public awareness. Is it ready for changing consumption habits of people? Tools like Nitrogen budgets, footprint calculators or cost-benefit analysis are currently being explored. Experiences from national dialogues or from Citizen Science projects may help to find the small path between panic and unconcern. Education plays an important role when looking into the future.

8. Special and opening and concluding sessions

Nitrogen and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Meeting a major part of the SDGs goes hand in hand with an effective nitrogen management. Regional assessments highlight different nitrogen-related focal areas. Interdisciplinary research interlinking the different global regions and involving young scientists is important for sustainable nitrogen management with the aim of combating global inequality.

Different continent views on nitrogen

A series of parallel continent sessions will provide an opportunity to exchange cross-sectoral and –media views on continent specific nitrogen issues and approaches. As an example, the developments in nine years since the launch of the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) will be part of the Europe Session. To conclude, the various results will be compiled in the plenum and discussed in a panel discussion with participants from all continents.

INI 2021: Special Edition of ERC and ERL

The conference organizers are happy to announce that a Focus Collection of publications has been started in IOP Publishing’s journals Environmental Research Communication and Environmental Research Letters. As this was based on the original schedule of the conference, first papers have been released already and are accessible via the link above, with more to come in the near future. Many of these papers will also be presented and can be discussed at INI2021 based on mature research. The guest editors of the special issue originally invited a handful of contributions to be submitted, but there will be further opportunity to use this publication platform (deadline extended to June 30, 2021, to allow integration of conference feedback). If you wish to also include your work in the special issue, please approach any of the guest editors or the journal editorial teams ( or  with an extended abstract, a synopsis or even a draft paper to be checked for a possible inclusion. You can also use the journals’ submission system to directly upload your manuscript ready for submission and indicate you wish to contribute to the special issue. In that case the guest editors will reserve the right to divert the manuscript to the regular submission procedure of the journals, if they believe that the scope of the special issue theme is not adequately met, or if only the number of manuscripts received exceeds their capacity. Whichever way of selection has been chosen, each manuscript will undergo a full peer-review according to the standards of each journal.

World environment day 2021