The World in 2050

In 2020 the faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University celebrates its 100th anniversary. Already for 100 years now we work on the solutions for tomorrow's challenges. But let's take a look into the future: our youngest researchers describe their vision on how their field of study will look like in 2050.

We will publish new visions every month, so make sure to visit this page regularly!


Mathematics in a changing world – Jan M. Baetens

By 2050 we will be able to simulate life as is using dedicated mathematical models. Ever since the development of modern science, there have been only two possible ways to conduct experiments: processes were either observed in situ, or they were replicated in a controlled environment (in vitro). Yet, the availability of modern computers and the ever increasing computing power has turned this around. Read more here.

Health care for Crops - Tina Kyndt

In 2050 human nutrition is predominantly plant-based. ‘Thursday Veggie-day’ has been replaced by ‘Sunday Meatday’ and the consumption of meat-products is now considered a ‘guilty pleasure’. Crop production has been incrementally optimized to feed the growing human population. Read more here.

From bad seed to central player in a circular and sustainable food system - Veerle Fievez

Livestock farming, in 2020 still ‘the scapegoat’ in the debate on climate change, eutrophication and the acidification of sensitive natural areas, will in 2050 (again) play a central role in a balanced and sustainable food supply within a circular food economy. Read more here.

Which planet do you choose? - Hans Verbeeck

"Planet B"

At the beginning of 2050, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will exceed 550 ppm (parts per million). Fortunately, there has recently been a reversal in the rise in greenhouse gas concentrations: it is the result of the drastic mitigation measures that were finally taken in the 2040s and the shrinking world economy over the past 20 years. Read more here.

So fair, so sweet...what else? - Marijke D'Haese

Allow me to take you on a journey into the future. Fall 2050. We are in a supermarket. At the fruit display, we search for the sweetest pineapple. All pineapples on the stack look the same; their colour is a mix of green and yellow; they are of the same size, and their crowns count the same number of equally positioned leaves. We seldom go shopping. We have become used to have our groceries delivered to our doorstep as we are subscribed to the shop-as-you-fly-drone service. Read more here.

Exploring the chemical space - Matthias D'hooghe

With the first human on Mars, space travel has made a giant leap forward in recent decades. Just like astronauts, chemists dream of long journeys and adventurous explorations through space, albeit the ‘chemical space’... Read more here.

Water Independency - Korneel Rabaey

By 2050, about every single house and building is water independent. This implies rainwater is collected and converted to drinking water. The water is used for human consumption, in the kitchen, or is combined with purified greywater (originating from the kitchen, washing and the shower) to be used as toilet flushing water and other domestic functions. Read more here.

Vitamin Sea - Jana Asselman

For as long as we can remember, we have been living together with the sea, often using it as our most important food source. Today it is our most important source of biomolecules. Thanks to our commitment of the past decades to tackle pollution in our seas and oceans and to take efficient climate measures, our seas and oceans now contain millions of different species of animals, plants and bacteria. Read more here.