COORDINATOR – Serbia: Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad (PFNS)

PFNS, University of Novi Sad is an accredited institution of higher education and scientific research whose mission is to stimulate high-quality educational processes, development of scientific disciplines and dissemination of gained knowledge in economy and society. Since its establishment in 1954, the Faculty of Agriculture has been dedicated to the accomplishment of its mission, based on successful results of its scientific research activities and their application in practice. Throughout the years, based on the observed needs of economic environment and current needs of society, the Faculty has developed study programs preparing students for the existing and pending technical-technological, and socio-economic systems. At the same time, it has developed its own competent human and technical resources. The PFNS carries out its mission in three interrelated groups of activity: higher education, scientific research, and knowledge application on the field of economy. Simultaneously, it constantly enhances its educational programs, quality of working processes, as well as human and material resources, aiming at the achievement of the highest standards. Thus, the PFNS fulfills educational needs of young generations, scientific and expert needs of economy, and material needs of its employees. Moreover, as part of the comprehensive educational and scientific system, it is a driving force of social development and the initial force behind the development of agriculture.

PFNS has a total of 246 researchers engaged in various projects. It currently participates in 40 national projects of technological development funded by the MESTDRS. It was also engaged in research in 24 projects funded by the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and in three FP7 projects. Faculty of Agriculture was the coordinator and participant in TEMPUS, IPA, SEE.ERA NET AND FP6 projects and participant in several COST actions, FP7 projects, etc. Besides the mentioned projects, it had established a series of activities in the framework of bilateral cooperation (Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, etc), as well as in multilateral projects. Faculty is a member of the following international associations: EUA, ICA, CASEE, VUA, AREV, AUF. Great importance is given to networking with leading research centers in the country and abroad and the mobility of the Faculty’s researchers. Future orientation of the Faculty of Agriculture is the implementation of its multidisciplinary research, and continuation of traditionally fruitful collaboration with various stakeholders (local and regional authorities, different SMEs, etc.). With its eight departments, four experimental stations and laboratories, the faculty is a reputable institution not only in Serbia. The successful implementation of the Bologna process has been proven by the fact that the Faculty was reaccredited in May 2013.

Department of Field and Vegetable Crops organized in two units: Chair of Field and Vegetable Crops and the Chair of Soil Science, Plant Nutrition and Genetics. Department staff, in addition to the basic teaching activities (BSc, MSc and PhD), are engaged in the scientific research in the field of: plant nutrition, soil science, soil microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, production technology (of cultivation), improvement and rationalization of agricultural measures, adaptability and stability of genotypes, optimization of the farming system, etc.

PARTNER – Austria: Universitaet fuer bodenkultur, Wien (BOKU)

BOKU was founded in 1872 and consists of 13 departments, 4 service centres and of experimental fields and forests around Vienna. The University offers 9 Bachelor courses and 19 Master courses organized in the main BOKU research and teaching areas: Land & Water Management and Engineering, Agriculture, Forestry & Wood Science, Food Science & Biotechnology, Landscape Architecture & Planning. The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, the Alma Mater Viridis, perceives itself as a teaching and research center for renewable resources, which are necessary for human life. It is BOKU’s objective to help make a considerable contribution to the conservation and protection of resources for future generations by providing diversity in its fields of study. Connecting natural sciences, engineering and economic sciences, we wish to increase knowledge of the ecologically and economically sustainable use of natural resources, to provide a harmoniously cultivated landscape. An important feature of BOKU’s research lies in its recognition of future problems and our efforts to provide and stimulate practical relevance, internationality and among disciplines. Interdisciplinary cooperation of scientists on an international level should help create comprehensive questions about the future of our planet and lead to innovative problem solving. BOKU’s teaching is designed holistically and in a coordinated manner. It leads graduates to knowledge, understanding and flexibility. From this program, they gain the willingness to face future challenges and the capability to meet them in a competent way. We teach state of the art content and current issues that are based on dynamic research and a high level of practical relevance using modern didactic methods. This motivates students and graduates to develop their own ideas. Our cosmopolitan scientific vocational education and training enables them to understand complex interdisciplinary relationships. In order to reach these objectives, cooperation that is based on mutual trust and flexibility is necessary. Whenever possible, those concerned are integrated in the decision making processes, so that all BOKU members can identify with our university and its objectives. This also opens up the possibility for decentralized decision making, effective acting and the ability to respond to new challenges in a flexible manner. For the public, BOKU is also a competent and self-conscious partner. It combines the willingness to accept criticism with the readiness to take the responsibility of taking a clear position. We at BOKU commit ourselves to international performance in research and teaching, cooperation on regional, national and international levels, and to receptiveness to new developments.

The Institute of Meteorology at BOKU is carrying out research projects in the fields of environmental meteorology and climate change research, agrometeorology, atmospheric radiation, and small-scale boundary-layer climatology. Activities include numerical modelling as well as field measurements. The institute is coordinator of the Austrian national network on climate and climate change impact research.

PARTNER – Italy: Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze (UNIFI)

UNIFI is an important and influential centre for research and higher training in Italy, with 1800 lecturers and internal research staff, 1600 technical and administrative staff, and over 1600 research assistants and doctoral students. UNIFI has 126 Degree courses (First and Second Cycle, corresponding to Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees) organised in 10 Schools, with a population of about 51,000 enrolled students, one-fourth of which come from outside of Tuscany. The University of Florence Departments are the key organisational structures in the university. They are responsible for the research activities, the teaching programmes and the knowledge transfer. Five departments are created based on the basic study area: Biomedical, Scientific, Social Sciences, Technological and Humanities and Education. In recent years the University of Florence has increasingly consolidated its ventures in the field of knowledge transfer: from the filing of patents to the setting up of joint workshops with businesses, through to participation in spin-off companies. Knowledge transfer activities are coordinated by CSAVRI (Centro di Servizi di Ateneo per la Valorizzazione della Ricerca e la gestione dell’Incubatore universitario), the centre for the enhancement of research and management of the university’s incubator.

Under the Technological are in 2013 the Department of Agri-food Production and Environmental Sciences (DIPSPAA) of the UNIFI was formed as a merger beween two Departments: Plant, Soil and Environmental Science and Biotechnology. It now includes 75 professors and researchers, 30 technicians and 200 graduate students, senior and junior research fellows. DIPSPAA is constantly involved in training (degree, masers and PhD courses) and in research activities. Research is carried out in the framework of international and national projects funded by public (EU, Ministry of Research, Local Administrations, etc.) and private organisations (farms, cooperatives, etc.). The Section of Agronomy and Land Management focuses its research activities on agronomic practices, crop and soil management, environmental monitoring, eco-physiology, agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture. It has extensive experience in the application of modelling for bio-physical processes dealing with agricultural and environmental activity and land management to evaluate the bio-physical processes and to support decision making processes. Current field trials are carried out to measure environmental variables and to monitor plant growth and development and soil characteristics. Ongoing research priorities include sustainable agriculture and land management, integrated ecological-economic modelling and evaluation of farming systems, organic agriculture, agri-environmental indicators, eco-management auditing, participatory frameworks for assessment of natural resource management projects.