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Connecting ICT solutions with sustainable agriculture in Serbia

A new European centre of excellence for the development of advanced technologies in sustainable agriculture and food security will open in Serbia with the aim to boost economic growth in the region.

Global food demand is set to continue increasing in coming years, placing additional pressure on limited natural resources. Innovative agricultural solutions are needed to produce more food from fewer resources and inputs.

The new centre of excellence (CoE) on advanced technologies in sustainable agriculture and food security in Serbia, partially funded by the EU, could lead to solutions. Agriculture and ICT are the two most promising sectors in Serbia, which is in urgent need of innovation-driven economic development.

The ANTARES project has received funding thanks to the EU’s ’Teaming Action’ within the work programme 'Spreading excellence and widening participation', which encourages advanced partners to share know-how, experience and expertise with institutions from countries and regions that are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation performance. Through teaming, they will reclaim their competitive position in global value chains.

In this case, the BioSense centre at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia – one of the only institutions in the region to focus on integrating IT solutions into agriculture – has teamed up with the Foundation for Agricultural Research (DLO), based at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.

BioSense is the youngest research institute of its kind in Serbia and a regional leader in its field while DLO is the leading European research institute for applied research in agriculture and food security.

Its partnership with BioSense presents a substantial opportunity to provide sustainable technological solutions to agrifood challenges and to ensure they are available to markets in Serbia, Europe and elsewhere.

This first one-year phase of the ANTARES project saw the development of a business plan for establishing the CoE, with the partners drawing on a consultation process and detailed research to formulate the centre’s vision and goals.

The completed plan proposes that the CoE:

  • explores emerging fields that include among others micro-nano electronics, robotics and remote sensing to overcome challenges and increase efficiency in the agrifood sector;
  • focuses on technological innovation on the ground by developing solutions for European farming thereby stimulating growth, entrepreneurship and employment in the region;
  • contributes to securing safe, adequate food for the growing global population in the face of dwindling natural resources and reduced availability of rural workers.

The next step will be for the CoE to provide concrete technological solutions, disseminate results and contribute to the sustainability of agriculture. It will also lead to benefits closer to home by creating jobs, encouraging the best young experts to stay in Serbia, attracting new talent from elsewhere, and promoting Serbia as a centre of excellence in research and innovation in the wider region.

Picture credit:  Bits and Splits - fotolia.com

This news item was originally featured on the European Commission website