Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

AREA Result In Brief

Project ID: 316004
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Serbia

Serbian agri-food research boosted

An EU initiative has improved Serbia's agricultural and food sciences research capacity by introducing state-of-the-art techniques, exchanging know-how and developing research and technological portfolios at its largest agricultural faculty.
Serbian agri-food research boosted
Serbia relies on agriculture and food industries to both feed its population and boost its economy through exports. Despite this, the country lacks the necessary financial and human resources to perform cutting-edge agri-food research.

The EU-funded AREA (Advancing research in agricultural and food sciences at Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade) initiative boosted the research capacity of the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Agriculture (FA) by implementing novel and innovative research technologies targeting more productive, environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture and food science. It did this by improving infrastructure, purchasing new equipment, recruiting experienced researchers to train young scientists and exchanging expertise and ideas with other EU researchers.

AREA was built on the existing expertise of 13 FA research teams (covering different areas of plant, animal, food and biotechnology sciences) to make Serbia's agri-food sector more competitive. Sending both young and senior researchers to 14 EU host institutions and arranging numerous seminars and workshops vastly improved the Faculty's knowledge and expertise.

Visits from four experienced researchers with skills in molecular biology and Raman microscopy/spectroscopy techniques that were lacking in FA labs were particularly important. They helped to set up four new fully equipped laboratories for molecular biology research, to improve research in re-equipped existing laboratories and to train young researchers how to use state-of-the-art equipment in different areas of agricultural and food sciences.

This also included a laser-based microscopic device called a Raman microscope/spectroscope. Used to identify the presence and location of molecules within samples, the Raman microscope/spectroscope will allow FA researchers to structurally and chemically analyse plant and animal samples, food products and biotechnology procedures.

The innovation and discoveries that come with improved research capacity need to be protected by intellectual property rights (IPR) like patents and trade secrets. AREA established an administrative body to deal with IPR at the Faculty, and trained researchers in intellectual property issues and legislation.

The initiative's effectiveness and lasting impact is reflected by the FA's recent outputs. Eleven international projects were funded (including 4 new Horizone 2020), nine PhD students graduated, young researchers were promoted and 50 manuscripts in international journals were published during the project.

Importantly, by giving the FA the capacity to provide commercial services like food quality and biotechnology tests, AREA made the Faculty sustainable while simultaneously improving agricultural and food productivity through research.

Related information

Keywords

Agri-food research, molecular biology, Raman microscopy/spectroscopy, Serbia, AREA, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade
Record Number: 191180 / Last updated on: 2017-02-22