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H2020

ANTARES Report Summary

Project ID: 664388
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.a.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ANTARES (Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technologies in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technologies in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security – ANTARES is an H2020 project funded under the prestigious Teaming programme (Contract No: 664388 ANTARES CSA and 664387 ANTARES FPA) whose major objective is to transform the BioSense Centre, University of Novi Sad, Serbia into a new Centre of Excellence (CoE) for advanced technologies in sustainable agriculture and food security, where Research and Technological Development (RTD) will be performed at global standards in term of scientific excellence, technological innovation and contribution to broader social goals.
Since the implementation of such an ambitious vision requires a tremendous effort on planning, ANTARES CSA was envisaged as the first stage of the project that lasts for one year, whose main aim was to produce an extensive, detailed and robust Business Plan for the setting‐up of the new CoE. This Business Plan presents the implementation guide for transforming of the BioSense into a European CoE, derived by analysing the past, present and future perspectives, both in terms of internal and external parameters.
The ANTARES project consortium consists of the University of Novi Sad - BioSense Institute, as the project coordinator, a world leading research institution in agricultural domain Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO), and Ministry of education, science and technological development of the Republic of Serbia (MPNTR).
After the project had been granted, the BioSense Centre, established as an organizational unit at the University of Novi Sad, evolved to an independent legal institution BioSensе Institute - Research Institute for Information Technologies in Biosystems. It was found by the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in order to focus specific research potential of the University of Novi Sad in one institution and foster excellence in multidisciplinary research. This was particularly fostered having in mind the requirement of the Teaming call for independence in decision making of future European Centres of Excellence.
This report presents an overview of the progress and work carried out during the first reporting period (M1-M12), which also corresponds to the entire duration of ANTARES CSA project, June 1st 2015-May 31st 2016.
The specific objectives of the ANTARES CSA project were defined as follows:
• To obtain an objective insight into the current status, potential and gaps of the BioSense, in the process of transforming itself into a European CoE.
• To study and assimilate global and European best practices and adjust them to the context of the new CoE.
• To align the vision and strategy of the new CoE with the requirements of the regional Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) and relevant European strategic initiatives.
• To incorporate the needs and priorities of the stakeholders into the strategy of the new CoE
• To create an ambitious yet achievable Business Plan for the establishment of the new CoE, with clearly defined expected results, timetable and responsibilities allocation.
The initial Action Plan based on six work packages was designed to result in the achievement of defined Project objectives. The list of work packages is given as follows:
• WP1: Project Management
• WP2: Assessment of internal and external environment
• WP3: Gap analysis and Strategy development
• WP4: Business Plan Development
• WP5: Expertise and knowledge transfer
• WP6: Dissemination and communication
During the project execution, European Commission conveyed Ethical requirement to the project consortium and the consortium accordingly prepared the response to it. Namely, according to the Ethics Appraisal Report, ANTARES consortium had to address 13 different ethics requirements, divided into 4 categories. As an outcome, a whole work package has been added to the project implementation plan - WP7 Ethics.
The Project has carried out the all the activities according to the plan and has achieved all objectives and milestones. All tasks within the work packages have been performed and all corresponding objectives have been fulfilled. All activities and findings have been well documented in corresponding deliverables.
Extensive and comprehensive analysis of the internal and external environment of the BioSense created a basis for a detailed gap analysis and consequently for the formulation of our vision, mission, and strategy. The achieved results, together with the analysis of stakeholders’ needs and international best practices, paved the way to the production of a detailed Business Plan as the core objective of the ANTARES CSA.
The Business Plan incorporates all our experience, visions and believes and it represents a self-standing document that describes the essential elements of our vision for the seven years of ANTARES FPA project. Our vision for the new CoE is shown in the Figure 1.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work package 1 was dedicated to the project management whose efficient and timely coordination ensured seamless and quality execution of the project. The project management efficiently carried out monitoring and controlling of the project progress which resulted in timely achievement of the milestones and submission of high quality and comprehensive deliverables.
WP2 was implemented in M01-M03 and it resulted in a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the internal and external environment of the BioSense. Internal assessment comprised all relevant aspects of the BioSense including scientific, business, networking and dissemination, organisational, and financial performance. Also, DLO and MPNTR helped to provide unbiased and objective evaluation of the current status.
Assessment of the external environment comprised analysis of European and global leaders in research and innovation and their best practices, analysis of the latest research results and current scientific challenges, analysis of regional and European policies relevant for the research and innovation activities of the BioSense, and analysis and creating of database of stakeholders.
The outcomes of WP2 served as a valuable input for the activities carried out in WP3, namely long-term vision formulation, gap analysis, and strategy development. The gap analysis outlined in detail the envisaged and current state, the gap between the two, and suggestion of actions to be taken to overcome this gap, in five different categories – technologies, human resources, organizational structure, collaboration, and supporting services. According to the gap analysis and formulated vision, we have also developed strategy that evolves around six axes – science, people, infrastructure, innovation, ecosystem, and society, and it also includes objectives and key performance indicators.
The activities and results achieved within WP4 represent the major result of the ANTARES CSA project - extensive, detailed and robust business plan that integrates investment, organizational, financial, and execution plan in which the outcomes of WP2, WP3, WP5, and WP6 have been incorporated. The Business Plan comprises all our experience, visions and believes, and it represents a self-standing document that describes the essential elements of our vision for the seven years of ANTARES FPA project, and incorporates the effects of EC funding, national co-funding and internal growth, based on our ongoing activities and their evolution.
WP5 was led by DLO and it resulted in a significant transfer of know‐how and mentality from the leading European institute to the BioSense not only in terms of the research practice and to current trends and needs of European agriculture, but also in terms of business models and procedures. In addition, DLO has carried out an external gap analysis of the BioSense that was incorporated into WP3 tasks and afterwards into Business Plan.
WP6 promoted the project and the BioSense in various manners including different networking events, conferences as well as media promotions. The major result of the work package is public consultation process that gathered a number of stakeholders including flagship companies, distinguished research institutes, and key decision-making bodies whose input, obtained through the meetings, interviews, and questionnaires, has been incorporated in our vision, strategy, and ultimately in the business plan.
In other words, the activities within WP5 and WP6 allowed for an extensive knowledge transfer from the project partners to BioSense as well as an extensive interaction with stakeholders and in that sense synergistically supported the activities in WP2, WP3, and WP4.
ANTARES CSA as a year-long project has achieved very significant results and created a strong basis for future development of the BioSense. Namely, the project resulted in a very deep understanding of the current external and internal environment of the BioSense which allowed for extensive gap analysis and consequently judiciously formulation of our vision and strategy. All these results have been incorporated in the Business Plan that will be the implementation guide for transforming of the BioSense into a European CoE, and as such represents the major outcome of ANTARES CSA.
Business Plan formulation has brought another result - development of the range of the soft skills of the project team, which represents the major exploitable asset of the project. Namely, through the whole process of business plan development the team members acquired organizational skills business planning and project management skills, as well as research and analytical skills.
The core dissemination mechanism in ANTARES CSA was the public consultation process which played the crucial role in the identification of stakeholders’ needs and thus in the formulation of scientific and innovation development strategy of the new CoE and consequently in the development of the coherent and extensive Business Plan. Public consultation process was carried out through the various means including meetings, open panels, and questionnaires, and it attracted over 400 individual participants, companies, and institutions. Hence, the public consultation process has significantly extended the BioSense network of partners and potential users of its services.
To broaden visibility and raise the awareness of ANTARES project and the BioSense in terms of its activities and potentials, we have also used electronic (website, electronic media appearances, social media), non-electronic (press releases) and off-line and face-to-face dissemination methods (networking events).
ANTARES was recognized as a great success and opportunity for the whole Serbian research community, and as such attracted a significant attention form media, governmental bodies, and society. Some of the news releases about ANTARES project in leading national newspapers are shown in Figure 2.
Such success also contributed to the realization of the idea of foundation of the BioSense Institute by the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Development of the Business Plan, which included extensive investigation of the BioSense internal and external environment, gap analysis, best practices, and stakeholders’ needs, has paved the way for the future development of the BioSense Institute that aims to perform forefront needs-driven research and innovation in the field of ICT application in agriculture, with the goal to develop advanced solutions that will have impact on sustainable agriculture, economy, and society as a whole.
Also, extensive investigation of the internal and external environment as well market and stakeholders’ needs brought the BioSense in a better position to assess and prioritize opportunities and take part in those activities. In that sense, we assured diversification of the BioSense activities and increased the ability to mobilize funds for future development, which will consequently boost the national and regional research potential and economy.
ANTARES CSA also had an impact on the research potential on a national level since it supported alignment of the national research agenda with ERA priorities and stakeholders’ needs. Namely, participation in public consultation process and knowledge transfer from DLO fostered MPNTR to identify the gaps between the national and EU policies as well as to consider incorporation of the stakeholders’ needs into future research strategies.
Since ANTARES CSA served as as year-long phase in which an extensive and ambitious Business Plan for future CoE was developed, the wider and more effective impact to the science, agriculture, economy, and whole society is expected in the forthcoming years during the execution of ANTARES FPA project.

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