Being an associated EU member at present, Bulgaria will turn into a border country of the Union in 2007. This sets the urgent need for: (1) building an effective and flexible expert system for diagnosis and identification of agricultural pests by using sim ple and fast technologies and in close interaction with EU experts; (2) development of biological control methods sensitive to regional peculiarities and promoting organic agriculture. The main project objective is to establish PPI as a Centre of Excellenc e for research and knowledge-transfer in the field of plant protection in the Balkans. This is considered also the way to enlarge possibilities for participation in FP6, thematic priority "Food quality and safety". With a 70-year tradition and scientific s taff of 40 researchers with various scientific background and expertise, the Plant Protection Institute (PPI) is a leading one in the field of plant protection in Bulgaria. Its main research areas cover Pest, Disease, Weed and Bioagent (PDWB) Bionomy, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of agricultural crops. The reinforcement of PPI human potential (extra qualification of promising young researchers and Ph.D. students) and the upgrading the S&T equipment will focus on the use of fast and reliable dia gnostics and identifications of PDWB (serological and genetic methods and applicable expert systems) and on methods for detection of pesticide residues and mycotoxins. The existing collection of PDWB will be accomplished with electronic database informatio n. Knowledge transfer will be realized by traditional (workshops, conferences) and virtual (website, CD-ROM training materials) means. Annual Balkan Week of Plant Health is intended to promote cooperation and facilitate the enlargement of European Research Area into the Balkan region. Periodic refresher-courses for Plant Protection professionals will result in updating of expertise in plant protection measures.
Call for proposal
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