Skip to main content

Stepping up and bringing out the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in soil research of the University of Lisbon

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SOILdarity (Stepping up and bringing out the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in soil research of the University of Lisbon)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-11-30

Soil science is essential for precision agriculture and for sustainable soil management. The EU-funded SOILdarity project will develop strategies to integrate soil ecology with cutting-edge soil and crop sensors, modelling and system-control-technologies for sustainable soil management. The project will focus on Portugal, where soil faces considerable challenges due to management and climate change, erosion, and overexploitation. It will facilitate the cooperation between the leading partner FCiências.ID (including Ciências, the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Sciences), and two leading research institutions: MIGAL- Galilee Research Institute (Israel) and UGENT University (Belgium). The leading partner aims at boosting the research and innovation capacity of Ciências, improving its know-how in precision agriculture and sustainable soil management through knowledge-transfer established with internationally leading research-intensive partners.
SOILdarity is a three-year project aiming to enhance scientific excellence in soil science.

The project fosters the cooperation between two internationally leading research-intensive institutions and FCiências.ID - Associação para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento de Ciências (FC.ID). FC.ID is a private non-profit association endowed with legal personality whose aim is to support and develop research and innovation activities of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (CIÊNCIAS).
CIÊNCIAS is a key research centre in soil science in Portugal. exercise the beneficiary is FC.ID while CIÊNCIAS is a linked third party to FC.ID.
SOILdarity proposes a comprehensive scientific strategy build upon 3 impact- oriented areas of research:
1) water management and optimisation of the use of wastewater;
2) combination of biofertilizer application with precision agriculture techniques and technologies;
3) cross-cutting issues, such as sustainable business modelling, responsible research and innovation, research methodology, and gender equality.
A four-pillar synchronic approach supports the main operational objectives of the project:
Step up: To enhance the scientific, administrative, and technological capacity of FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS and the other partners.
Extend: To support networking at various levels and reputational assets.
Consolidate: To develop an international cooperation stable framework devoted to knowledge transfer.
Enable: To promote the involvement of FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s early-stage researchers (ESRs), to enable them to benefit from the experience of leading researchers.
SOILdarity is raising FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s research excellence in areas like digital agriculture, variable rate technologies, sustainable management of soils, and wastewater management for agriculture. The project is contributing to train researchers, and ensure short term staff exchanges, and institutional positioning at international level. This is likely to result in an increase of publications in peer-reviewed journals and an increase of international competitiveness as foreseen in the GA. From the developed during the period under evaluation we conclude that the twinning exercise is strengthening FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s research capacities in soil sciences, wastewater management and precision agriculture for sustainable use of the precious soil and water resources, to meet the challenge of effectively advising the government and providing guidance to the key stakeholders in the country.
The main contribution of SOILdarity is to consolidate FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s status as a leading research centre in the field of soil management and protection and its positioning within the European research landscape. In qualitative terms, SOILdarity is contributing to a higher level of soft skill e.g. self-confidence, self-discipline in research etc. for the researchers at FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS.
In this reporting period SOILdarity has developed the following activities:
2 key cross-cutting and multidisciplinary workshops: one on responsible research, internationalisation and women empowerment and another on the soil potential contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, of which the results were published in Sustainability journal (doi.org/10.3390/su132212754); and the other “How soil science contributes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” (based on which a publication is in preparation).
Designed 1 of the 2 research training activities on paper and proposal writing, knowledge transfer, project funding, and formulating of joint research project proposals programmed.
Designed 3 specialized multi-module training activities: “Optimization of the use of treated waste waters as a source for alternative fertilizers”, “Soil ecology in dry ecosystems” and “Use of sensor-based technology to measure soil fertility parameters”, of which implemented the course “Optimization of the use of treated waste waters as a source for alternative fertilizers”.
Designed the 3 virtual training seminars “Virtual training programme on upgrading administrative skills” addressed to FC.ID and Ciências’ administration staff to consolidate their research management capacities and administrative skills and implemented the 1st virtual session.
The SOILdarity project has been mapping international activities to engage in and in result has been invited to participate in several international events such as AgroGlobal 2021, Fruit Atraction 2021, and Cluster 6 on Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources (European Research Executive Agency), etc.. The team was also invited to be part of the network Climate Ambassador.
SOILdarity is raising FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s research excellence in areas like digital agriculture, variable rate technologies, sustainable management of soils, and wastewater management for agriculture. The project is contributing to train researchers, and ensure short term staff exchanges, and institutional positioning at international level. This is likely to result in an increase of publications in peer-reviewed journals and an increase of international competitiveness as foreseen in the GA. From the developed during the period under evaluation we conclude that the twinning exercise is strengthening FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s research capacities in soil sciences, wastewater management and precision agriculture for sustainable use of the precious soil and water resources, to meet the challenge of effectively advising the government and providing guidance to the key stakeholders in the country.
The main contribution of SOILdarity is to consolidate FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS’s status as a leading research centre in the field of soil management and protection and its positioning within the European research landscape. In quantitative terms, improving research excellence means a higher number of scientific publications in top academic WoS or Scopus indexed journals, higher capacity to compete for funding, a proper international reputation, as well as the further extension of the network of contacts and international collaborations with EU research and innovation actors. And all the team is committed to reach these impacts. In qualitative terms, SOILdarity is contributing to higher level of soft skill e.g. self-confidence, self-discipline in research etc. for the researchers at FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS.
Interactions and knowledge transfer among SOILdarity partners