AQUARIUS is developing a European electronics education, training and information service for aquaculture. Its purpose is to promote availability of up-to-date specialized data in the booming fish farming sector, by boosting flexible collaboration between academic research and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This two-way exchange will be reinforced by developing telematics learning methods for professional training for fisheries. Following the development of the teaching service, the project is scheduled for validation at three academic centres and 30 SME sites in each of the three participating countries, involving some 250 persons.
The AQUARIUS project aims to develop a sustainable European Electronic Education/Training and Information Service in the Aquaculture Sector. This service will be based on the integration of existing and emerging network- and telematic technologies and protocols, which facilitate flexible communication, information exchange, and collaborative work between Academic research centres and businesses (SME's). Starting January 1996, a Consortium, in which the University of Gent, Trondheim, Wageningen and Bergen participate, will build and validate a 'demonstrator' of the Education/Training and Information Service.
AQUARIUS addresses the challenge of knowledge development and transfer in the rapidly growing fish farming business. Fish farming is expanding in rural Europe and is expected to grow. However, due to traditions, scientific research and education have received little attention. There is a lack of educational capacity at all levels. Furthermore, fish farmers are expressing interests for more opportunities to exchange their views and problems with fellow farmers and with the research sector. This situation creates an opportunity to integrate the use of new telematic learning methods in the basic infrastructure of aquacultural education and training. The universities of Wageningen, Gent and Trondheim that take part in the existing aquaculture ERASMUS network, will be cores of a telematic based education system at all levels, starting with the integration of PhD programmes at the major universities and further expanding to reach the industry as a whole. Several stakeholders in the sector like the European Aquaculture Society (EAS), The Norwegian Board of Joint Competence Development, the Dutch Agricultural Education Centre Midden Nederland, are supporting AQUARIUS. The same is true for Public Network operators like the Royal PTT Netherlands and Telenor.
Main characteristic of the Education/Training and Information Service is the integration of high speed Internet based academic computer networks with technology platforms accessible for SME's (ISDN, CATV and PSTN). Following the outcome of trials with new broadband communication protocols (e.g. ATM) it is envisaged to integrate these technologies and the related tools into the Academic infrastructure. AQUARIUS seeks to implement tools and services that allows for flexibility and interoperability between the above mentioned protocols and technologies. Thus enabling users within the academic and SME environment to engage in both :
- synchronous communication (i.e. desktop videoconferencing for knowledge exchange and distance learning);
- a synchronous communication (i.e. video on demand services and distributed multimedia databases that help
- entrepreneurs optimise production processes).
AQUARIUS will be validated between 3 academic sites involving 200 PhD- and MSc students and staff, and 30 SME sites involving 50 persons. In the demonstration phase AQUARIUS will be extended to 3 other academic sites involving 85 additional users plus 6 SME's and European Aquaculture organisations (e.g. EAS) involving another 200 users.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts