Thursday, November 24, 2011

Organic.Balkanet European Workshop

The Organic.Balkanet EU project organized a European Workshop titled "Training Challenges for the Agricultural Professionals: The Organic.Balkanet Experience", that took place in the eula of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Bucharest  on November 17th, 2011. The Workshop was attended by more than 70 people, including researchers, academia, students of agronomic sciences, professionals in the field of organic agriculture as well as representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture.

The Workshop started with a keynote speech from Dr. Helga Willer from FiBL, providing a short overview of the status of Organic Agriculture in Europe and a presentation of the Organic Eprints archive and was followed by a presentation of previous similar to Organic.Balkanet initiatives (such as Bio@gro and Organic.Edunet), as well as the the presentation of the Organic.Balkanet project. A presentation of the e-learning methods was also delivered in the same session. The 2nd session was dedicated to presentations of the training events of the Organic.Balkanet project in the user countries (Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia).

A hands-on session included the use of the Organic.Balkanet MOLE portal, a course management platform for creating and delivering online courses as a part of a training curriculum. The 2nd part of the hands-on session included the VOA3R portal, which focuses on providing access to a siginificant number of open access scholarly content, as well as for interconnecting researchers of sciences related to agriculture, aquaculture and related areas. Both sessions were handled by Ass. Prof. Salvador Sanchez from University of Alcala and me, as a member of the GRNET team.

The last sessions of the workshop were dedicated to the Sustainability plan of the project and some additional presentations from Romanian organizations related to organic agriculture.

You can find more photos from the Workshop in the project's Flickr photostream.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Organic.Balkanet 5th project meeting

Prof. G.V. Roman discussing during the
project meeting
The 5th (and last) project meeting of the Organic.Balkanet EU project took place at the premises of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Bucharest between November 16-18, 2011. All project partners were available and discussed the pending issues of the project, a few weeks before the end of the project. I had the opportunity to meet the project partners for the last time after a couple of years. I have to admit that I was especially connected to this EU project, since it was the first one that I was so actively involved (and the second one in my short career so far, after my involvement in the Organic.Edunet project).
Some photos from the project meeting can be found in the project's Flickr set.

The project meeting was collocated by the Organic.Balkanet European Workshop that took place at the Eula of the University on November 17th, 2011.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I.S.L.E. Professionalization Fair / 4th project meeting

Two different but closely related events of I.S.L.E. network , that took place in the premises of Instituto Superior de Agronomia of the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal between November 7-11, 2011

1. Professionalization Fair: It took place between 8-9/11. Almost all project partners, along with some additional stakeholders/companies, were allocated a space, which included a chair, a desk, power supply and internet connection, as well as enough space for 4 posters, in order to promote their work and meet potential stakeholders. Everything was really nicely organized and the Agro-Know team was happy to introduce the first ISLE project poster, as well as revised brochures of the project. Unfortunately, due to various reasons (including the bad weather), the participation from people outside the project was limited. However, it was still a nice opportunity for project partners to get to know each other even better and more specifically have a clearer image of what each project partner is working on.
The 2nd day of the Fair included a number of interesting presentations from organizations that are involved in the area of sustainable development as well as a substantial (but rather short) round table discussion, including various experts in the area of SD.

2. I.S.L.E. 4th project meeting: It took place between 10-11/11. The first day was dedicated to the current status of the ongoing tasks of the project, so each WP leader provided a brief overview about the status of the corresponding WP. In addition, Dr. Jad Najjar from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, was introduced as the new Belgian partner. Additional sessions in the evening were arranged, in order to discuss the next actions for each WP and set the corresponding deadlines.The second day included a technical visit to the Companhia das LezĂ­rias, the largest agriculture, cattle and forest farmstead in Portugal, covering the marshlands of Vila Franca de Xira, Charneca do Infantado and Pauis (Belmonte, Lavouras and Magos), totalling about 18,000 hectares.

For once more we spent so much time together that it felt like a family reunion! From breakfast time in the morning to the dinner time in the evening, we were working in teams, discussing various things, exchanging opinions and having fun! Had to leave really early (about 07.00), but I was lucky enough to have a bus stop of a convenient bus right outside my hotel so I just had to wait for a few minutes before I entered the bus.

Looking forward to the next project meeting that will take place at the premises of Harper Adams University College in Newport, UK.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Preparing for the 4th project meeting of I.S.L.E.

On Monday I am flying to Lisbon, Portugal in order to participate to the I.S.L.E. 4th project meeting as well to the Professionalization fair, which will be collocated and organized by the School of Agronomy of the Technical University of Lisbon, as an ISLE partner.

Clipped from: (share this clip)
This time we have a lot of things to present to the project meeting, and not limited to the dissemination activities that we are responsible for: New project brochure and poster, almost ready-to-send newsletters, a new platform for providing the ISLE project partners a place to meet, share and discuss, revised course management platform and handbooks etc. It is a good thing that almost all these activities were supported by my colleague Andreas, who devoted a significant amount of time for them.

The Professionalization fair will provide us (as Agro-Know) with the opportunity to present our work in various projects related to the area covered by I.S.L.E. I have already packed my suitcase with posters, brochures and leaflets from these projects, while I have a number of slides presenting these projects, that will be played back and forth in my netbook during the Fair. It sounds like a really big event and I am really anxious to see what it's going to be like.

An I.S.L.E project meeting is different than any other project meeting as it always looks like a big family reunion: It is so nice to see people from all over Europe, younger and older, really friendly and full of ideas and share all these days with them not only working but also enjoying the limited free time. Just imagine a consortium consisting of about 39 institutions coming from about 30 different countries - the gathering is just amazing! It is always a pleasure working with this big family and provide as much as possible to the consortium.