Friday, June 6, 2014

International Conference "Agriculture for Life, Life for Agriculture"

The International Conference "Agriculture for Life, Life for Agriculture" was organized by  the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest (USAMVB) between June 5 - 7, 2014 in Bucharest, Romania, at the USAMVB premises. By conveniently collocating the Herbal.Mednet 4th project meeting with the Conference, the Herbal.Mednet project partners were allowed to participate in the second day of the Conference and actively contribute to it by delivering a number of presentations.

The Conference covered a wide variety of topics and consisted of the following 7 sessions
  1. Agronomy
  2. Horticulture
  3. Animal Science
  4. Veterinary Medicine
  5. Land Reclamation, Earth Observation & Surveying, Environmental Engineering
  6. Biotechnology
  7. Management and Engineering in Rural Areas
In addition, it included a number of keynote speeches from various speakers. You may find the full program of the Conference here.

The 2nd day of the Conference, which we attended and participated in, was well-organized and attended by about 100 people, including university staff, students as well as participants from other organizations and initatives. Dr. Salvador Sanchez was in the panel of the specific session of the Conference and he also presented the case of the Open Discovery Space (ODS) project. His presentation was followed by the one by Prof. Vicente Castell-Zeising from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, on the cultivation of organic medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in Spain. Then, Marta di Pierro from AIAB, the new Herbal.Mednet project partner, presented the marketing aspect of the MAPs in Italy using a Prezi-based presentation, which came out really interesting. She has a really interesting story to share about her participation in the Conference, the preparation of her slides and how she managed to transfer the slides from her iPad to a USB stick! ;-)

Created with flickr slideshow.

Victor Gonzalvez from SEAE made a presentation on MAPs in Mediterranean countries in general. The session closed with a presentation by me, on agriMoodle, as an adapted version of the popular Moodle platform, for delivering online agriculture-related courses. The presentation was based on a paper that we have recently submitted to the AGRIS Online Journal, describing the agriMoodle platform to be used by Herbal.Mednet during the online trainings which are to take place mainly during the summer of 2014. For some strange reason, for once more I found myself as the last in the list of presenters for the specific section and we had already ran out of time when I started my presentation; as a result, I had to skip some slides and make a summary of the others and this was not exactly how I have planned my presentation. However, I am always flexible and easy-going, so there was nothing wrong with that. I have to admit that the audience was really interested in the presentation, a fact I really enjoyed!

Overall, it was a nice opportunity for Herbal.Mednet project partners to expose their experiences and knowledge to a wider audience and I believe that the partners made good use of this opportunity. It was also an interesting contribution to the whole Conference, providing a set of presentations on MAPs, which receive an increased interest by various stakeholders during the last years, due to their useful properties. On top of that, the presentations on the ODS approach and the agriMoodle development provided a view on the educational and learning approaches followed at a European level, both as methodology (ODS) and as actual software tools (agriMoodle).

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