Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is participating in ANTARES: a new EU project that aims to evolve the Serbian BioSense Centre into a European Centre of Excellence for advanced technologies in sustainable agriculture and food security. The participation of WUR will secure the transfer of agricultural know-how and experience of the highest European standards to this new Serbian Centre of Excellence.
The BioSense Centre in Serbia is a leading research institute in ICT which wants to apply its expertise to agriculture and food. The collaboration between WUR and BioSense in the ANTARES project will enable the exchange of researchers, technicians, and supporting staff between both institutes. Both institutes will thus be able to profit from each other’s expertise. According to Louise O. Fresco, president of the Wageningen University & Research Board and present during the kick off meeting of ANTARES in March in Serbia: ‘It’s a partnership of synergy and complementarity: mutual strengths and mutual points where we can learn from one another.’
Attractive working environment
The Serbian government has committed itself to match the 14 million euro of EC contribution in the ANTARES project with 14 million euro funding from national funds. This Serbian government funding will be used to construct a building to house the new Centre of Excellence and to equip it with large research equipment. EC representatives emphasized the importance of creating an attractive physical working environment to be able to attract excellent personnel and allow the Serbian institute to grow from 55 FTE now to roughly 200 FTE by the end of the project in 2024.
Kick off meeting ANTARES
Preliminary to the kick off meeting in Serbia, one-on-one visits between scientists from BioSense and WUR took place on the premises of BioSense. WUR was represented by a team of scientists, including Louise O. Fresco.
On the first day of the meeting, the partners presented themselves and the project to representatives of the European Commission, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the Innovation Advisory Board. The ceremonial part took place on the second day, with speeches from the director of the BioSense Institute, representatives of the Serbian and Dutch government and the EU, and Louise O. Fresco. The ceremonial part was concluded with the signing of an agreement in which the government of Serbia commits itself to match the 14 million euro EC contribution with 14 million euro funding from Serbian national funds.