The 7th International Conference CASEE
"The Role of Life Sciences in Europe’s 2020 strategy"
was held at BUASVM - Banat's University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine „King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
from May 22 to 24, 2016.
Life sciences encompass a wide variety of sciences concerned with the study of living organisms, including biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry and related subjects that are closely linked to agriculture – the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. Therefore, the scientific programme of the conference covered the main aspects of life sciences, including primary production and regional development, trends in food safety and food security, energy, climate change and biodiversity-related environmental challenges, biotechnology in knowledge-based bioeconomy, and many more.
The four sessions of our conference "production and regional development", "trends in food safety and food security", "energy, climate change and biodiversity - related environmental challenges" and "biotechnology in knowledge-based bioeconomy",reflected exactly the grand challenges, which are an important part of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The official part of the conference was opened by the President of CASEE and Rector of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Prof. DI Dr. Dr.h.c. mult. Martin H. GERZABEK, who pointed out the important role of life sciences to develop and secure a stable society on planet earth for the future. Feeding the world, securing drinking water resources and dealing with the megatrend of urbanization, as well as the challenge of contributing to a resilient environment by supporting biodiversity, are topics of utmost importance for today and the decades to come.
Rector of the Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara, Prof. Dr. Eng. Cosmin Alin Popescu, also welcomed the guests.
Following the opening ceremony, current trends, approaches and strategies in representative scientific topics were presented in three keynotes:
- Nastasia BELC, Director of the National Institute for Bioresources, Bucuresti, Romania: "Keeping Food Integrity in our agenda"
- Branislava LALIC, University of Novi Sad, Serbia: "Facing with CC challenges by using seasonal weather forecast in agricultural production"
- Thomas ROSENAU, BOKU Vienna, Austria: “Biorefineries as a basis for knowledge-based bioeconomy".
Following the keynote presentations, the 177 participants spread out into 4 parallel sessions and continued with fruitful discussions and exchanges of experiences.
- Session I: Production and regional development
- Session II: Trends in food safety and food security
- Session III: Energy, climate change and biodiversity - related environmental challenges
- Session IV: Biotechnology in knowledge-based bioeconomy
During these four sessions of the 7th CASEE Conference, the latest scientific results were introduced in order to promote research and educational activities in these fields. Thus, the conference provided an excellent opportunity to network, share ideas, and form partnerships in agrobiology, biotechnology and food associations, learning societies in agrobiology and biotechnology, food research institutes, universities, etc., to promote scientific information interchange between academics, developers, engineers, practitioners, researchers and students working and/or studying in the Danube region and other European countries. The special value of every CASEE conference is the high number of PhD students who present their work to senior colleagues, gain contacts for future activities and are encouraged to continue further research.
This year 25 master students also attended the conference as part of the course “Introduction to Scientific Communication”. The major objective of this course implemented by Szent Istvan University, Gödöllö as part of the CASEE-In project "Internationalizing CASEE network by introducing innovative mobility activities and defining quality criteria" is to give an overview of CASEE Network activities, present guidelines for scientific writing and presentation, and show students some IT based communication techniques. By participating in the CASEE conference the students not only had their first hands-on-experience at a scientific conference, but also enhanced their interdisciplinary approach to science. The students’ reports will be presented to the CASEE Board.
Next to the sessions three additional successful meetings were held, as follows:
- the CASEE-In project meeting, offering the possibility for 25 students from the CASEE network, to participate at the conference and planning further activities like developing guidelines for the internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions
- the Danube Agri-food Master-programme "Sustainability in Agriculture, Food Production and Food Technology in the Danube Region"
- a workshops of the Danube-INCO.NET-Project that is organised in the framework of the pilot action "Towards a Danube bioeconomy RTI strategy for appropriate regional added value chains".
On Sunday, before the start of the conference, two other meetings related to the conference were held:
- the CASEE Board meeting
- the meeting of the board teams from the four agricultural universities from Romania.
Next to the scientific value of the conference, these meetings also provided an excellent breeding ground for other parts of the CASEE community, in which the administrative staff built a strong collaboration through project proposals, networking and workshops.
At the CASEE General Assembly, held on the last day of the conference, several interesting educational and network projects were presented: e.g. meetings of representatives within the CASEE network, the Erasmus+ Joint degree application of the CASEE Danube AgriFood Master programme, a new CASEE member candidate (University of Sarajevo) and a candidate for organizing the 9th CASEE Conference 2018, the University of Agronomic Science and Veterinary Medicine from Bucharest.
The full scientific programme was combined with a number of attractive social events: on Sunday evening the participants attended the Welcome reception at the Restaurant Valery, with a traditional programme presented by the students from the host university.
On Monday evening all the participants came to an impressive event with a wine tasting and a socializing dinner at the Winery of Recas.
On the last day of the conference, the participants had the possibility to take a guided tour through the historical part of Timisoara.
The CASEE "Family" enjoyed this conference very much, thanks again the organisers in Timisoara and looks forward to the next conference 2017 in Warsaw!