In the latter half of 2019, out of 833 projects submitted within the Erasmus+ programme, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission in Brussels (EACEA), selected 163 it will finance directly. Among them is the project titled “Vitalising ICT Relevance in Agriculture Learning – VIRAL“.
VIRAL project is the first project submitted under the coordination of the University of Banja Luka and in cooperation with 16 other partners from six countries. Project partners are: University of Mostar, BiH; Džemal Bijedić University, Mostar, BiH; University of Tuzla, BiH; Bijeljina University, BiH; Donja Gorica University, Montenegro; Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands; University of Maribor, Slovenia; University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Romania; Agro voće d.o.o., BiH; Jafa komerc d.o.o., BiH; 13. jul Plantaže a.d., Montenegro; Western Balkans Institute, Serbia; Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre Tehnopolis, Montenegro; Banja Luka Innovation Centre, BiH; Foundation for innovation and technology development, BiH, and Montenegro Association for New Technologies, Montenegro.
The general goal of the VIRAL project is to support the cooperation of the university and business sectors by encouraging the use of ICT in the agricultural sector in the Western Balkan countries, in order to achieve the desired integration of agriculture and engineering. Development of ICT expands the ways to use it in agricultural sector, and consequently stimulates and facilitates the sector’s sustainability.
Project implementation began in early 2020 with initial activities – kick-off meeting and the project’s inception conference. The kick-off meeting was used to define the basic principles of working on the project, schedule of activities in the coming period, and to analyse the most important segments of the project implementation. The meeting was followed by inception conference held at the Republika Srpska Academy of Science and Arts in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. At the conference, experts from The Netherlands, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, presented an overview of the state of play in IT and agricultural sectors, as well as the results of various research and application of IT in this field.
“This Project aims to, also, in a way, strengthen the position of students of agriculture because, through certain informal, additional education in this field we would like to reduce the gap between the knowledge they gain in school and what is nowadays required in the modern agricultural practices,” said Professor Miljan Cvetković, project coordinator.
The VIRAL project, worth EUR 900,000, has been approved within the Erasmus+ programme in the field of Strengthening the relationship between higher education institutions and wider economic and social environment, and will last for three years.