On 8-12 April, in Moldova, Vytautė Giedraitienė, Coordinator of the project “Enhancing capacity of universities to initiate and to participate in clusters development on innovation and sustainability principles (UniClaD)” and Dr Giedrius Gecevičius, Head of the Unit for Applied Science and Commercialisation, took part in the Workshop and Steering Committee Meeting of the Erasmus+ project UniClaD, coordinated by Kauno kolegija Higher Education Institution (HEI).

During the first day of the meeting, Dr G. Gecevičius shared his expert knowledge by leading the workshop “Information Technologies in Agriculture”. According to him, the main objective of the workshop was to proactively look at the development of the agricultural sector and identify the key moonshots to be achieved in the future by using knowledge-based solutions. The researcher explains that in order to achieve the goals, it is necessary to overcome limiting factors in the social, economic, environmental and technological sectors.

By working in international teams, partners from six European Union countries, as well as Moldova, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, through the application of information technology have successfully developed projects to identify the factors limiting the development of the agricultural sector and to address the challenges, which will be applied in the Eastern Partnership countries in the nearest future.

During the workshop, other partners from the European Union covered topics such as the development of new training methodologies, the development of innovations in agri-food clusters or the application of Lean technology principles in agriculture. Delegation of project partners also visited and evaluated the newly created competence and research centres, had a tour of the facilities and equipment for research and competence development.

During the Steering Committee meeting which was hosted by the Technical University of Moldova in Chisinau, project partners from 23 European and Asian institutions discussed the implemented activities and emerging issues, as well as the future plans to achieve the project’s expected outcomes and contribute to addressing national, international and global challenges. They also discussed concrete plans for the mobility of Ukrainian, Moldovan and Azerbaijani partner universities students’ to EU partner institutions, the development of pilot projects and creation of the manuals on cluster development and innovation, as well as the organization of workshops and a final conference in Azerbaijan.

Project Coordinator V. Giedraitienė emphasizes the importance of the UniClaD project at both institutional and national level: ‘UniClaD is the first project of its kind to be implemented at Kauno kolegija HEI, bringing together more than 20 partners from European and Asian countries to achieve common goals. It is very encouraging that Lithuania is a priority region for international cooperation among the Eastern European Partnership countries, i.e. Moldova, Azerbaijan, Ukraine. We are proud that our country is a role model for clustering and knowledge transfer between higher education and business.’

The UniClaD project aims to build on innovation and sustainable development principles to strengthen the potential of higher education institutions to create and successfully develop agro-industrial clusters. UniClaD is the first project of its kind to be implemented at Kauno kolegija HEI, bringing together higher education institutions and agribusiness companies from Lithuania, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova and Azerbaijan. The project is worth almost one million euros.

More information: www.uniclad.net

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