SICILIAN MICRO AND NANO TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND INNOVATION CENTER “SAMOTHRACE”
Fund: National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Mission 4, Component 2, Investment 1.5 “Innovation ecosystems” funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU
Project manager for Unict: Simona Consoli, full professor of Agricultural hydraulics and watershed protection [AGR/08]
The priority line of the Samothrace ecosystem falls within the “Digital, Industry and Space” of the National Research Plan (PNR). The main objective is to leverage the consolidated vocation of the Sicilian territory in the field of microelectronics and micro and nano technologies to bring it to a higher and more widespread level that can have a significant and tangible impact on the industrial scenario of the island and on the whole company.
In fact, the set of activities develops around the common thread of micro and nano technologies, of microelectronics, materials, microsystems and devices, combining methodologies and applications and directing them towards six main areas: energy, health, intelligent mobility, environment, cultural heritage and intelligent agriculture.
The project brings together 28 partners including 4 universities, 5 research institutes, 4 large international companies and 10 small and medium enterprises. The University of Catania is the lead proponent of the project.
A budget of almost 120 million to be used in three years, expected recruitments for 115 researchers, 70 research doctorate scholarships, 8 million euros for "cascade" tenders intended for further industrial realities to be involved; and then 9 'radius' projects ( spoke) which leverage the enabling technologies of micro and nanoelectronics but are then divided into six areas of application: Energy, Environment, Smart Mobility, Intelligent Systems for Precision Agriculture, Health, Cultural Heritage.
The Di3A Department is actively engaged in spoke 1 of the project with the coordination of WP5 "Smart Systems for Precision Agriculture" by Prof. Simona Consoli, full professor of Agricultural Hydraulics.
The Di3A also coordinates the pillar on "Precision Agriculture" across all 9 spokes of Samothrace. The coordination of the pillar is by Prof. Simona Consoli (Di3A) and Dr. Sebania Libertino (CNR IMM HQ).
On the topics of Samothrace, 3 RTDA positions and 4 research grants have been funded for the Di3A.
WEB site: https://www.samothrace.eu/
Fund: National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Mission 4, Component 2, Investment 1.4 "Enhancement of research facilities and creation of "national R&D champions" on some Key Enabling Technologies" funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU
Project manager for Unict: Alessandra Gentile, full professor of General arboriculture and tree crops [AGR/03]
The project focuses on the use of enabling technologies for the sustainable development of agri-food production, with the aim of promoting the adaptation to climate change, the development of marginal areas, the resilience and the multifunctionality of agricultural, forestry and livestock systems, the safety, quality, traceability and typicality of the agri-food chains, especially in areas with a territorial vocation. The Center involves 28 universities, 5 research centers and 18 companies. The promoter of the AGRITECH National Center responsible for the national hub is the University of Naples ‘Federico II’.
The University of Catania, as founding partner of the AGRITECH center, will carry out research activities related to SPOKES 2, 3 and 5, concerning the definition of cultivation and protection methods for reducing the use of inputs in agriculture (agrochemicals, water, energy) by the adoption of precision techniques and providing decision support tools to farmers also through the identification of varieties with higher resistance to the main biotic adversities obtained from specific genetic improvement programs or identified within the Sicilian germplasm. The research activities will be carried out on citrus and tomato, both crops of great importance for Sicily.
The research activities will also concern animal production and will focus on: precision agriculture techniques (sensors for climate-altering gases detection or behavioral parameters indicating animal welfare), resilience of livestock systems to climate change (research on cropping systems and animal breeding), identification of alternative food sources to those of import according to the principles of the circular economy, impact of the mitigation measures on the socio-economic sustainability of farms.
The AGRITECH Center aims to combine the best scientific skills to make the Italian agriculture, and also the Sicilian agriculture, more competitive, resilient and sustainable. The Center aims also to connect nationally available agricultural research infrastructures, use enabling technologies for improving productivity and sustainability, as well as promote ecological and digital transitions, collaborate with companies to increase resilience and economic competitiveness in the agri-food sector and train the next generation researchers in the sector, guaranteeing the human capital, skills and research infrastructures necessary to face the future challenges of agriculture.
On the topics of the AGRITECH project, 6 positions for researchers, 8 research grants and 6 doctoral scholarships were funded.
Budget: 5.524.694, 00 €.
The Technology Transfer and Capitalization of Water Energy Food NEXUS - WEF-CAP
Fund: WEF-CAP project is founded by the EU under the ENI CBC Med Program
Duration: 24 months (From 1st of September 2021 to 31st of August 2023)
Budget: 1 M€ (1.1 M€ total budget)
Project manager for Unict: Santa Olga Cacciola, full professor of of Plant pathology [AGR/12]
Di3A-UniCT is pleased to announce its participation in a regional partnership spanning Jordan, Tunisia, Greece, Spain, Egypt & France within the framework of the Technology Transfer and Capitalization of Water Energy Food Nexus (WEF-CAP) project which is part of the ENI CBC MED Programme supported by the European Union.
Launched by the Royal Scientific Society, this project addresses sustainability in the EU-MED region, food security, environment, inclusiveness and equal opportunities issues, and integration of the South Med into the Regional Value chain.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
By 2050, food imbalance in EU-MPC is forecast to reach 60%. Sustainable water resources management is closely related to food security as 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are driven by agriculture. Energy plays a key role in producing/distributing food as well as in extracting/treating/supplying water. Climate projections to 2050 reflect an average temperature increase of 2°C, leading to a 5–10% fall in precipitation and more frequent extreme climatic events, potentially halving agricultural production by 2100. Beyond political uncertainty, generalized economic slowdown, and macroeconomic instability, EUMPC region also needs societal adaptation to climate change through new cross-sectoral approaches to manage energy/water resources and efficiently produce more food for an increasing population. The region presents unbalanced growth, job deficits, youth unemployment, and acquired skills mismatches. Furthermore, the recent COVID19 pandemic exposed the fragility of supply chains, the importance of localized production, and the importance of investment in and capitalization of key enabling technologies, and the need to foster vulnerable groups.
Based on this reality, the need to foster and capitalize WEF NEXUS innovations is increasingly pivotal for social and economic growth and resilience, and towards better policies for inclusive and sustainable economic and social development. With innovation long adopted as a driver for economic growth, numerous innovations/technologies in water, energy, and agri-food have been developed/demonstrated, backed by the EU (across most programs and priorities) as well as by others, albeit with a persistent gap between what is demonstrated and what is capitalized. To address this gap, tools enabling tech-transfer and commercialization were developed and piloted (e.g., NETKITE methodologies).
WEF-CAP has identified an opportunity to efficiently capitalize WEF NEXUS practices (and commercialization tools and methodologies), by consolidating a regional metacluster that fosters cooperation and tech-transfer while mainstreaming policy impact for innovation-driven growth, thus effectively supporting education, research, technological development, and innovation. Past successes in the form of technologies, products, practices, policies, and methodologies will be captured, analyzed, catalogued, disseminated, and mobilized towards greater resource efficiency, economic growth, and new policy development, thus multiplying impact towards fair, equitable, sustainable economic, social, and territorial development. This novel multilevel approach combining innovations, clusters, and policy addresses priority A.2.1 in a holistic manner, while synergizing with many other priorities.
Un Village transfrontalier: pour protéger les cultures arboricoles méditerranéennes en partageant les connaissances - PROMETEO
Funding: PROMETEO is co-financed by the European Union in the framework of the ENI Cross-border Cooperation Programme (CBC) "Italy-Tunisia" 2014-2020.
Managing Authority: Sicilian Region - Presidency - Programming Department
Duration: 24 months (28 October 2020 - 29 October 2023, with extension to 15 December 2023)
Budget: 1.4 M€
Main beneficiary: University of Catania
Project coordinator: Santa Olga Cacciola, Full Professor of Plant Pathology [AGR/12].
The consortium includes eight partners: University of Catania (Departments of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Chemical Sciences and Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences) Tunis El Manar University, the Centre Technique des Agrumes, the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique de Tunis, the Agence Nationale de la Promotion de la Recherche scientifique, the Municipality of Palazzolo Acreide, the Research Centre for Innovation and Dissemination of Knowledge (Cerid) and the company Expergreen.
Objective: To create a cross-border network of research facilities and stakeholders in the three agri-food sectors of socio-economic importance (citrus, olive and almond) for the Sicily-Tunisia macro-region in order to develop strategies to protect these crops from emerging diseases.
The project stems from the need to create a cross-border network between research centres in strategic innovation sectors (biomolecular diagnostics, nanotechnologies, eco-sustainable agriculture, materials chemistry, sensors, biochemistry) and stakeholders (companies producing and marketing agricultural products, technical and professional services phytosanitary services and technical assistance in agriculture, service companies, producer associations, industries supplying technical means for agriculture) of three sectors of great economic and social importance for the Sicily-Tunisia macro-region: citrus, almond and olive trees, typical Mediterranean tree crops. The almond and olive tree are two crops that originated in the Middle East, eastern side of the Mediterranean basin. Citrus fruits, with the exception of the citron, which was already present in Roman times, were introduced more recently (the bitter orange probably with the Arabs, the sweet orange with the Portuguese navigators), but they have acclimatised so well that they too have become an element of the Mediterranean landscape and culture, as well as a valuable source of income for the agricultural populations of the countries around the Mediterranean basin. The presence of almond and olive trees for millennia in this area of the world has created the illusion of their 'immortality'. The emergence of new diseases from other areas of the world has cast doubt on these certainties: xylella for olives and almonds, tristeza for citrus fruits and the looming threat of huanglongbing (greening) again for citrus fruits.
It is precisely in this context that PROMETEO's action fits in, which through cross-border collaboration intends to find green and eco-friendly solutions.
The PROMETEO project focuses on developing eco-friendly strategies to protect citrus, almond and olive trees from quarantine and emerging pathogens and pests, ensuring their economic sustainability and survival. The aim is to improve the services offered by the scientific and educational laboratories by promoting knowledge sharing between researchers and other stakeholders. The results of the project will guide agricultural policies, enhance phytosanitary services and improve efficiency and competitiveness in the agricultural sector, with a positive impact on food security. An innovative aspect of the project is the adoption of the open scientific method, facilitating the sharing of ideas and technologies among supply chain actors. Palazzolo Acreide (SR) represents the physical meeting place, a central node of this cross-border network, characterised by a rich history, agricultural tradition and recent tourist development.