Horizon Europe NATI00NS – Engagement Event in Tirana: Explore the pathway at a competitive proposal

Horizon Europe NATI00NS – Engagement Event in Tirana: Explore the pathway at a competitive proposal

Horizon Europe NATI00NS – Engagement Event in Tirana: Explore the pathway at a competitive proposal

On June 3rd, 2024, the NATI00NS project, funded by Horizon Europe, in collaboration with the SCiDEV Center, organized an awareness-raising event to highlight the objectives of the soil mission, introduce the new topics for Living Labs 2024, and demonstrate how the NATI00NS project can assist applicants. The event brought together Albanian stakeholders from academia, civil society, and government to share their insights and experiences. This event is relevant to our programmatic goal of strengthening research-to-society connections and advancing the Quadruple Helix model in the country.

The NATI00NS project supports the EU mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ by establishing an effective network of 100 Living Labs and Lighthouses. These initiatives aim to co-create knowledge, test solutions, and demonstrate their value in real-life conditions. During the event, tips for Living Lab applications were provided, and general experiences from last year’s calls were shared, offering valuable guidance to potential applicants.

Representatives from the BioSense Institute delivered informative presentations on key topics related to soil health and the EU mission. Their first session focused on soil monitoring and resilience, discussing the importance of the Soil Monitoring Law in ensuring the health and sustainability of soil ecosystems. The second session delved into the concept of Soil Health Living Labs and Lighthouses, explaining their role in co-creating knowledge and testing solutions in real-life conditions. The third session provided insights into the thematic focus of the 2024 Living Lab call, helping potential applicants understand the priorities and requirements for the upcoming funding opportunities.

One of the key features of the event was the introduction of a matchmaking platform, which allowed participants to express their interest in finding partners or presenting themselves as potential partners for future collaborations. This platform facilitated engagement and networking sessions, fostering connections among attendees.

Several Albanian stakeholders were invited to share their expertise and experiences with the project:

Imirjon Peza, Specialist of International Programmes at the National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation, presented the opportunities for Albanian higher education institutions to apply for Horizon Europe projects. He shared the success stories of previous applicants and provided valuable tips for the forthcoming applications.

Valbona Koçi, Advisor for Quadruple Helix Approach Promotion at EU4Innovation, introduced the partnership between EU4Innovation and the Government of Albania in the transformation towards an innovation-driven and knowledge-based economy. She emphasized the main aim of EU innovation, which is to work on the Quadruple Helix model to increase the maturity of the Albanian start-up and innovation ecosystem.

Dr. Ilir Salillari, Director of the Centre for Agrotechnology Transfer in Fushë-Krujë, presented a unique model of research centers implementing various projects on the study of soil salinization in greenhouses and the prevention and management of its effects. He also discussed the Agriculture Soil Inventory of Albania, which has produced a detailed database at the parcel level and maps at a scale of 1:10,000.

Meivis Struga from Etmi Albania introduced the REMEDIES project, funded by Horizon Europe, which consists of 20 partners from the Mediterranean region. The project aims to prevent, monitor, and valorize marine litter (plastic waste) through activities such as clean-ups (targeting 10,000 tons), monitoring, technology solutions, and capacity building. In Albania, beach litter surveys, monitoring, and reporting have been conducted until March 2024, and the interesting findings were shared during the event.

The National Engagement Event served as a platform for attendees to better understand the available resources, build networks with like-minded professionals, and explore potential collaborations. The event fostered synergy among participants, contributing to the achievement of the soil mission’s objectives.

As the NATI00NS project continues to support the EU mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe,’ events like this play a crucial role in raising awareness, sharing knowledge, and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders. By bringing together experts from various fields and facilitating networking opportunities, the project is actively working towards the creation of a sustainable and healthy soil ecosystem across Europe.

This event is an integral component of the NATI00NS project under Horizon Europe, funded by the European Union. The project supports the EU mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’, which aims to establish 100 Living Labs and Lighthouses, leading the way to healthy soils by 2030. This is the second event in Tirana hosted in cooperation with SCiDEV. Learn more about 2023 Engagement event here.  The event in Albania is one of 43 taking place across EU and associated countries.