The first meeting of the Erasmus project in the field of capacity building in higher education entitled “Development of master's study programs in the field of environmental monitoring and quality assessment of water resources in higher education institutions in the Western Balkans” was held in the building of the Rectorate of the University of Novi Sad, Serbia. (ECOBIAS).
The project is coordinated by the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Novi Sad, and the project consortium consists of a total of 11 universities from five countries. In this call, universities from Serbia applied for the first time as program universities (University of Novi Sad and University of Nis), with universities from Croatia (University of Zagreb) and Germany (Universitaet Duisburg-Essen), and with partner universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina. (University of Mostar, International University Travnik, University of Tuzla, University of Sarajevo, University of East Sarajevo and University of Banja Luka) and a partner from Montenegro, the University of Donja Gorica.
The main goal of the project is the accreditation of 27 master's and lifelong learning courses in the field of ecological surface water monitoring, and the procurement of scientific research equipment aimed at ecological water monitoring and equipping seven laboratories at the Universities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and establishing a regional “ECOBIAS” academic network .
Project coordinator prof. Dr. Snežana Radulović from the Faculty of Science, University of Novi Sad pointed out that they came up with the idea to work with other universities in the region to make a master module to preserve rivers as the greatest natural resource. This is one of the best projects in the field of capacity building in higher education in the Western Balkans and will provide an opportunity for professors and students to further improve and prepare for new study programs. Professor Radulović added at the end that the “ECOBIAS” project is the starting point for other research and educational projects.
Rector of the International University of Travnik, Academician, prof. Dr. Ibrahim Jusufranić emphasized the importance of continuous professional development through various forms and methods of education and learning, with the aim of achieving better results in working with students. The “ECOBIAS” project will enable the Faculty of Ecology in Travnik to equip the laboratory with the most modern equipment that will be of great benefit to professors and students in the future. Rector Jusufranić emphasized that the International University of Travnik is the only private University involved in this project.
Professor at the Faculty of Science of the University of Sarajevo, Samir Đuk, points out that this is a very important project because it provides the opportunity to network with universities from the region and Europe and gain new partners and associates. The advantage of this project is that through the funds they will receive, they will equip laboratories and classrooms, which will enable them to raise the quality of teaching at the Faculty.
Representative of the Faculty of Science, University of Tuzla, Ph.D. Jasmina Kamberović pointed out that the primary goal is the procurement of the most modern equipment and staff training together with students through the organization of workshops, round tables and trainings. She added that through this project, they want to create a multidisciplinary approach between geography, biology and chemistry, and that is why 24 professors and associates are participating in the project.
Ljubica Vasiljevic, head of the department of biology at the Faculty of Technology Zvornik, University of East Sarajevo, said that thanks to the equipment of the laboratory, students and professors will have better conditions for work and training in the field of biology.
Head of the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at the Faculty of Science, University of Banja Luka, prof. Dr. Svjetlana Lolić pointed out that, thanks to the courses that will be held within the “ECOBIAS” project, a large number of teachers and students will undergo education, training, counseling and training that will help them in their professional development.
The “ECOBIAS” project will enable the improvement of the curriculum through the procurement of laboratory equipment, said Professor Dragan Škobić, Head of Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Education, University of Mostar. He added that this project will enable the training of teaching staff as well as the networking of all universities that are part of the project.
In addition to universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, universities from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Germany are also participating in the project. Professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Nis, Djuradj Milosevic, said that the advantage of the project is that a large number of trainings and workshops will be organized where professors from different universities will exchange their knowledge and experiences.
Professor at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Marko Miliša, pointed out that in the next three years of the project, professors and associates will improve environmental knowledge and the application of ecology and legislation in science.