Activities within the Preparation Work Package will provide detailed comparative analysis of PgC and PC Knowledge/Skills/Practice in ecological monitoring and aquatic bioassessment. The results of the analysis will show EMAB filed which require strengthening, modernisation or development. Analysis of labour market need for EMAB professionals will be performed to estimate optimal number of students per PC HEI. Finally, analysis of I and II cycle curricula related to EMAB in both Programme and PC partners will give a base for ECOBIAS courses design and syllabus.
Equipping of laboratories will be done in considering the list of developing courses and the list of existing equipment in HEI. Laboratories at each of PC HEIs will be equipped with equipment sufficient for effective ecological monitoring and bioassessment of freshwater ecosystems. Due to high expenses of equipment for molecular monitoring, the Laboratory for DNA Metabarcoding will be delivered only at University of Tuzla (P8). This will be the first laboratory for DNA metabarcoding and molecular monitoring of aquatic ecosystems in the WB Region.
At least, 26 MSc and 14 LLL courses will be developed, covering all fields of ecological monitoring and bioassessment: monitoring of macrophytes, macroinvertebrates, algae, fish, riparian habitats, hydromorphology, freshwater microbiology, ecotoxicology, EU legislation in freshwater conservation and management, GIS and remote sensing, environmental engineering, as well as advanced techniques and approaches for data processing. Theme-based trainings will be done in PCs, in order to apply all EMAB standard methods on lakes and rivers in PCs and considering their biodiversity specifics.
Learning materials and field protocols will be prepared by PgC partners and translated into the official languages of MNE and BIH by PC filed experts. Newly developed textbooks will be reviewed by non-affiliated experts. Learning materials will be published on-line in order to target students and teaching staff form other HEIs from the WB region as well.
Although the milestone of the ECOBIAS proposal was curriculum development from the early beginning, additional work package arose during proposal preparation. Due to lack of collaboration and partnerships among professionals in EMAB in the WB region, it was very difficult to recognise and select consortium partners and academic staff. In order to overcome this issue, establishment of ECOBIAS regional academic network and internet platform was proposed as separate work package. A network dealing with EMAB does not exist in the Western Balkans region.
The ECOBIAS-NET platform will enable users to: connect and collaborate; search professionals in particular EMAB field; create project proposals effectively; share publications and results; ask questions, get answers, and solve research problems; share updates about current project; keep up with the latest news and research in EMAB in the WB Region; inform students about: studying opportunities in EMAB in the WB Region; MSc and PhD theses topics relevant to stakeholders; project/funding opportunities for MSc and PhD theses in EMAB.
Open Days will be organized by all PC HEIs to provide an insight into studying at the University, to attract prospective students and to inform wide public about the Project results and about other activities of the institution. Open days will be organised one month before enrolment at universities and a month prior start of implementation of LLL courses for professionals.
Round tables will be organised in each PC HEI. The aim of round tables is primarily to create proactive strategy with stakeholders in the field of ecological monitoring and bioassessment. During these events the benefits of ECOBIAS-NET platform for stakeholders will be explained, together with the effect of the improvement in knowledge/skills in EMAB.
The Final ECOBIAS Conference and Workshops will be dedicated to the transfer of of knowledge in EMAB and popularization of the ECOBIAS-NET platform. Another topic of the workshops will be the explanation and popularization of new ECOBIAS MSc Study programme and LLL courses to students and professionals in EMAB.
Workshop and Summer School in DNA Metabarcoding at University of Tuzla is very important part of Dissemination and Exploitation WP, since the courses related to molecular techniques in ecological monitoring will be developed and implemented only at this university (P8). Due to high expense of equipment, the laboratory for metabarcoding at University of Tuzla will be the only one of this kind delivered by ECOBIAS Project, but the only one in the WB region as well. Target groups of the Workshop and Summer School will be students from other PC HEIs and other universities in the Region, and EMAB professionals.