ECOBIAS aim to develop and improve knowledge/skills/technical resources of Partner Country HEIs in ecological monitoring and freshwater bioassessment in line with national and EU policy.

The specific objectives of the project are:

• Develop and implement the advanced master curricula in Ecological Monitoring and Aquatic Bioassessment in the WB HEIs in line with the Bologna requirements and national accreditation standards;

• Develop and implement LLL courses for the environmental monitoring sector in line with EU Water Framework Directive in the WB HEIs;

• Equip 7 laboratories for ecological monitoring and bioassessment of freshwater ecosystems in the WB HEIs;

• Develop regional academic ECOBIAS network in order to organise and promote regional cooperation in Ecological Monitoring and Aquatic Bioassessment.

Students at PC HEIs will have greater chance of getting job after graduation, or after obtaining LLL certificates in EMAB, since there is obvious need for professionals in EMAB in PCs. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and ‘The Strategy for Integral Water Management in the Republic of Srpska till 2024’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina); the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry (The Sava River Basin District Agency; The Adriatic Sea River Basin District), and Water Management Strategy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and the ‘Ministry of agriculture and rural development, and the ‘Water Management Strategy of Montenegro’, harmonisation of the national ecological monitoring and bioassessment systems of surface waters are national water management priorities. These imply increase of the WB labour market need for EMAB professionals.

After equipping the laboratories and obtaining/sharing knowledge/skills/practice in EMAB, teaching and technical staff in EMAB in PCs will expand opportunities for cooperation with other HEIs and stakeholders in the WB Region. This cooperation will result in preparation of project proposals for other EU grants and publishing scientific papers. According to Comparative Analysis of Existing Water Resources Data in the Western Balkans States (Chemistry and Water, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809330-6.00008-8), there is a lack of reliable data that hinders estimation of existing and future states of water resources. Nevertheless, obtained results of the mentioned study suggestes high vulnerability of water resources in the WB Region, as well as lack of coordinated water management. Therefore, this attractive environmental and scientific topic represents burning environmental issue for project proposals and future partnerships.

Environmental Stakeholders will extend number of biological parameters monitored.

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