Besides providing higher education for future professionals based on the working life requirements, the universities of applied sciences shall also carry out applied research, development and innovation, and boost industry, business and development in the region. Thanks to the BIOREGIO project, which is lead by Lahti University of Applied Sciences, all project partners had a chance to learn how this mission is enabled in Slovakia and how important role can a research centre play in the region.

 The AgroBioTech Research Centre (ABT RC) from Nitra, Slovakia is one of the applied research centres focusing on bioeconomy and environmental sciences and bridging the research with regional players.

 The ABT RC was established thanks to the joint research project of three institutions: The Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (SUA), Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra and the Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The need for resolving issues of fundamental studies by providing practical innovative solutions, modern technologies and services triggered the idea of creating the ABT RC. The cost of the EU funded centre, within Operational Programme Research and Development, exceeded EUR 26 million. 

AgroBioTech Research Centre provides practical innovative solutions. Photo: AgroBioTech

Applied research at the AgroBioTech Research

The 30 laboratories serve for applied research in the areas of agrobiology, processing of agricultural products, agri-food industry, biotechnology, genetic technologies, agroecology, bioenergy, and bioeconomy.

For instance, Department of Applied Ecology and Bioenergy contributes to the wider use of renewable energy according to national and EU priorities. The results can be applied in the areas of renewable energy; wood industry, agri-food production or in the municipal sector. Department of Bioeconomy provides market analyses of energy crops; cost benefit analyses of bioenergy production and analyses of return on investment in bioenergy production. Department of Biosystems Engineering deals with biomass and bioenergy, biofuels and biolubricants and innovative crop production. A specialized Transfer Centre (TC) reinforces the linkages among universities, research and commercial sector and enables the transfer of knowledge, technologies and innovation potential from R&D into the commercial sphere.

 Applied research at the AgroBioTech Research Centre. Photo: AgroBioTech

The state-of-the-art instrumental equipment of the ABT RC enables conducting high-level applied research and through its open workspace policy, acts as a regional interdisciplinary R&D platform for other cooperating institutions as well to pave the way towards innovative bioeconomy.

 The ABT RC was identified as one of the BIOREGIO bio-based circular economy Good Practices of Slovakia, which the BIOREGIO project team visited during their 5th interregional event on 14-15 May 2019 in Nitra, Slovakia. BIOREGIO identifies and shares good practices in the bio-based circular economy from six European regions to boost the regional circular bioeconomy.

The article was originally published in the LAMKgreen blog on 7.10.2019 available here