University research centre conducting high-level applied research and acting as a regional platform for technology transfer and bioeconomy
Besides providing higher education for future professionals, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra also carries out applied research, development and innovation in the region.
The AgroBioTech Research Centre (ABT RC) as a part of the university is the applied research centre bridging the research with regional players. The 30 laboratories serve for applied research in the areas of agrobiology, agri-food industry, biotechnology, genetics, 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 reinforces the linkages among universities, research and commercial sector.
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 established within the joint project of SUA, Constantine the Philosopher University and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The costs under Operational Programme Research and Development exceeded EUR 26 million. In the centre work 15 employees including scientific and technical staff.
Evidence of success
The centre´s scientific background is positively reflected in the strengthening of bilateral and international cooperation. Nowadays, ABT RC cooperates with over 60 entities from academic and business sector at regional, national and international level, mostly within the project activities. During its quite short operation (since 2015), the centre has been awarded for the best implementation of the technology transfer in Slovakia and innovation in 2016 and 2017.
University established the centre in own premises which were previously unused and required complex constructional modifications. These were finally implemented and turned the site into an interesting example of “brownfield´s” revitalization.
Potential for learning or transfer
Successful implementation of infrastructural projects supported by EU funds makes it possible to improve the outputs of scientific teams, promote success in international projects and stimulate networking of workplaces on key global topics. Universities in Slovakia still have the possibility to use the EU funds to establish scientific parks, innovation and transfer centres, etc. However, the interconnection of academia, research and practice is still underdeveloped in Slovakia. Successful projects of ABT RC therefore represent a valuable example of the approach to the management of such centres.
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