SOILdarity - Stepping up and bringing out the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in soil research of the University of Lisbon
Soil is made up of mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. Its formation is very slow, and thus can be considered to be a non-renewable resource. Soil must provide vital services for ecosystem sustainability and human development. Therefore, soil erosion, loss of organic matter, compaction, salinization, landslides and soil contamination have negative impacts on human health, natural ecosystems and climate, as well as on our economy.
In Portugal, as in many countries, the soil ecosystems are challenged by climate change, erosion and over-exploitation dynamics. The major aim of the SOILdarity project is to advance the research on the subject of soil science that is carried out by Associação para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento de Ciências (FC.ID), a private non-profit association, whose aim is to support and develop research and innovation activities of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (CIֺENCIAS). The support will be provided by two internationally known research institutions, MIGAL (Israel) and the University of Ghent (Belgium). The project employs sound scientific strategy on how to integrate soil ecology with cutting-edge soil and crop sensors, modelling and system control technology for sustainable soil management. The project methodology has four complementary levels: a) transfer of knowledge to FC.ID/CIÊNCIAS on key research challenges; b) reinforcing FC.ID and CIÊNCIAS positions in the EU research arena, seeking new alliances with top R&I organisations; c) skill and capacity building for a new generation of young researchers, who will constitute the main capital of the Portuguese University in the years to come; and d) develop a stable framework dedicated to international cooperation and knowledge transfer.
The project will include training and summer school programmes to increase knowledge and develop research abilities of the staff in Portugal. Subjects comprise the use of treated waste waters as a source for alternative fertilizers, plant-soil phenotyping (including sensor-based analysis such as electrical magnetic induction), multispectral and hyperspectral analyses, development of alternative fertilizers and proximal soil sensing in precision agriculture applications. Other subjects will deal with sustainable business modelling to bridge research to industry and market demands.
This project has four partners, from three countries - Portugal, Israel and Belgium, and will run for three years.
SOILdarity has received funding from the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, under Grant Agreement No. 952051 - SOILdarity.