Educational Capacity Strengthening for Risk Managment of Non-native Aquatic Species in Western Balkans - RiskMan

Project Partners

Project Partners

Partner Description: Mugla Sıtkı Koçman University (MSKU), founded in 1992 as Mugla University, is a comprehensive and progressive state university situated in Mugla Metropolitan City Area (Aegean Region of Turkey). Since its establishment, MSKU has been in pursuit of quality higher education and research in order to contribute to the sociocultural, scientific, and technological development of Turkey. Currently, MSKU includes 21 faculties, 4 Graduate Schools and 13 vocational schools located in the city center and also in different districts. The university services over 44500 students and employs over 1500 full time academic staff. Students of MSKU receive education and training through modern curriculums in compliance with ECTS, from a young and dynamic team of academics mostly with international backgrounds and approaches. Regional, national, and international research projects are conducted in which students can participate and gain professional and scientific experiences. MSKU participates in EU Programmes as well as other global partnerships and exchange programmes and hosts about 1200 International students from over 60 different countries. MSKU is one of the most important shareholders of the region in terms of producing and spreading the knowledge for both public and private sector. By this memorandum it is emphasized that university- industry relationship as a part of Public-Private Partnership are at the forefront of the university and other shareholders. MSKU always emphasized the importance of this kind of relations for regional development and by the regional SMEs, they are working to transform the values of our region into projects that can be branded. High qualified academic Staff from Fisheries, Science (Biology Department) and Management Faculties as well as Members of the MSKU Project Office will be involved in the project. The staff have all the qualities and skills to coordinate the Project Consortium to achieve the Project goals in the best way.


Partner Description: The University of Palermo (UNIPA) is a consolidated cultural, scientific and teaching presence in central-western Sicily. With 16 Departments, UNIPA covers the most important domains of contemporary scientific and technological knowledge. About 122 courses (first and second cycle) are yearly offered as well as 44 Master and specialization and 23 PhD courses, targeted to the training of specific professional figures, often in cooperation with external institutions and companies - a galaxy which attracted about 10,000 first-year students for academic year. Researchers at UNIPA study every day to find new solutions to the questions posed by nature, science and society. Laboratories are open to the local community, and this represents the first step of collaboration between researchers in the academic world and in the business world taken, basic and applied research is carried out, and young brains are given the chance to turn their intuitions to good account. Successful technological transfer implies the full synergy of innovative technologies, scientific expertise, production systems and processes. Actually, it is necessary to implement a full-fledged system including the “know-how”, production processes, goods, services and organizational and operational skills. The UNIPA Department of Earth and Marine Science (DISTEM) will represent UNIPA in the RiskMan Project and thanks to the large expertise of UNIPA in general and experimental ecology, marine biology, ecology of invasive species, it will be able to cover most of the topics proposed in this project.


Role in The Project: University of Palermo (UNIPA) will be represented by Department of Earth and Marine Science (DISTEM) in the RiskMan Project and thanks to the large expertise of UNIPA in general and experimental ecology, marine biology, ecology of invasive species, it will be able to cover most of the topics proposed in this project. More specifically, UNIPA will lead the WP3 Development - Implementation of Risk Management Model for Western Balkans and will be involved in all the other WP.


Partner Description : The HIO has been established in 1935, thus being the oldest scientific institution in North Macedonia. It is a public institution of a national interest licensed to monitor all three natural lakes in the country as well as other water bodies.  In 2005 the Institute has been accredited for postgraduate studies (according to the Bologna Convention) in the frame of the University St. Kliment Ohridski in Bitola. More than 50 Agreements of collaboration with scientific institutions worldwide have been signed and implemented and more than 1000 sci. publications have been published. The Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid is a public, governmental Institution, thus, it is fully financed by the Government through the Ministry of Science and Education. Besides, the institute is financed through commissions received for providing different competent services (monitoring, analysis) provided to public and private organizations. Finally, the institute is also financed through overhead revenues from international projects. At present HIO employs a total of 30 employees, whereby 16 are scientists and the rest include supporting and administrative staff.

Role in The Project: Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid will be a Programme Country Institution in the RiskMan Project. The role of the institution will be to support the Partner Countries of Western Balkan in completion of activities in the field of monitoring and research and also the public education during and also after the Project. In details, the support of the Staff of Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid will focus on assistance in the development of a Strategy and Plan for monitoring of NN and invasive species in Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa (shared with the Partner Countries). Moreover, they will assist the other Partner Countries through the organization of workshops for citizens, education and training of teachers, operators of fish farm, representatives of municipalities, ministries and other national and local institutions in Balkan Countries. They will be involved in all the WPs.


Partner Description : EKOMENLOG Ohrid has been established in 2015. Although it is considered as still young CSO, the association has been founded by people who are professionals in the environmental field for almost two decades and in the field of ecosystem services for five years. The idea behind the establishment of this Association has been to assist local and central government in proper registration of environmental issues and to provide support, cooperation and initiatives for finding out solutions for the respective problems and issues. The mission of the association is: “initiating of commitment and public awareness for the fight for the protection of the environment from natural and anthropogenic pollutants, through individual and collective change of humans` awareness and information of the population through continued monitoring and management of the issues in the environmental field. We believe that every individual has the right of healthy and clean environment, while our ultimate goal is exactly that - enabling of healthy and clean environment for us and for future generations.”. 

Role in The Project: The Association of Ecology, Ekomenlog Ohrid will be involved in all the WPs as a Programme Country Institution in the RiskMan Project. Their specific role will be to support the Partner Countries of Western Balkan in the capacity building project for establishment of a Citizen science network for monitoring and collection of data and for improving the possibilities for public awareness increase of the general public, higher education students and the operators of fish farms in the Balkan region. Moreover, they will have a crucial role in the implementation of the online platform summarizing the status of NN species occurrence on Partner Countries. This platform will be one of the outcomes of the project and will be accessible both to stakeholders and the public participation. The platform will be further updated with the results of the following steps and it will be open access.



Partner Description: The University of Zagreb (UNIZG) is the flagship educational institution in the country with 31 faculties, 3 art academies and various university centres and departments. As a comprehensive public Central European university, UNIZG offers education programmes in all scientific fields (arts, biomedicine, biotechnology, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences) and a broad spectrum of courses at all study levels, from undergraduate to postgraduate for more than 70,000 students. The University excels not only in teaching, but also in research, contributing with over 50 percent to the annual research output of Croatia. Being one of the constituent units of UNIZG, the Faculty of Agriculture (FAZ) is participating within the project proposal as Programme Country organisation. FAZ founded in 1919, is the oldest and the leading institution of higher education in the field of agriculture in Croatia, occupying an important position within the country's educational, scientific and research system. The FAZ organization is based on 28 departments with 457 members of the staff and 7 experimental stations. The FAZ teachers and researchers are involved in implementation of basic, development and applied research projects, and actively participating in professional collaboration. Prolific professional collaboration has been established with different clients (institutions, state administration, business sector), and the FAZ researchers have participated in international development and applied research projects. Academic staff at the Department of Fisheries, Apiculture, Wildlife management and special Zoology is involved in teaching marine and freshwater Aquaculture, Biodiversity, basic zoology, aquatic ecology and Ichthyology mainly related to marine and freshwater invasions. Also, several projects related to freshwater invasions are currently on going.

Role in The Project: UNIZG will participate within the Project Proposal as Programme Country organisation represented by Faculty of Agriculture (FAZ). UNIZG will lead the WP1- Preparation, Reviewing and Analysing Existing European practices and will be involved in all the WPs. UNIZG will collaborate with all Partner institutions, the Consortium and all the stakeholders through workshops, seminars and meetings.

Partner Description: The general mission of this Albanian Center (acronym: ACEPSD) is represented by finding solutions for biodiversity conservation and harmonizing the life protection to the sustainable socio-economic development of the Albanian rural and urban communities. Goals:1. Minimizing and reducing the effects of industrialization in rivers, lakes, lagoons and seas (like hydrocarbon, marine and river litters etc.); 2. Protecting the endangered species in rivers, lakes and seas (fish, mammals, reptiles etc.) and pushing the aquaculture and fisheries activities on the sustainable direction; 3. Strengthening the protection of the endangered habitats by building partnerships with local and governmental authorities, and international organizations, sensitizing the nearby present communities and strict monitoring of protected areas on land and seas; 4. Boosting the economic and social development in rural and urban areas through the implementation of initiatives related to vocational training, environment protection, small scale agriculture, artisanal fisheries and sustainable aquaculture in a healthy environment; 5. Supporting the scientific research on important environmental issues, which are related to climatic changes, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and environmental sciences.

Role in The Project: As a Partner Country Institution, the role of ACEPSD on RiskMan Project will be to collaborate with the other Partner and Programme organizations toward the implementation of the Project. Specifically, ACEPSD will lead WP2 (Preparation- Identify the current status of NN species in Western Balkan) assisted by AUT and ALB-ADRIATICO. ACEPSD will also have a crucial role in the organization of the workshop and meetings with related stakeholders (fishers, aquaculture employees, representatives of public and private institutions) in Albania for discussion and communication of the findings and possible development of actions which would result in enhancement of the state; and dissemination of the Project results.


Partner Description : “Alb-Adriatico2013” ltd was founded in 18.04.2013. Its activity is based on growing and selling fresh fish of aquaculture, represented mainly by sea bream and sea bass. Since the beginning of the company, it has improved and transformed into one of the biggest aquaculture companies in Albania. Furthermore, all the activities performed in this company are in accordance with all the updated European standards, both in the sea and in land. Our staff members have many years of experience in the field of fish farming and marketing, and they are highly qualified based on all aspects of the work. We have implemented all the necessary new technologies in order to maximize the quality of our fish, and at the same time to minimize the impact on the environment Our farm is located in the bay of Vlora, on the peninsula of Karaburun, only 3 km north to the ancient town of Orik. The location is one of the best in the Albanian cost. Due to the vast area of the bay, the conditions are similar to the open sea with excellent parameters – high oxygen levels and ideal temperatures, alongside the protection provided by the bay and keeping the cages and the fish safe.

Role in The Project: The staff of the Partner Country Institution Alb-Adriatico 2013 will be involved in all the activities of the Project. Together with the Associate partners Hatko and Halder, they will represent the fisheries/aquaculture sector working together to the NGOs and academic world toward the implementation of a Management Plan in accordance with the need of the sector. They will assist the AUT on data providing related to aquaculture and the interactions with the NN species during the WP2 by installing all the monitoring equipment close the farm to collect data to find correlations between climate change and the abundance/presence of NN aquatic species. They staff of Alb-Adriatico 2013 will collaborate to the workshops organizations the divers and technicians will assist the AUT and ACEPSE during WP4 (Development) providing all the specimens during the training workshops and research purposes by doing all the relative analyses in the laboratory of the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries.


Partner Description: Agricultural University of Tirana (AUT) was founded in 1951. AUT is the unique centre for undergraduate and graduate studies, scientific research, training and extension in the area of agriculture, food and environment. AUT is among the largest sector academic institutions in Albania - it includes 310 academic staff. Currently, the number of enrolled students is about 15,000. AUT offers research and education at various levels: Bachelor, Master and PhD in various fields like animal production; horticulture; aquaculture and fisheries; environment sciences; integrated rural development; marketing; finance etc – which are the main focus fields for the development in Albania as well as for the western Balkans. AUT offers a wide range of services through its numerous offices and other support units including the Office for Studies and Students, University Library, Experimental and Didactic Economy, Aquaculture and Didactic Economy Lab in Tapiza, the Plant Protection Lab, Institute for Plant Genetic Resources, the Food Research Centre, the Wood Processing Workshop, University’s Veterinary Clinic and Botanical Garden. AUT is increasingly considered as a leading academic and research institution including rural development in Western Balkans – training scholars and experts from the region, eg. Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro as well as collaborating with other neighbouring countries, thanks to the immense support provided by the EU, German government or USAID funded projects. AUT has signed many bilateral agreements with partner institutions involved also in Erasmus+ Programmes (KA1). As the number of students and graduates has increased, one of the priorities is building stronger bridges with the labour market.

Role in The Project : Agricultural University of Tirana (AUT) will be a Partner Country Institution within the RiskMan Project. AUT’ staff, with their competences and experience, will greatly contribute to the development of new optional courses with applying the best practices from EU existing programs (WP4 – Development- Reforming of the Current Curriculum). The involved academic staff will actively participate in all WPs and co-lead the WP2 (Preparation “Identify the current status of NN species in the Western Balkan”) together with ACEPSD giving their professional contribution during entire project lifetime. All available data from Albania regarding NN species distribution and appearance will be provided for database and Risk management model preparation. At the same time AUT will assist in the region for representatives of municipalities, ministries and other national and local institutions.