“Today in Novi Sad, we are celebrating the success of Serbian science which has led Serbia to the very top of the European excellence. I want to express my great satisfaction that the EU is a part of such a big project and to announce that the European Union will continue to support BioSense Institute in Novi Sad in its efforts to become a centre of the European excellence in the future. Serbia has great scientific potentials. A strategic state support in accordance with the European trends is also significant,“ said the Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia Ambassador Michael Davenport at the ceremony in the University of Novi Sad Rectorate marking the start of Antares project.

The ceremony was organised as the BioSense Institute of University of Novi Sad has won the first place in Europe in one of the most prestigious calls of European Commission, Horizon 2020, aimed at creating European centres of excellence in scientific research, their implementation and creation of innovations, which will enable more competitive positions of states in a global chain of values and include them strategically into the road of innovative growth of Europe.

Competing with around 200 projects from across Europe – with participation of the most prestigious European scientific and research institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Max Planck Institutes, Fraunhofer Institute and others, through different stages of competition during the last two years, project ANTARES from Serbian BioSense impressively won the first place and beat all EU countries, also as the only project coming from non-EU country.

ANTARES represents a synergic investment by the EU and Serbia with an aim to develop BioSense into the European Centre of Excellence for advanced technology of sophisticated IT technologies in the field of sustainable agriculture, through the development of two most promising sectors in Serbia – IT and agriculture.

With a budget of EUR28 million, 14 million of which come in the form of EU grant and the other half being funded by the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Development, ANTARES is focused on the development of sustainable agriculture as the most important segment of domestic industry, transfer of innovations from research to industry and rapid economic development of the country.

The EU investment is aimed at strengthening human resources in the Institute, employing new, top experts and transfer of knowledge from leading European institutions. The national investment’s goal is to strengthen scientific and research infrastructure of the Institute – construction of its new building and procurement of the state-of-the-art equipment. Thanks to the creation of 150 new job posts in science, the best young experts will remain in the country and will further attract leading international researchers.

BioSense Institute partners on ANTARES project are the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia and Wageningen Research DLO Institute from The Netherlands – the world’s leading Institution in the field of modern agriculture.

Hosts of the ceremony addressed numerous guests at the Rectorate of the University of Novi Sad, as well as the representatives of national and European institutions, partners in preparations of the project.

Among them were the Head of the Institute BioSense Vladimir Crnojevic, Dusan Nikolic, the Dean of the University of Novi Sad, Igor Mirovic, Prime Minister of Vojvodina Provincial Government, Ana Brnabic, the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Mladen sarcevic, the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s Director General for Research and Innovation, Marten Wegen, agriculture attaché of the Dutch Embassy to Serbia and Louise Fresco representing the Dutch partner, Wageningen Institute.

Vesna Crnojevic Bengin PhD spoke about the mission and vision of the BioSense, stressing that the implementation of ANTARES project would contribute to granting our long-standing wish for Vojvodina to feed the whole of Europe.

The agreement allowing national co-funding for ANTARES project was signed today at the University of Novi Sad, followed by opening of two exhibitions.

An exhibition “New Age: Life of a Mother and a Baby in neolithic age“ was opened in the hall of the Rectorate, as a part of marking a ten-year anniversary of the European Research Council. Visitors could also attend the exhibition of current projects of H2020 implemented by the University of Novi Sad, and for the first time, an architecture scale model of the new Institute facility. The construction of the Institute BioSense facility should be completed by mid-2019. Construction costs of the facility, designed as a scientific institute, amount to EUR4 million, whereas the value of equipment is estimated at EUR10 million.