ERASMUS+ project “Educational Capacity Strengthening for Risk Management of Non-native Aquatic Species in Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro) - RiskMan”

ERASMUS+ projekat „Jačanje obrazovnog kapaciteta za upravljanje rizikom alohtonih vodenih vrsta na zapadnom Balkanu (Albanija, Bosna i Hercegovina i Crna Gora) - RiskMan”

Within the framework of the ERASMUS+ CBHE program 2020, the University of Sarajevo is implementing a project entitled "Educational Capacity Strengthening for Risk Management of Non-native Aquatic species in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro) - Riskman".

1The implementers of project activities at the University of Sarajevo are the Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (INGEB) and the Faculty of Science. The project leader at UNSA is Prof. Dr. Belma Kalamujić Stroil, senior scientific associate. The RiskMan project consortium consists of partners from eight countries: Turkey, Italy, North Macedonia, Greece, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The principal coordinator of the consortium is Mugla Sıtkı Koçman University, Turkey.

Non-native (allochthonous) and invasive species are globally recognized as one of the main threats to the native biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems, and their presence can have economic and sociological implications for local human communities as well. Therefore, the main goal of the project is to promote stakeholder education and higher education in the area of non-native species risk assessment and encourage research and cooperation on non-native species management in the Western Balkans region.

So far, the Riskman Consortium has published an assessment of regulation, educational practice and socio-economic perception of non-native aquatic species in the Balkans. Also, an online questionnaire was created with the aim of collecting information on the presence of non-native species in the watercourses of the Western Balkans and building a unique database that would serve as one of the tools in risk assessment and management activities planning. Three new courses were developed and will become part of the curriculum at partner higher education institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. The courses were tested at UNSA's Faculty of Science in March 2022, and were rated with the highest grade by the participants.

A special focus in the project, according to its abbreviation, is dedicated to the concept of risk management. Today, risk management is an important topic of research because risks are always present in industrial activity, including in the aquaculture and fisheries sector. One of the goals and specifics of this project is the development of a policy framework for the creation of a new profession "Risk Manager" in order to open up new opportunities for employment of young people in partner countries. The consortium has so far established a common model of risk management in the countries of the Western Balkans and developed a tailored course on risk management in the aquaculture and fisheries sector aimed at unemployed young people, in order to make them as competitive as possible in the ever-evolving labor market.

More information about the activities and results of the project can be found on the official website of the project