University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies

Thursday, 30 July 2020 STEP CHANGE: A New Horizon 2020 Project in the Spirit of Civic Science

The University of Primorska has successfully acquired the leadership of a new Horizon 2020 project called STEP CHANGE (Science Transformation and EuroPe through Citizens involvement in HeAlth, coNservation and enerGy rEsearch), which combines different scientific areas covered by the Citizen Science Initiative. The project will officially start on 1 January 2021. The project consortium consists of eleven partners from seven countries of the European Union and Uganda, who will collaborate through research in various scientific fields ranging from energy to health and the environment.

The STEP CHANGE project aims to develop data collection software, increase the number of data collectors (including nature lovers, photographers, etc.), establish protocols and improve data quality control in various scientific fields.

The UP FAMNIT Department of Biodiversity will also contribute to the research work on the conservation of wildlife in Slovenia, thus contributing to the further development and increase of the practical value of the Hunting Information System, as well as to a deepened cooperation between our researchers, leading wildlife researchers in Slovenia and the Hunters Association of Slovenia (LZS). Slovenia already prides itself with an extensive database on wildlife in Slovenia, which was established by the LZS. In order to achieve the goals of sustainable wildlife management, education and training of hunters and environmental protection, the LZS has developed a comprehensive information system, unique in the European Union, which stores all important information on wildlife populations.

The project leader, Prof. Elena Bužan, is proud to take on such an important international project: "With the participation of the broadest possible public, the project addresses highly pressing contemporary issues such as the reduction of energy consumption, cardiovascular diseases and obesity, the spread of zoonoses and other infectious diseases (including Covid-19) and, of course, the monitoring and protection of wildlife. In relation to the latter, it is extremely important that this part of the project takes place in Slovenia, which boasts one of the best wildlife management models in the world. I am therefore pleased that we will be working with the Hunters Association of Slovenia. This will significantly increase the practical value of our research, the link between researchers and hunters as end users of research results and - perhaps most importantly increasing trust between various stakeholders".

(Prof. Elena Bužan)

The implementation of the STEP CHANGE project in Slovenia is supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, the Slovenia Forest Service, the Environmental Protection College and the Hunters Association of Slovenia.

It is also worth mentioning that the STARBIOS 2 project will end on 30 July 2020. From the beginning of this year until the end of 2022, UP FAMNIT researchers will participate in the RESBIOS project, which combines research and innovation in the field of biosciences. All the above-mentioned projects are implemented and financially supported within the Horizon 2020 Programme.

We extend our sincere congratulations to our researchers!