- SUNRAISE (Sustainable Natural Resources Managent in the Arctics and High Mountains) project:
SUNRAISE (Sustainable Natural Resource Use in Arctic and High Mountainous Areas / SUNRAISE) is a Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education supported by EU Erasmus+ programme and the project SUNRAISE aims to promote sustainable management of Arctic and high mountainous ecosystems in Bhutan, India and Russia (partner countries PCs) through enhanced tertiary education linked to labour markets and wider stakeholder circles. While the project is a collaboration among the eleven Institutions (Universitat Bremen, Paris-London UNiversitat, Salzburg, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Russian State Hydrometereological University, Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution for HE, Gorno-Altaisk State University, Altai-Sayan Mountain Partnership, Royal University of Bhutan, Kumaun University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Central Himalayan Environment Association)covering six countries (Austria, Bhutan, Estonia, Germany, India, Russia).
This aim will be achieved through the following objectives:
- To revise and upgrade selected BSc, MSc & PhD programs in partner Insttitutions (PIs) to make them end-user-oriented & policy-relevant, and enhance opportunities for higher learning education.
- To develop SUNRAISE open education environment Platform (SUNRAISER) and online training services of the new generation (MOOC) for qualitative improvement of the education process and academic workflow support among universities and stakeholders across the PCs and EU Member States.
- To create sustainable feedback mechanisms to end-users, ensuring adaptive and practice-relevant teaching contents, knowledge co-production opportunities and stakeholder support to post-project course development and teaching.
- To develop capacity for academic mobility, shared experimental facilities and joint research by PIs and beyond.
Achieving of these objectives will significantly enhance the quality of educational provision in PCs, as the expertise of the whole consortium will become available to individual and group learners (including the students from other programs). The flexibility of learning trajectories will increase, the course contents will quicker reflect upon current and prospective demands of employers, and, with enhanced teaching and learning techniques, the overall learning process will become more productive.
Availability of online e-learning tools will make the SUNRAISE contents available to learners from remote regions, who’s ability for physical presence at training venues is limited. PhD students will access research facilities at other PCIs through joint research arrangements and benefit from new methods and richer data for their thesis; this will strengthen exchange of expertise through the SUNRAISE network, and help to develop new areas of competence at PC universities.
Likewise, revision of research agendas PhD studies and integrating to them emerging problems and methods, will build teaching capacity at PCHEIs and motivate business and policy actors to engage in closer cooperation. The proposed vehicles for such engagement are national (RU) and regional (IN+BT) SUNRAISE sector collaborative platforms to be set-up for the Arctic and High Mountainous Areas (A&HMSCP in Ru & HMSCP in BT+IN) to create a community of practice, where academia would disseminate innovative ideas and visions of the future, while praxis partners enhance educational provision with their in-hand experiences and know-hows, review curricula, participate QA mechanisms and support graduates’ entry to workplace.
- SUNSPACE (SUstainable developmeNt Smart Agriculture Capacity)
The SUNSPACE project is a is a Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education supported by EU Erasmus+ programme. The aim of the project is to develop the capacity of the partner institutions on agriculture farming and technological innovation.
Farming is one of the important link in the food sector. Any failures in agricultural products cannot (or not easily) be eliminated by later stages of the chain. That why, this sector needs to be built on an appropriate organization and control of processes, and to provide assurance on the safety and quality of its products which consumers could trust. Smart farm is of foremost relevance for the sustainability of the farming sector in meeting this responsibility. This smart farming requires biotechnology, food standards, digital and sensing technologies.
It involves the incorporation of information and communication technologies into equipment and, for example, sensors (to follow temperature, humidity, light, and pressure etc.) and artificial intelligence for use in agricultural production systems, so implies the convergence between agricultural science and information science, which is not yet widespread. Small and medium sized farms, which build the majority of the global agricultural production, are traditionally slow in adopting the use of these innovative tools based on digital technologies for a number of reasons (e.g. not familiar with technologies, perception of an undesirable cost-benefit ratio, too much information provided without knowing what to do with it) (Bewley and Russell, 2010).
This finding is more true in some Asian countries where farmers have not learned how to earn more money by producing and marketing their produce in a better way. SUNSpaCe provides an Education and training System to help Farmers understand the use and usefulness of the new technologies. The overall objective of developing Smart Farm knowledge management system in Asia countries is to support the socio economic growth by strengthen Farmer in three target country: Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. The common challenges of this three countries are: i) to get rid of their poverty as well as conservation of environment, ii) The Government of Bhutan aims to convert the whole agricultural area to Organic Agriculture (OA) by 2020. Thailand stablished a new strategies for developing Thailand’s organic agriculture industry.
A vision has been set to develop Thailand as a center for the production, trade, and consumption of organic agricultural products. Iii) In Nepal, many projects and programs are promoting climate-smart agriculture and become a big challenges to succeed.To meet the specific requirements defined in section E, knowledge and know-how in biotechnology especially bio extraction and bio-agriculture techniques are essential for replacement of chemical fertilizers, weed-killer, pesticide, hormone, enzyme and minerals. These challenges will be addressed in logical structure begging by the identification of the skill priorities and the requirement of smart farm, developing an appropriate adaptive learning approach for smart farmers and design 4 training programs and learning materials to be trained in local and regional target partners farm.
- TROSA (Transboundary Rivers of South Asia) project:
River basin management is one of the important aspects of economic development and human wellbeing. In this context, Brahmaputra River Basin is one of such basins where millions of people are living who are significantly dependent on river water for their livelihoods such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and industries. Brahmaputra river basin is shared between the four countries – China (50.5% of the total basin area), India (33.6%), Bangladesh (8.1%), and Bhutan (7.8%) featuring the river basin as one of the unique trans-boundary river basins in the world (Barua, 2018).
Trans-boundary rivers are important as water is among the most shared’ resources on Earth and about 50% the Earth’s land surface area is comprised of shared river and about 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in river basins (Jagerskog, 2006). Similarly, a significant number of people are dependent on the trans-boundary river crossing Bhutan’s international border to India. It is estimated that there are more than 50 rivers flowing from Bhutan to Assam in India where more than 70% of the people in Assam depend on those rivers as natural resources for their livelihoods.
One of the concepts acknowledged in managing trans-boundary river basin management and governance is the Integrated Watershed Resources Management which strongly promotes holistic and participatory approaches in managing resources (Campbell, 2016; Reddy et al 2017; Budryte et al 2018). Moreover, certain traditional knowledge system of the communities is also important in river basin management as this has been practiced by communities since a long time. This project therefore analyzes the transboundary river basin management in Saralbhanga river basin shared by Assam and Bhutan with a special reference to Bhutan India hydropower cooperation.
- Project Objectives:
- Work package 1: Mapping river profiles, Land use, biodiversity and other ecological characteristics.
- Work package 2: document community knowledge and perceptions about water resource management, their livelihoods related to water resources, and role of women in decision making related to water resources management.
- Work package 3: Listing of Institution related to water governance in Saralbhanga river basin with special reference to the water sharing mechanism and hydropower cooperation between Bhutan and India.
- Partner Roles:
College of Natural Resources, Royal University of Bhutan, Lobesa: Jointly designs and conducts the research, takes principal responsibilities in communicating with Resource Persons and HUC Secretariat, handling the fund, preparing and submitting narrative and financial reports. Jointly takes responsibility in all project deliverables as stated in Part 9 of the ToR.
Bodoland University, Assam, India: Jointly designs and conducts the research, takes proactive role in communicating with Resource Persons and HUC Secretariat, contributes to the preparation and delivery of narrative and financial reports. Jointly takes responsibility in all project deliverables as stated in Part 9 of the ToR.
- Expected outcomes and longer term impact:
This study is unique in the sense that the two different community living in the same river basin and sharing the water for their livelihoods but located in a different community. So this study would document the number of rivers and the management practices at local level. Such study is important in understanding and establishing the transboundary cooperation between countries even with regard to big rivers.
The second outcome is that though the institutions are geographically located very close to each other but in absence of such opportunities the research collaboration has not taken place. Therefore the through this project we would be able to collaborate and continue similar research in future. The third outcome is that the project definitely helps build capacity of researchers located in the upstream and the downstream of same river which can be hypothesized that the research would contribute to build partnerships and collaboration even beyond academic Institutions.
Long term Impact
Although there have been already national level cooperation but not at the state or local level cooperation across the national boundary. Therefore this study would offer the common ground and a window of opportunity to foster coordinated and sustainable water resources development and management between Assam in India and Bhutan. Such cooperation could serve as the unique example and a guiding principles for water based collaborative research and development in the region and beyond.