Development and implementation of the International Master`s program “Ecology” at SCU

One of the main objectives of SATIS project is the development of an international Master of Ecology (MEC) program at the Suez-Canal University (SCU), which educate students in the field of ecology, qualifying them for profession and scientific career. This study program should be open for students of every country, also Non-Arab students, who is interested in biology, ecology or a related subject. As an international Master all courses will offered in English.

IMG_1758The development of a new MEC is adapted to national and international (European Higher Education Area – EHEA) accepted regulations. Since the SATIS kick-off meeting in February the national accreditation process is started. The dean of the Faculty of Science as well as the president of the SCU approved in June the implementation of a new MEC. To link the new MEC with EHEA, students will get credit points according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Moreover an academic year in Egypt is very similar to German and improves the possibility that Master students from SCU and Bremen University could exchange on course level, semester, research project or thesis, founded by different program (DAAD, international Erasmus, etc.)

The current state is the development of curriculum and course contents. The program will consist of 4 Semester (two years) including a half year M.Sc. thesis according to the EHEA. The structure is left to the MEC program at the University of Bremen by adaption to Ismailian needs and facilities. Besides obligatory courses specialization will be possible by an individual choice of optional courses like Population, Vegetation or Soil Ecology. To offer a variety of courses different departments of Faculty of Science are involved. The courses consist of theoretical and practical parts and also include self studying. Methods of teaching and instruction will be lectures, seminars, laboratories and excursion. Further the ReviTec® approach will be an essential part in teaching and courses like Experimental Design, Vegetation Ecology, Soil Ecology, Sustainability Research, and Biodiversity, research activity in project course or for Master Thesis.

During the visit of Prof. Raouf Moustafa, Prof. Samira R. Mansour and Dr. Saad Zaghloul at the University of Bremen in September 2015 the curriculum was discussed and concretized. After finishing the MEC curriculum content will be sent to the Supreme Council of Universities in Cairo to approve it on national base. This is scheduled for the next month.

Visit of Delegation from Suez Canal University in Bremen

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In the Context of the SATIS project Prof. Abdelraouf A. Moustafa, Prof. Samira R. Mansour and Prof. Mohammed S. Zaghloul from Suez Canal University (SCU) visited Bremen University from 14.-18.9.2015. The workshop was organized by Dr. Thomas Buse from the UFT at Bremen University. Tanja Woronowicz, Prof. Hartmut Koehler, Raimund Kesel and Dr. Michael Boronowsky are The SATIS Team Bremen During the very busy schedule the current status of the SATIS project had been discussed. The activities in setting up the ReviTec pilot at SCU are finalized and the first scientific experiments had been started.

During the stay the adopted curriculum of the International Master of Ecology in Ismailia was deeply discussed and a plan for the national accreditation in Egypt was developed. The decision to start the MSc prgram only in 2016 was agreed as most valuable, because the management structures at SCU need to aligned accordingly. It will need some more month to establish a common set of quality assurance instruments according tot he Europaen Higher Education Area rules to further on enable students’ exchange from both sides. The current development of the Master was also discussed with Prof. Martin Diekmann, chairman of the International MSc program at University of Bremen. Beside these activities a visit of the KNO-Compost production site took place, also to support the discussion of the ReviTec substrate production.

IMG_1759In general terms new approaches to solve the pressing problems of desertification and degradation were discussed. The guests from SCU reported about the land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas which is intensively increased by human activities. Beyond this climate change effects, salinization, loss of biodiversity, loss of ecosystem service and goods, the use of natural resources, environmental economics and sustainable development had been topic of this visit.

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Dr. Thomas Buse, Prof. Mohammed S. Zaghloul, Prof. Samira R. Mansour, Tanja Woronowicz, Prof. Juliane Filser, Prof. Abdelraouf A. Moustafa, Raimund Kessel, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Koeler (from left to right)

Development and implementation of the ReviTec® site at the Suez-Canal University

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Area for the ReviTec® research and demonstration site in front of the Faculty of Science, Ismailia, Feb. 2015

During the last month the research and demonstration site is getting more and more visible. After the kick-off meeting in February in Ismailia a possible research site was chosen on the campus which is approved by the president of the Suez-Canal University. A 100 x 65 m area behind the Faculty of Science building is available for a ReviTec® approach to combat desertification and soil degradation. The area is divided into six 30 x 30 m plots which are intersected by stone paths. The entrance door was already standing, but the area had still to be prepared and fenced.

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5ReviTec®® site building activities in April/ May 2015

 

 

 

In May 2015 Mr. Raimund Kesel and Dr. Thomas Buse from the University of Bremen conducted a four days training for the implementation process of the research and teaching site in Ismailia. During their stay regional soil amendments such as compost, dung or biochar from Egyptian char production were tested for an application in the ReviTec® modules. A module consists of degradable fabric bag filled with substrates, seed and amendments for the improvement of water and nutrient conditions.

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      Raimund Kesel and Thomas Buse visited the site in May and trained the substrate mixing procedure, the arrangement of the ReviTec® modules and discussed possible scientific designs and research interests

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Further the first research question, the setting and the implementation process were discussed, which should start in October after the extreme summer month. Moreover the very dry climate condition with less than 30 mm rainfall in Ismailia, ReviTec® application have to be combined with appropriate soil wetting technologies. One objective of the experiments is to reduce water use and in consequences to reduce salinization with standard ReviTec® structures.

The goals of the ReviTec® site at the Suez-Canal University are following:

  1. Testing and demonstration of combinations of the ReviTec® soil rehabilitation with soil wetting technologies.
  2. Cultivation of medical plants and of crops and fodder plants on ReviTec® arrangements.
  3. Scientific monitoring of and teaching about the development and the performance of the ReviTec® structures.

During the preparation of the research site the first scientific work to determine soil parameters and the seed bank in the soil has done by the student Ms. Aya Awad Elsayed Mohamed from the Department of Botany. She did first important measurements in pH-value, particle size (texture), organic matter content and electronic conductivity of soil samples for her Bachelor thesis and as a references for later investigations on this research site.

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Aya Awad Elsayed Mohamed collected soil samples for seed bank analysis

 

 

 

For the year 2015 two main experiments on two plots of the research site are developed now.

The first experiment deals with the effective production of Moringa seeds in high number and high quality. Moringa is under severe pressure on the Sinai from its exploitation as multipurpose medical plant by the native population, including seed collection. There is no natural re-growth. Combined with socio-ecological measures, ex-situ conservation may be a solution to re-establish viable Moringa populations on the Sinai. This experiment aims at the optimization of seed production with ReviTec®-supported plantation. With a standard and a reduced irrigation regime the water saving potential of ReviTec® is assessed.

The second experiments prove the water efficiency of irrigation systems in combinations with the ReviTec® structures. The growth of crop plants such as dry rise, millet or barley on the structures themselves will investigate according to biomass and yield production of these plants.

Both experiments were designed and finally discussed during the visited of Prof. Raouf Moustafa, Prof. Samira R. Mansour and Dr. Saad Zaghloul at the University of Bremen in September 2015. Research question and related hypotheses were developed and will be proven with the respective factorial design.

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Field design for the Moringa experiments                            

 

 

Different colors means different treatments, blue lines is the irrigation system

 

Field design for the ReviTec® structures in irrigation systems

 

 

 

The research, teaching and demonstrations ReviTec® site should be an explorative approach within a new international Master of Ecology program at SCU. Egyptian MSc students together with their lecturer become directly involved in ongoing research activities at the demonstration site while generating new results, develop further research question and find approaches to solve the pressing problems of desertification and salinization.

The ReviTec teaching component should refer to

  1. basic ecological questions such as environmental factors (edaphic, climatic, biotic, …), vitality curve (e.g., ecological potential of Moringa), succession, biodiversity (seed) and management of these components
  2. application of ecological knowledge in selection of biotic components, management according to a specific aim, selection and preparation of biotic and abiotic material.

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The ReviTec® Pilot site in September 2015.

SATIS project is about to start

Parts of the SATIS project team from Bremen University were invited to the 6th international conference of ESES (Egyptian Society for Environmental Sciences) 2015 on “Genetics, Biotechnology and Sustainable Development in Safe Environment” (2.-4.2.2015). Prof. Hartmut Köhler and Dr. Thomas Buse from the UFT at University of Bremen and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the TZI – Innovation Capability Center  at University of Bremen.

Prof. Raouf Mustafa and Dr. Michael Boronowsky are meeting to formally start the SATIS project.

Prof. Raouf Mustafa and Dr. Michael Boronowsky are meeting to formally start the SATIS project.

Prof. Köhler was invited by Humboldt Foundation to chair the opening session of the conference and to present his research regarding ReviTec (Effective university cooperation in combating soil degradation and desertification – Germany, Cameroon, Egypt) and Dr. Buse was presenting his research. Dr. Boronowsky was invited from Humbold Stiftung and DAAD to Suez Canal University to present the new DAAD projects RAMSES and SATIS projects coordinated by University Bremen in the opening session of the conference. The topic of the presentation was “Innovation capability and ISO/IEC15504 innoSPICE – an European Perspective – Universities as Actors in the Regional Innovation System (you can download presentation here ).