Sustainable Agriculture

Organized by MAI Chania
Mai Coordinators: Dr. Ioannis LIVIERATOS

Aims

Increasing concern over environmental, biodiversity and food safety issues in the Mediterranean area, have formed the basis for a Masters of Science (M.Sc.) degree. Sustainable Agriculture promotes the principles of a viable agro-ecosystem with natural living systems that operate compatibly through responsible management of abiotic and biotic resources and it is particularly sensitive to environmental pollution and waste. The postgraduate program enables the graduates to understand the theoretical background of sustainable agriculture and familiarize with integrated crop management and organic farming applications, capabilities and limitations. M.Sc. graduates constitute suitable employees in farmer advice/extension, teaching, research institutions, government and international agencies, management companies, aid programs, local authorities and as consultants in the private sector. Other graduates carry on pursuing further research for a PhD degree.

Objectives

  • To conjugate environmentally friendly scientific advances, trends and applications in agriculture with critical thinking and research hypothesis formulation ability;
  • To provide the tools to measure the impact as well as manage the biotic and abiotic production inputs to farming systems;
  • To introduce the frame of the legal requirements and the methodological approach to certification systems of environmentally friendly, sustainable and safe agrofood production;
  • To analytically present modern and environmentally friendly crop protection approaches in both integrated pest management and organic farming systems;
  • To provide a thorough insight into modern and environmentally sound recycled hydroponics greenhouse production methods.

PART 1
THE MASTER OF CIHEAM - CHANIA PROGRAMME

EDUCATIONAL SEQUENCE

The programme is organized in 8 Units (60 ECTS)

SEMESTER I

SAG520.11512.0 INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABILITY (15 ECTS)

03 October to 25 November ’16

SAG530.1712.0 NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (7 ECTS)

28 November ’16 to 09 January ’17

SAG540.1810.0 ASSESSMENT OF GENETIC RESOURCES (8 ECTS)

12 January to 17 February ’17

SEMESTER II

SAG550.11413.0 CROP PROTECTION (14 ECTS)

20 February to 24 April ’17

SAG560.2813.0 GREENHOUSE & POSTHARVEST MANAGEMENT (8 ECTS)

01 May to 02 June ’17

SAG572.1312.1 INNOVATION AND COMMUNICATION IN SUSTAINABLE FARMING (2 ECTS)

05 June to 09 June ’17

SAG510.2513.BIOMETRICS (3 ECTS)

12 June to 19 June ’17

SAG500.1312.0 EXTENDED ESSAY (3 ECTS)

 EXAMINATIONS

Participants are obliged to take an examination in order to obtain an individual grade in the following arrangement: For every one or two week(s) of course delivery the given examination period is one week.

All units are subject to examination.

Examinations may take the form of written exams (problems, set of questions, exercises, multiple choice questions), individual or team work project, computer assisted exams or any combination of the above forms.

Retake examination is allowed for a maximum of three weeks course delivery (3 subunits) of any unit except for the final unit.

Language of instruction: ENGLISH

PART 2
THE MASTER OF SCIENCE THESIS

Supervised research work: Thesis and defence (60 ECTS)
Duration: 11 months

Project (9 months duration, 60 ECTS)

Independently of the thesis thematic area, students acquire standard common competencies such as literature reviewing, hypothesis formulation and experimental design, sampling and collection of data, statistical analysis of acquired measurements (where necessary), scientific writing and critical interpretation of results. Linked to the thematic area of their research work, students gain specific competencies that might fall in different groups:

  • soil and leaves lab analytical methods (e.g. spectrophotometer, Khendal, ICP, etc.);
  • sugars and antioxidants measurements in fruits, chlorophyll and carotenoids analysis in leaves (e.g. HPLC etc.);
  • operation of fully automated hydroponics fertilization and irrigation system;
  • evaluation of photosynthetic and evapotranspiration status of plants (LI-COR 6400 system);
  • molecular biology techniques (RT-PCR, agroinfiltration, nucleic acids and proteins hybridizations, fluorescence microscopy etc.).

Research activities: topics generally available for Master of Science theses

  • Compost evaluation as a substrate in hydroponic systems with simultaneous application of additional variables such as CO2, salinity etc;
  • Study of Mediterranean insect pests activity and their bio-ecological characteristics;
  • Host-virus interactions essential for virus replication or plant resistance;
  • Nutrient and energy budget analysis for integrated crop management and organic farming systems;
  • Selected research topics on organic farming, integrated crop management.