The Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) is the third oldest university in Greece. Since 1920, it has been making valuable contributions to Greek and European economic development and policy-making, by conducting basic and applied research in the agricultural sciences and by producing high quality graduates and cutting edge scientific knowledge. The projects are managed by the Research Committee, a sub-unit of AUA which is responsible for the financial management of all projects, be they funded from public or private sources. Since 2002, AUA has undertaken over 1000 projects. During 2010, it managed 438 research projects, funded by the European Commission, National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA), and other public and private sources. About a quarter of these were large-scale, multi-partner, EU projects. The Department of Crop Science (DCS) of the Agricultural University of Athens provides education of the new scientists for the development and competitiveness of the Greek agricultural sector. For this purpose, new knowledge is offered, aiming the increase of the plant production and using means safe for the environment and human health. Seminars at various levels are organized and ractical advice is offered to farmers in the aspects of Crop Science and Crop Protection. The e Laboratory of Vegetable Crops (LVC), a sub-unit of DCS, is consisted of four teaching and research laboratories with their associated staff and administrative offices. Additional research and teaching facilities are located in the Laboratory's garden, part of which accommodates two greenhouses: a fully-automated, heated glasshouse with four compartments and an unheated plastic-covered greenhouse. It has several publications in international/national research journals and conferences (www.ekk.aua.gr). Main activities of the organization are dissemination of scientific knowledge and technology, membership in editorial boards of scientific journals, participation in scientific symposia and congresses, Ph.D. theses and Post-graduate research (M.Sc. theses), publications, participation in research projects, teaching courses related to Vegetable Production at undergraduate level and post- graduate level. The major research activities of the academic staff and the associated researchers in the laboratory include hydroponics, irrigation issues in vegetable crops, effect of the water (quality and quantity) on yield and quality of vegetables, vegetable crop nutrition, greenhouse environment and its impact on vegetable production and quality, and harvest and post- harvest physiology of vegetables.
Other completed relevant research programmes that LVC is involved are:
- BIO@AGRO (2005-2006) «Research program in plant production, with subject the vegetable production and the development of an internet database covering the needs of European Union members regarding the organic farming,
- Project Based Personnel Exchange Programme with Germany (IKYDA 2007), «Improving salinity tolerance and fruit quality of vegetable products by grafting»
- Research and Dissemination of Technology Project (2008) with title of the project: «New Technologies for More Environment-friendly Greenhouses»
- Farm Level Optimal Water Management: Assistant for Irrigation under Deficit” (“FLOW-AID”, 2006-2009)
- “Development of good agricultural practices for soilless cultivation on pumice and dissemination to relevant Greek growers” (20010 – until now).
Dimitrios Savvas was awarded a Diploma in Agriculture from the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) in 1985 and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Bonn, Germany, in 1992. From 1996 to 2006 he was affiliated with TEI of Epirus (Higher Education Institution) as an associate professor (1996-1999) and professor (1999-2006). In 2006 he became an assistant professor of Vegetable Production in AUA and since 7 February 2006 he is an associate professor in AUA. He specializes in greenhouse crops with emphasis on plant nutrition, water management, and soilless culture. He has published 42 papers in refereed international scientific journals (with IF) and many other papers in congress proceedings (Acta Hort.) and as book chapters. He is a member of the Editorial Board of three international Scientific Journals (Environ. Exp. Bot., Sci. Hort. and Europ. J. Hort. Sci.). He has been involved in many EU research projects, either as coordinator or as a member of the research team. In the last 5 years, Dr. Savvas has been involved in the European research projects FLOWAID: “Farm level optimal water management: Assistant for irrigation under deficit” (FP6, member of the research team), LEGUME FUTURES Project full title: Legume-supported cropping systems for Europe (FP7, coordinator for AUA) and SIRRIMED (member of the research team) Management of Agricultural Water in Mediterranean Countries”, coordinator of the team of the Agricultural University of Athens in a LEONARDO Project titled: “AGRICOM “ Transfer of the Water Competences Model to AGRIcultural COMpetences” within the framework of the Programme «Lifelong Learning Programme Leonardo da Vinci - Transfer of Innovation – Call 2011». Duration: 01/10/2011 to 30/09/2013.
Kontopoulou Charis-Konstantina: Diploma in Agriculture from AUA and a M.Sc. degree in Plant Sciences, specialization Greenhouse Horticulture from Wageningen University. She is a Ph.D. student in the Laboratory of Vegetable Crops of AUA. Her Ph.D. research relates to the impact of cropping system (organic or conventional) and salinity on biological nitrogen fixation and release of greenhouse gasses in Legume-supported cropping systems and is supported by the EU-project (FP7) LEGUME FUTURES. She is currently participating in the research program "Development and dissemination of good agricultural practices for growing vegetables on pumice" which is sponsored by LAVA Mining & Quarrying Company and in a LEONARDO Project titled: “AGRICOM “Transfer of the Water Competences Model to AGRIcultural COMpetences” within the framework of the Programme «Lifelong Learning Programme Leonardo da Vinci.
Georgia Ntatsi is a PhD student at the Laboratory of Vegetable Crops of the Agricultural University of Athens. She has extensive experience in the measurements of the concentration of plant tissue mineral nutrients using atomic absorption spectrophotometer, spectrophotometer and auto analyst Skalar, in determination of quality, antioxidant and oxidation parameters of fruits and vegetables and molecular biology techniques. She has published 5 papers in refereed international scientific journals and many others in congress proceedings. She has been involved in 3 European projects and worked as external researcher in the research team of a project implemented by «Leibniz-Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops Großbeeren und Erfurt», in Germany.
Andreas Ropokis: Graduate from the Agricultural University of Athens with a M.Ed. degree in Long-distance Learning Education from Hellenic Open University. He is also a Ph.D. student in University of Thessaly. He works as Laboratory Assistant in the Laboratory of Vegetable Crops of the Agricultural University of Athens. He has a long and extensive experience and detailed knowledge on laboratory techniques associated with the evaluation of the quality of vegetables and the determination of plant tissues inorganic nutrients content. He has published 2 papers in refereed international scientific journals (with IF) and several papers in national congress proceedings. In the last 5 years, Mr. Ropokis has been involved in the European research projects LEGUME FUTURES (FP7), AGRICOM (Lifelong Learning Programmes Leonardo da Vinci - Transfer of Innovation).