The list is not exhaustive but gives an overview of recent activities and their extent. Direct environmental issues, forestry, restoration ecology and landscape planning and architecture are not covered (Faculty of Environmental Sciences - FES), as the focus of the present application is on Agricultural Sciences mostly carried out within the Faculty of Land and Animal Resources. It does not cover formal teaching and research agreements with universities as for example the NOVA-University Network (www.nova-university.org/) of which AUI is a full member. It does not describe our participation in Nordic M.Sc. and Ph.D. courses, and M.Sc. Programmes, but such activities are important for AUI and are increasing rapidly. Examples are: soil science, agronomy, plant breeding, animal nutrition, forest ecology and urban forestry and urban greening. These activities often result in further research co-operation and graduate student exchange. Nordic cooperation
Nordic Gene Bank for Farm Animals (NGH)
AUI has participated in the Nordic cooperation for conservation and sustainable development of animal genetic resources for many years through representation in the NGH board (Emma Eyþórsdóttir). This has also involved work in various working groups and establishment of projects concerning AnGR over the years. NGH – Working group on Legal Framework for the Rights to and Exchange of Animal Genetic Resources
A Nordic working group established by NGH that will deliver a report concerning the stakeholders’ needs for legal framework and possibilities for creation of values based on sales /exchange of genetic material from farm animals and fish in the Nordic region. Icelandic representatives are Dr. Ágúst Sigurðsson and Emma Eyþórsdóttir. Financed by Nordic Council of Ministers together with NGH. Will conclude in 2007. Nordic Gene Bank (NGB)
AUI has participated in the Nordic cooperation for conservation and sustainable utilsation of plant genetic resources for many years through representation in the NGB board (Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir). This has also involved work in various working groups and the establishment of projects concerning PGR over the years. NGB – Cereals Working Group
Dr. Jón Hallsteinn Hallsson is the Icelandic representative. The Cereal collections at NGB comprises about 4 000 accessions in the ordinary collection, whereas the different special collections have more than 15 000 samples. The special collections are the results from various comprehensive research works and are thus well documented. NGB – Forage Working Group
Dr. Guðni Þorvaldsson is the Icelandic representative. Between 1979 and 1983 NGB collected forage crops in all the Nordic countries including Greenland. Since then, forage species have been collected more sporadically. NGB also has Nordic material collected in the 1970s before NGB was established. Seeds from more than 2 500 accessions are now available at NGB. NGBs forage collections are described in the Nordic Forage Database (NFDB). Different pre-breeding projects are funded by NGB since breeding for marginal areas in the north is not commercially viable. NGB is responsible for publishing the ECP/GR databases for Agrostis, Phalaris, and Phleum. NGB – Fruits and Berries Working Group
Samson Harðarson (FES) is the Icelandic representative. Conservation of fruits and berries is maintained on a national basis. Since fruits and berries cannot be stored as seeds, the cultivars are kept in various local clonal archives and hosts. Nordic Association of Agricultural Scientists (NJF)
Dr. Bjarni Guðleifsson (FES) has served as Secretary on the Board of the Icelandic division of since 1999 (www.njf.no ). A number of Faculty members have been active on the Board and Working Groups of the different Sections of NJF. These activities include hosting meetings and conferences in Iceland and with AUI participation in organizing Nordic and international meetings in the Nordic countries. NJF – Plant Science Section; Working Group on Timothy: NJF seminar 384.
Þóroddur Sveinsson chaired the working group organizing a seminar on Timothy Productivity and Forage Quality – possibilities and limitations, Akureyri, Iceland, 10 -12 August 2006. Proceedings: http://landbunadur.rala.is/landbunadur/wgrala.nsf/key2/njft384main.html NJF – Plant Science Section; Working Group on Long Term Experiments
Dr. Guðni Þorvaldsson is the Icelandic representative and the goal is to prepare a seminar on long term experiments in 2008. NJF – Plant Science Section; Working Group on Essential Trace Elements for Plants, Animals and Humans
Dr. Guðni Þorvaldsson chaired the working group organising a seminar on the flow of trace elements from soil to plants, livestock and people. The seminar was in Reykjavík 2005. NJF – Animal Science Section; Working Group on Dairy Cow Modelling
Dr. Jóhannes Sveinbjörnsson is the Icelandic representative. The goal is to develop further a dynamic, mechanistic model of dairy cow nutrition, metabolism and milk production. This has been a co-Nordic project for many years and a new feed evaluation system (NorFor) for dairy cows that now is being introduced in the Nordic countries is partially based on that work. NJF – Sections of Crop Science, Animal Science and Agricultural Analytical Chemistry; Working group of Agricultural Applications of NIRS and NIT
Nordic proficiency test (ring test) on analytical methods of feed stuffs. Adoption of NIRS and NIT technologies for rapid determination of quality assessments in agriculture (crop quality, feed and food quality, manure quality, soil analyses, etc.). Icelandic representatives are Tryggvi Eiríksson and Dr. Arngrímur Thorlacius (FES). The Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural Research (NKJ)
NKJ promotes and supports cooperation between the Nordic Research Councils supporting agricultural research. AUI is central in the NKJ work representing Iceland in most chapters of NKJ. The main goal for NKJ is to support sustainable agricultural development in the Nordic countries. Dr. Magnús B. Jónsson currently participates in a joint Nordic panel of experts evaluating proposals on research projects on Welfare and health of production animals as a focus area. NKJ Project 128 – Phenotypic and Molecular Characterisation of Genetic Resources of Nordic Timothy (Phleum pretense L.)
The main aim of the project is to enhance the use and conservation of Nordic populations of timothy. Project leader is Dr. Odd Arne Rognli, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir is the Icelandic representative.
Homepage: www.nordictimothy.net NKJ Working Group - Use of the cultural landscape as a resource for sustainable agricultural development.
Dr Anna Guðrún Þórhallsdottir (FES). The result of the working group is the report: Maintenance of the Cultural Landscape as a Resource for Sustainable Agricultural Development. Bioforsk report. Vol 1 nr. 117 2006. NKJ Nordic Forage Network
Dr. Guðni Þorvaldsson and Þóroddur Sveinsson are active members.
The goal of the network is to learn more about each other’s research, to identify common research tasks, to develop projects that could be applied for funding and finally to set up a more permanent network for forage in the Nordic countries.
Homepage: www.njv.slu.se/nfn Nordic Council of Ministers: Working Groups
Faculty members have taken part in a number of projects and working groups supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers as experts. Examples are given below:
Control of GMO Content in Seed and Feed- possibilities and limitations. Þóroddur Sveinsson. TemaNord 2004:541, 74 p. NECC. Nordic Centre of Excellence: Studies of Ecosystem Carbon Exchange and
its Interactions with Climate System.
AUI is a major player in the network (Drs. Bjarni D. Sigurðsson and Hlynur Óskarsson - FES). The Nordic Centre for Studies of Ecosystem Carbon Exchange and its Interactions with the Climate System (NECC) is a virtual Centre consisting of 14 research groups from institutes in Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. The aim of the Centre is to obtain a better understanding of the factors regulating the carbon balance of typical sub-arctic and boreal ecosystems and to improve the co-operation in both research and education in the field of carbon exchange. The NECC is funded by the Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) Pilot Programme from 2003 to 2007 by the Nordic Council of Ministers and NorFA, with the Icelandic share in the budget of about 12 million ISK.
Link: http://www.necc.nu/NECC/home.asp The Norfor Feed Evaluation System
NorFor is a cooperative project among the farmers´ advisory organizations in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and has a successful collaboration with Nordic researchers. The project was initiated in 2002, with the goal to create a common Nordic feed evaluation system for cattle. The system is presently being taken into use in all the above mentioned countries. Bragi Líndal Ólafsson has been a member of two of the system’s working groups preparing the adoption of the system, the Feed Table Group and the Feed Requirement Group. Dr. Jóhannes Sveinbjörnsson, coordinating the work in Iceland, has also been actively involved in the project at a Nordic level. Tryggvi Eiríksson has contributed to this work through the Nordic Forage Network (supported by FOSS). Evaluation of Turfgrass Cultivars and Seed Mixtures for Scandinavian Putting Greens
This project is supported by the Scandinavian and Icelandic Turfgrass Research Foundation. The aim of this project is to find good cultivars for different locations and situations in the Nordic countries. Experiments are located in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Dr. Guðni Þorvaldsson is responsible for the Icelandic part of the project. Nordic Co-Operation on Barley Breeding
AUI has for over 30 years had a close co-operation on barley breeding with the Swedish plant breeding company SW Seed (formerly Svalöf Weibull). This work is co-coordinated by Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir but the active participant is Jónatan Hermannsson. SW Seed multiplies Icelandic breeding material in Sweden and aids in DUS testing and registration of Icelandic cultivars. AUI tests registered and unregistered material from SW Seed in experiments in Iceland. Further, reciprocal testing of early breeding material is carried out regularly. Similar work is also in progress with the breeding companies Graminor in Norway and Borealis in Finland. European and International Cooperation European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research – COST
Staff members of AUI have been active in COST Cooperation over the years and taken part in a number of COST Actions. The most recent ones are listed below. Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir is currently the Icelandic representative in the Domain for Food and Agriculture. EU COST Action 622
The AUI served as one of the key players in the EU COST Action 622, Volcanic Soil Resources of Europe. Drs. Ólafur Arnalds and Hlynur Óskarsson (FES) Management Committee. 2-4 meetings / workshops / conferences per year, 2-5 AUI participants. The AUI hosted the final meeting in 2005 with about 70 international participants. Two peer-reviewed publications edited from Iceland; a special issue of Catena (Vol. 56) (Dr Arnalds and K. Stahr (Germany), and a book: Soils of Volcanic Regions in Europe (Springer Verlag, 640 pp., Dr Arnalds main editor, H. Óskarsson among editors; both publications entirely managed from AUI). Also substantial conference proceedings published (Rala Report No. 214). Link: www.lbhi.is/andosol EU COST Action 852
Dr. Áslaug. Helgadóttir chaired the MC of the EU COST Action 852, Quality Legume Based Forage Systems for Contrasting Environments, from 2001-2006. Scientists from 21 countries in Europe together with scientists from Canada, Australia and Brazil participated in the Action. The main activities were centered on common field experiments set up at over 40 sites in these countries. In addition to Dr. Helgadóttir, 3-4 other scientists in the faculty participated in the Action. This entailed attending working group meetings, workshops and conferences during the period of the Action. Three proceedings have been published of which two were edited jointly from Iceland. In addition a series of papers in peer-reviewed journals are under preparation and one has already appeared in J. of Ecol. Link: www.cost852.com COST Action 866
Dr. Laufey Steingrímsdóttir is a member of the management committee of the COST Action, Green Care in Agriculture (http://www.umb.no/?avd=128). The main objective of the Action, which started in 2006, is to increase the scientific knowledge on the best practices for implementing green care in agriculture with the aim of improving human mental and physical health and the quality of life. EFABIS-Net. An Integrated Network of Decentralized Country Biodiversity and Genebank Databases
AUI (Emma Eyþórsdóttir) participates in this project which is organized in cooperation with the European Association for Animal Production (EAAP) and FAO. The objective of the project is to set up tools and infrastructure for national inventories of animal genetic resources integrating them into the three level country/EAAP/FAO Network. The project is supported by EC (AGRI-2006-0266) and runs from 2006 to 2010. SHEEPRION
Participation (Dr. Bjarni E. Guðleifsson – FES) in the SHEEPRION program on the Role of environmental and host factors on the horizontal and vertical transmission of scrapie in naturally infected sheep flocks, supported by EEC (FAIR J-CT98-7023). FATEPRIDE PROJECT (Contract no. QLK 4-CT-2002-02723 Quality of Life Programme - Framework K5)
Tryggvi Eiríksson has participated in the project together with experts from the Institute for Experimental Pathology of the University of Iceland. The aims of the project in Iceland were to assess the relationship between minor elements (Mn, Cu, Mo) in the feed and blood of sheep on one hand and the sporadic occurrence of scrapie in Icelandic sheep.
EU-SCAR Co-Operative Working Group (CWG)
on Sustainable Livestock Production from Grassland
Dr. Þorsteinn Guðmundsson participated in this WG on behalf of Iceland which delivered a report in 2006 containing a summary of national programmes in the field of Sustainable livestock production, capacities and infrastructures (mapping activity), identification of research gaps, priorities for collaborative research activities between member states and proposals for ERA-NETs. SCAPE; Soil Conservation and Protection in Europe
Dr. Ólafur Arnalds (FES) was on the steering committee for the EU Concerted action on Soil Conservation and Protection in Europe, which was formed to help formulate regulations and research in this field. The final meeting was held in Iceland (AUI in co-operation with the Icelandic Soil Conservation Service), with the participation of about 60 international representatives from all continents, titled: Strategies, Science and Law for the Conservation of the World Soil Resources (Sept, 2006). Dr. Ólafur Arnalds is also a co-author of a book out of the SCAPE project. European Soils and the European Environment Agency
The AUI is responsible for Icelandic information on soil resources in relation to EU cooperation and also OECD reporting. Dr. Ólafur Arnalds (FES) is the Icelandic representative to the plenary committee of the EU Soil Bureau (Ispra, Italy), and national representative contact (NRC) for soils to the European Environmental Agency, and AUI is NRC at EEA for Agriculture. A major effort was made to generate the Soil Map of Iceland. The translation of the data and modifications to the EU Soil Bureau standardization included GIS and data handling in Iceland and joint work in Ispra, Italy. UN-FCCC reporting obligations for
Agriculture, Land use, Land use Changes and Forestry
The AUI is responsible for gathering data and research about carbon sequestration related to “land use changes” under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN-FCCC), and gathering data from parties involved in carbon sequestration (forestry, land restoration etc). The project entails international cooperation
and council with the UN-FCCC. EuroFIR (European Food Information Resource Network)
Dr. Laufey Steingrímsdóttir is a member of this European Network of Excellence on Food Composition Databank systems. EuroFIR (www.eurofir.net) is a partnership between 46 universities, research institutes and small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from 25 European countries. The network will provide the first comprehensive pan-European food information resource, using state-of-the-art database linking, to allow effective management, updating, extending and comparability. This is an essential underpinning component of all food and health research in Europe. EuroFIR is funded by the European Commission’s Research Directorate General under the “Food Quality and Safety Priority” (http://www.cordis.lu/food/home.html) of the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/home.cfm). The project started on 1st January 2005 and will be funded until December 2009, but expects to be self-funding after this date. The project is coordinated by the Institute of Food Research (http://www.ifr.ac.uk) in the UK. EFSA, European Network of Food Consumption Database Managers
Dr. Laufey Steingrímsdóttir is a member of the European Network of Database Managers for EFSA, the European Food Safety Association. The aim of the network is to generate a European Concise Food Consumtion Database to be used by EFSA in exposure assessment for risk assessment and management of hazardous chemicals in foods. The network was established in January 2007. European higher education area-The Bologna process.
The Ministry of Education has the responsibility for the Bologna process in Iceland and Office of International Education (OIE) is the national agency for its implementation in cooperation with a National Team of Bologna Promoters. Dr. M.B. Jónsson has been a member of the promoter’s team from the start. The AUI was the first university in Iceland to introduce DS at graduation. Miscellaneous Research Cooperation
Faculty members work closely with Nordic and European colleagues in a number of research projects that are financed locally either through the funds of the Science and Technology Policy Council or the Farmers’ Productivity Fund. A few examples are given below:
- In the research project on Production Diseases of Dairy Cattle
we have enjoyed extensive cooperation with Dr. K.L. Ingvertsen at the Research Station at Foulum, now part of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University.
- The project Pathways of N transfer in Grass-White Clover Mixtures
is carried out in close co-operation with a project supported by the Danish Research Council Sources and Characteristics of DON Leaching Perennial Grass-Clover Mixtures in Northern Europe (partners are Dr. Jim Rasmussen and Dr. Jørgen Eriksen, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Foulum and Dr. Henning Høgh-Jensen, University of Copenhagen, Taastrup, Denmark; Professor Friedhelm Taube, University of Kiel, Germany). A part of the project is carried out in co-operation with Dr. Mette Svenning and Dr. Matthias Zielke, University of Tromsø, Norway.
- In the project Genetic Diversity of White Clover Populations of Contrasting Origin
the effects of natural selection on genetic diversity is studied using the AFLP technique for survivor populations of white clover in Iceland (Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir), Sweden (Dr. Bodil Frankow-Lindberg, SLU, Sweden) and Wales, UK (Dr. Rosemary Collins, IGER, Aberystwyth).
? The project Quality Components of Icelandic Forage is carried out in co-operation with Dr. Marit Jørgensen, Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research.
- The project N-cycling in Icelandic Andosols
(PhD of Rannveig Guicharnaud) is a co-operation between Icelandic and Scottish scientists. It has led to joint laboratory facilities and research activities between the two Universities. Team members are Dr. Ólafur Arnalds (FES), Rannveig Guicharnaud and Graeme Paton, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. This joint research activity also led to the organization of a soil remediation course (Contaminated land – From Risk Assessment to Remediation) hosted by the Agricultural University (2007) and taught by Dr. Graeme Paton (Reader in Soil Science at Aberdeen University). The course was organized by Rannveig Guicharnaud but was held in corporation with the Environment and Food Agency of Iceland; Remedios UK, an environmental biotechnology company which was spun out of the University of Aberdeen in 1999, the University of Aberdeen, The Scottish Environmental Technology Network (SETN) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) UK. The course was aimed for professionals and participants were from the main environmental agencies and engineering companies of Iceland.
- The project The Conformation of Icelandic Horses
(PhD project of Þorvaldur Kristjánsson) is a co-operation of Icelandic and French scientists. The aim is to use a 3-dimensional video technology to study the relationship of conformation and riding ability of Icelandic horses and the relationship of certain morphometric parameters of young Icelandic horses with the prevalence of osteoarthrosis of the distal tarsal joints, which is a common disease in Icelandic horses. Team members are Dr. Þorvaldur Árnason (AUI), Þorvaldur Kristjánsson (AUI), Dr. Sigríður Björnsdóttir (Agricultural Authority of Iceland) and Dr. Natalie Crevier-Denoix and Philippe Pourcelot (Biomécanique et Pathologie du Cheval EcoleVétérinarie d’Alfort).
- In the project The Origin of the Icelandic Horse
(PhD project of Gunnfríður Hreiðarsdóttir) there is a co-operation in form of sample collection with Professor Knut Røed, Department of Morphology, Genetics and Aquatic Biology, The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo, Norway, Zoe Lucas of Sable Island Green Horse Society and Dr. Fiona Buchanan Professor and Graduate Chair, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Sofia Mikko, PhD Laboratory Director Animal Genetics Laboratory Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Dr. Van Haeringen Laboratorium BV, Holland and Dr. Emmeline Hill, Department of Animal Science, University Collage Dublin. Also DeCode Genetics in Iceland has cooperated by sharing of laboratory facilities as well as technical and theoretical assistance.
- In the project New Technology in Barley Breeding
, where emphasis has been on breeding for increased resistance to Rhynchosporium secalis (M.Sc. project of Tryggvi S. Stefánsson), we have co-operated with Dr. Bruce A. McDonald, Institute of Plant Science, Phytopathology Group, ETH, Zurich and Dr. Åsmund Bjørnstad, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.