Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science
The agricultural and food sector of Cyprus, like all other sectors of the economy, is in a state of transition due to the new socio-economic environment created by the accession of Cyprus to the EU. This new environment, together with the liberalization of the international trade, exert a strong competitive pressure on raw and processed agricultural products of Cyprus, both in the European and the local market. In order to adjust to the new environment, and thus ensure its survival and further development within the EU, the agricultural sector of Cyprus must improve its competitiveness by reducing production costs and by improving quality of products. The same problems and challenges exist for the food and beverage industry, which at present, is the most important and dynamic sub-sector of the processing industry of Cyprus. The required increased competitiveness of the agri-food sector can only be achieved through modernization and technological upgrading of agricultural and livestock enterprises, as well as of food and beverage units. In both the primary (raw material) and secondary (processed) food production sectors, it is absolutely essential to introduce new production methods that would ensure sustainable use of natural and biological resources, food quality and safety, mitigation of negative effects on environment and biodiversity, animal health and welfare, as well as other requirements of the European market. Particular attention should be paid to the development of new products, to the utilization of the competitive advantages offered by traditional Cyprus products and to the need for major improvements in storage, packing, standardization and transport of agri-food products. It is also important to carry out market research on a regular basis, in order to ensure timely response of production to continuously changing consumer preferences, and to adopt new and effective methods and practices for promotion and marketing of agri-food products. Considering the problems, prospects and challenges resulting from Cyprus’ accession to the EU and with the objective to contribute to the required modernization and technological transformation of the island’s agrifood sector, the Cyprus University of Technology has established, for the first time in Cyprus, a department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science. The new department will offer a B.Sc. degree in Agricultural and Food Sciences with specialization in three basic areas: a) Crop Science and Technology, b) Animal Science and Technology (including fisheries and aquaculture) and c) Food Science and Technology. The research programmes and the course curricula in all three specialization options, will focus on the development and adoption of new scientific methods and technological applications. Particular attention will be given to such cutting-edge research areas as the field of modern biotechnology and its multiple applications in plant and animal production, the food industry and the environment. It is of interest to note that within the context of the Lisbon strategy, a new concept of Agriculture is being presently developed in the EU, that of the “Knowledge-based Bio-economy”. This new concept integrates in a sustainable way modern crop and animal production, fisheries and aquaculture, food industry and biotechnology. In this regard, the Department’s main role will be to generate (through its research programmes) and to disseminate (through its educational programmes) the necessary knowledge base and technology required for the development and promotion of modern bioeconomy in Cyprus. The programme of study aims to prepare students for scientific careers in the public and the private sectors of Cyprus. Some examples of potential public employers of our graduates include the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (MANRE) and its various services and departments (Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Institute, Dept. of Fisheries and Marine Research), the Agricultural Insurance Organization, the Agricultural Payments Organization, the State General Chemistry Laboratory etc. In the private sector, graduates will be able to either develop independent professional careers (e.g. agricultural consultants, seed / plant protection companies, greenhouse units, nurseries, landscape design, micropropagation labs, aquaculture units, food labs etc.) or be employed by private companies engaged in bioeconomic activities such as those mentioned above or by large agricultural and livestock enterprises, food and beverage industries (wineries, dairy units) etc. In addition, graduates will be in a position to pursue careers abroad in the various services of the European Commission or as experts/delegates/attaches of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU, international organizations or foreign countries. Finally, they will be able to pursue post-graduate and doctoral studies and thus develop careers in research and academia.
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