Steering Committee Zoom meeting in Nitra

03 04 2023

Friday, December 16, 2022, from 10.00 a.m. Paris time, CET time

Attendees: Elena Horska, president (Slovak Academy of Agricultural Science), Ioan Jelev, vice-president (Rumanian Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences), Michel Thibier (French Academy of Agriculture), Zenonas Dabkevičius (Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), Baiba Rizva (Latvian Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences), Kerstin Niblaeus (Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry), Tomas Garcia Azcarate (National Association of Agricultural Engineering, Spain), Evi Arachoviti (RASE/Royal Agricultural Society of England, Great Britain, Innovation for Agriculture), Nazim Gruda (Academy of Science of Albania)/partly
Absentees: Guram Aleksidze (Georgian Academy of Agricultural Sciences), Vilem Podrazsky (Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences), Maria Salome Pais (Portugal, Lisbon Academy of Sciences). Simone Orlandini (member of the Scientific-Technical Committee of Academy of Georgofili, Italy).

#1. Welcome address by President of UEAA E. Horská

President Elena Horská welcomed the participants of the SC meeting and asked for approval of the SC Agenda. Michel Thibier proposed to add a new issue to the Agenda on membership of Ukraine in SC UEAA and discuss overall situation. All agreed, so Agenda was approved as follows:

1. Welcome address by President.
2. Approval of SC meeting Minutes (October, 6, 2022) (attached)
3. Approval of General Assembly Minutes (October, 6, 2022) (attached)
4. Ukraine issue – position at SC UEAA
5. A brief information about the activity carried out after the GA
6. Planning of UEAA newsletters for upcoming months
7. Procedure to select the Best Abstracts from the UEAA Scientific competition; Members of Jury, Sub-groups of evaluation, Grid of assessment, (G. Aleksidze)
8. UEAA website
9. Plan of activities for 2023
10. Close of the meeting.

#2. Approval of SC meeting Minutes

Following the agenda, Elena Horská asked to approve the minutes from the past SC UEAA meeting from October 6, 2022 which was sent out for revision to each SC member. There were no complains or questions and all participating SC members voted for approval.

#3. Approval of GA meeting Minutes

After approval of the minutes from the past SC UEAA meeting, Elena Horská asked to approve the minutes from the last GA meeting, hold on October 6, 2022 in hybrid form in Bratislava. The minutes were sent to all SC members for revision. All participating members agreed with minutes and voted for approval. Elena Horská thanked all for cooperation in this field.

#4 Ukraine issue – position at SC UEAA

At the beginning, Elena Horská explained the current situation and position of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine (NAAS). All agreed it is very difficult situation for NAAS nowadays and agreed also with supporting of NAAS. Zenonas Dabkevičius mentioned the option of a position of “observer” which was supported also by Ioan Jelev during the discussion. Michel Thibier summarized the situation and questions raised included:

  • Approval of NAAS as a part of SC – was approved by all participants
  • Offer NAAS an observer status – was approved by all participants.

Task: contact NAAS and inform about decision of SC UEAA. Contact point: Anush Balian, vicepresident of NAAS. Decision to contact the vice-president of NAAS was made due to the fact the president of NAAS has not been active in UEAA for longer period of time.
Responsible person: Elena Horská

#5 A brief information about the activity carried out after the GA

There was provided information about current activities which include:

  • Information of Michel Thibier on further development in the field of gene editing and positive achievement: sharing the article on gene editing posted on the UEAA website from a French paper that was translated into English for the benefit of UEAA. He also emphasized the importance of the aspect of political acceptability of research and outcomes, and necessity to find connections with food sovereignty.
  • Information of Tomas Garcia Azcarate on current situation in the field of Electronic working group (EWG). It is important to inform about EWG activity and encourage new expert to participate, so he will prepare a draft of a new call at the beginning of 2023.
  • Information of Kerstin Niblaeus on forestry issues. She informed about discussions in the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry on CAP 2028 with a great focus on sustainability. She proposed to prepare a newsletter at the occasion of the Swedish presidency of the Council of the EU. Also in this area it would be useful to prepare a letter and inform the professional public about the next steps. This idea was supported also by Ioan Jelev. He informed the SC members about the high-level meeting in Kishinev, organized under the umbrella of the Moldavian President, Maia SANDU, about the” Advancing National Climate Change agenda in the Forestry and Agriculture in Moldova”.

#6 Planning of UEAA newsletters in upcoming months

It is good practice for UEAA to publish a newsletter every month. Towards the end of 2022 this activity was somewhat underestimated. Suggestions for the newsletter came from Vilem Podrazsky, Nazim Gruda and Ioan Jelev, but they included more promotional information or a literature review on a particular area. This material was valuable in terms of information, but the structure did not quite fit the newsletter format. The newsletter should contain information about activities in a certain field, whether it is a series of events, research results in a given field, in confrontation with priorities for a given period, binding documents or the attitude of policy makers, experts, to show the research work of different academies, etc. The newsletter may also include photographs, which may be published if the conditions of the GDPR are met. Michel Thibier stressed that it is necessary to think about who our target group is, what goals we want to achieve. He also proposed would be good to have a publishing schedule for at least three months in advance. Proposal was supported also in discussion by Ioan Jelev, Kerstin Niblaeus and finally accepted by all SC members. Publishing plan looks as follows (and will be updated at the next SC meeting):

December 2022-Ioan Jelev
January 2023 –Kerstin Niblaeus
February 2023 – Vilem Podrazsky and Elena Horská
March 2023– Zenonas Dabkevičius
April 2023 – Baiba Rizva
May 2023 –
June 2023 –
July 2023 – Tomas Garcia Azcarate


After fruitful discussion there was also agreed that Ioan will adapt the content of the newsletter to UEAA standards and the newsletter will be published (see UEAA website and newsletter published on December, 23, 2022).

#7 Procedure to select the Best Abstracts from the UEAA Scientific competition; Members of Jury, Sub-groups of evaluation, Grid of assessment

Discussion in this field was managed by Michel Thibier. He introduced a proposal of the evaluation process with the deadline January, 28th, 2023 and announcement of three best abstracts. Elena Horska as president was excluded from the group of reviewers and there were approved reviewers for 2 subgroups as follows:

Group A – abstracts 1 – 16
Reviewers: Guram Aleksidze, Simone Orlandini, , Ioan Jelev, Evi Arachoviti (reserve reviewer)
Group B – abstracts 17 – 32
Reviewers: Michel Thibier, Nazim Gruda, Baiba Rizva

The next question was how about the future of Best abstract competition. Participating Steering Committee members expressed their opinion based on how they see the situation and feedback at national academies. Their opinions are different:

Baiba Rizva – yes, continue
Zenonas Dabkevičius – no
Elena Horská – no
Michel Thibier – yes
Ioan Jelev – consensus, proposal to ask national academies about their opinion
Kerstin Niblaeus – very difficult to say, as they are focusing more on business and practice, maybe break
Evi – agree, but she said they are not research institute, their role is to transform science into practice and practical benefits
Guram Aleksidze – yes
Tomas Garcia Azcarate – “we should continue, but lack of time…”

Final conclusion: postpone discussion to the next SC meeting, after the announcement of the best abstracts and discussion at national academies. All SC members agreed.

#8 UEAA website

According to rules of UEAA the website has to be supported by the academy hosting the presidency which is Slovak academy of agricultural sciences. Elena Horska informed the SC members about current situation and discussion with the Presidency of the Slovak Academy of Agricultural Sciences and their intention to decrease the costs of website maintenance and/or change provider and web manager. Kersting Niblaeus went to the history of UEAA website and explained the process of establishment of UEAA website by Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and Michel Thibier explained what kind of problems were caused by changing the web manager in the past. Elena Horska was requested to continue the discussion at national level and ensure smooth course of website as the main tool for communication of UEAA activities.

#9 Plan of activities for 2023

– Continue with activities in current priorities and topics (gene editing, EWG, forestry, sustainability)
– Best abstracts awards and further actions
– Website and UEAA promotion
– Newsletters

At the end of SC meeting Michel Thibier informed that he plans to retire from the UEAA and the French Academy of Agriculture will nominate a new representative. All stated that the professor will be sorely missed as he stood by the UEAA for many years, supported its activity and visibility, shaped its focus and impact on agri-food community.
Elena Horska, president of UEAA will prepare the official letter of thanks to Michel Thibier.

#10 Close of the meeting

Meeting was closed after 12 noon. Next meeting is planned on March, 17, 2023 at 10 am (Paris time, Central European time).


Recorded by: Elena Horská
Nitra, Slovak Republic
January, 21, 2023