Women’s Empowerment, Research, and Management: Their Contribution to Social Sustainability

Author(s): Ventura, A.M.; Morillas, L.; Martins-Loução, M.A.; Cruz, C.
Published in: Sustainability 2021, Issue 13, 2021, ISSN 2071-1050
DOI: 10.3390/su132212754
Abstract: This article enhances some ideas and opinions related with the challenges that women across the world face nowadays to pursue a professional career. The route they take has frequent obstacles of a distinct nature, which are not always comparable with those faced by men. The starting point of this work is the conclusions of the workshop “Women empowerment and gender equality, responsible research and innovation”—Research Project “SOILdarity”. This workshop revealed a diversified view about the subject, evidencing its connection with the social sustainability, with a special focus on academia and research management. This document introduces the topic in the context of the workshop, revises key aspects of women’s empowerment in a society still dominated by men’s opinions and organization (gender balance, obstacles and strategies), highlights the situation of women in academia and in research management, and gives the authors’ opinions about some questions related to gender and equality. We conclude that all societal actors must acknowledge women as key actors in contributing to social sustainability, working together towards creating an environment where they can have leadership roles. 

Spectra Fusion of Mid-Infrared (MIR) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy for Estimation of Selected Soil Fertility Attributes

Author(s): Lalit M. Kandpal, Muhammad A. Munnaf ,Cristina Cruz and Abdul M. Mouazen.
Published in: Sensors 202222(9), 3459
DOI: 10.3390/s22093459
Abdul Mouazen, professor at the University of Ghent and member of the SOILdarity team, is the guest editor of the special issue “Precision Agriculture ans Sensor Systems”, an initiative taken in the Framework of the MDPI jornal “Sensors”. The aim of this issue is to summarize cutting-edge research on the development and application of new sensor systems to support precision agriculture, and to highlight novel approaches to characterize soil, plants and animals as well as new ways to use sensor data to support the decision-making process. The SOILdarity team lead by Prof Mouazen took this opportunity to publish the work entitled Spectra Fusion of Mid-Infrared (MIR) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy for Estimation of Selected Soil Fertility Attributes. The work used two proximal soil sensing techniques mid-infrared (MIR) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy to assess seven soil fertility attributes: pH, organic carbon, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and moisture content (Figure). The performance of the several spectra fusion models, when compared with those obtained from single sensors, improved performance prediction for pH, phosphorous, calcium and soil moisture content. Overall, the study recommends the spectra fusion approach for improving the prediction accuracy of soil attributes. Moreover, the authors emphasize that the multi-sensor spectra fusion approach is not limited to MIR and XRF data, but it can be extended for complementary information fusion to improve the model performance in precision agriculture applications.

Sustainable production of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the Mediterranean region to support the European Green Deal

Author(s): Inês Ferreira, Ana Corrêa, Cristina Cruz
Published in: Plants, People, Planet published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of New Phytologist Foundation. 2022: 1-13.
Inês Ferreira is a Portuguese Early-Stage Researcher enrolled at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon as a PhD candidate. This is her first work published on Plants, People, Planet, a cross-disciplinary open access journal, owned by the New Phytologist Foundation, and focusing on the interface between plants and society.
This is a critical review on how new technologies and intensified R&D allow for a better understanding of the physiology of the plant-fungi symbioses and how climate change affects them (Figure). The revision emphasises how essential forest management practices are to optimise the production of ectomycorrhizal sporocarps and to help developing sustainable and relevant production practices in the context of rural bioeconomy. The relevance of these practices towards soil functionality and related ecosystem services is also assessed. The interest of the reader is stimulated with the successful example of truffle cultivation. Truffles are traditional delicacies with high socioeconomic relevance and numerous biotechnological applications. Exploiting these and other native Mediterranean fungal species can promote sustainable practices in line with new European Green Deal strategies.