Project title: Twinning excellence on organic soil amendments effect on nutrient and contaminant dynamics in the subsurface 
Project acronym: TwinSubDyn 
Project coordinator: Prof. dr Snežana Maletić
GA Number: 101059546
Call identifier: Twinning Western Balkans HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-02
Start date of project: 01/08/2022
Duration: 36 months

Project partners:

ShortBeneficiary Role
1 UNSPMF   University of Novi Sad Faculty of SciencesCO
2 UNIVIE University of ViennaBEN
3 FZJ Forschungszentrum JülichBEN
4 MLU Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg   BEN
5 CSIC Spanish National Research CouncilBEN

Project concept

The Western Balkan is an integral part of Europe and a geostrategic priority for the European Union. In this area agriculture and food production is cited by government and stakeholder groups as one of the most prominent priority domains, and the most relevant for research and innovation. Globally, current agricultural practices result in harmful environmental effects, including three key problems: deterioration of soil as a key non-renewable resource in our lifetime, groundwater pollution, and increasing agricultural residues. In the northern part of Serbia, 82% of the area is used for agriculture. Therefore, it has been recognized the urgent need to shift towards environmentally sustainable food production. This may be achieved by focusing on integrated systems of crop and livestock production which enables optimum utilization of resources following concepts of circular economy. Thereby, a widespread use of organic soil amendments in agriculture is foreseeable. These amendments may include anaerobic digestate, manure, sewage sludge, compost, as well as biochar. The potential for the application of organic soil amendments is growing in the Western Balkan. This is mostly due to rapid increase of biogas energy production, installation of wastewater treatment plants, and to a smaller extent compost- and biochar production. These amendments will affect soil structure, element cycling, and nutrient composition in the soil. Organic soil amendments can be a source and/or a sink of nutrients as well as organic and inorganic pollutants (predominately pharmaceuticals, pesticides and microplastics). Thus, they are expected to affect soil and groundwater quality. Modulated organic matter dynamics caused by organic soil amendments are expected to affect contaminant and colloid fate, with additional implications for groundwater quality.


Twinning excellence on organic soil amendments effect on nutrient and contaminant dynamics in the subsurface (TwinSubDyn) aims to boost research excellence of University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences and establish a knowledge hub based in Serbia to address unresolved challenges on the impact of organic soil amendments on the fate of contaminants (pharmaceuticals, pesticides, microplastics), and nutrient dynamics in the soil subsurface and their implications for groundwater quality.

To significantly advance the roadmap of Research and Inovation and strengthen the research position in the defined field, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences will link with 4 cross-disciplinary leading partners University of Vienna, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Each scientific partner will be committed to transfer specific knowledge and expertise: (1) Bridge knowledge on soil organic matter dynamics and its effect on nutrient, contaminant mobility and transformation with hydrogeological modelling and state of the art analytical techniques. (2) Build-up the capacity to elucidate element cycling via isotopically labelled substances with a special focus on soil organic matter, which governs many processes in the subsurface. The overarching goal of the project to step up and stimulate both the scientific excellence and innovation capacity and institutional research support and administration will be reached through 4 specific objectives:


To network for excellence through knowledge transfer and exchange of best practice between University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences and renowned leading partners University of Vienna, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - through short-term scientific missions of qualified and early-stage researchers. Strengthening research management and administration capacities at University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences. Establish long-lasting strategic partnerships with leading European institutions in the field.


To significantly raise reputation, research profile and attractiveness of University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences and its staff - through delivering lectures by experts, organization of workshops and summer schools, establishment of a virtual knowledge platform at University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, development of Science and Innovation Strategy and action plan for University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences.


To increasing scientific competence via a strategic collaborative research project on the impact of organic soil amendments on contaminant and nutrient dynamics in the soil subsurface and implications for groundwater quality.


To considerably expand scientific knowledge through dissemination, and outreach activities to the national and international academic community, while promoting activities directed to relevant stakeholders and the general public.











Fifth Follow up

On June 19th, Marijana Kragulj Isakovski met with Jelena Moravski, a representative of the city administration for environmental protection, to discuss the TwinSubDyn project and its main results. During the meeting, Jelena Moravski presented the GIS Novi Sad application (zelenilo.com), which maps and analyzes all green surfaces in the city. The city administration approved a project proposal focused on utilizing green waste for a green economy, aiming to produce biochar from green biomass in Novi Sad with comprehensive characterization and evaluation of potential applications. It was concluded that joint efforts in environmental care should be prioritized to enhance living standards and wellbeing for all citizens.

The fourth follow-up meeting at Regional Landfill doo Subotica, held in May 2024, built on the successful workshop in March titled "Overcoming Challenges in the Application of Organic Soil Additives - Synergy of Science and Economy." Our host was Bjanka Čuturilo.

Regional Landfill doo Subotica employs specialized technology to produce high-quality compost. This compost is made from anaerobically stabilized sludge, transported on a regulated schedule from the Subotica Wastewater Treatment Plant, and biomass (green waste) collected through the regional waste management system. Key conclusions from the meeting included the need for enhanced collaboration between scientific research and economic strategies to optimize compost quality and the importance of expanding educational initiatives to promote the benefits of organic soil additives in sustainable agriculture. Participants also discussed the potential for scaling up production to meet increasing demand and the necessity of implementing stricter quality control measures to ensure consistency in compost performance. The meeting underscored the pivotal role of integrated waste management practices in fostering environmental sustainability and economic growth in the region.

The follow-up on the workshop „The potential to commercialize OSA application“

The meeting with the representatives of the Serbian Biogas Association Goran Knežević, President of the Association, and Lidija Zelić, Managing Director, was held on May 9, 2024, at the UNSPMF. Participants of the meetining from UNSPMF were Snežana Maletić, Srđan Rončević, Marijana Kragulj Isakovski and Jasna Atanasijević.

During discussions, the Association representatives outlined the landscape of biogas production from agricultural residues, emphasizing the potential for constructing biopower plants and the availability of raw materials. Recognizing overlapping interests between biogas producers and OSA manufacturers regarding raw materials, the idea of a complementary approach emerged, leveraging digestate from biogas production for OSA production.

The follow-up on the workshop „Overcoming challenges in the application of organic soil additives - synergy of science and economy“

The meeting hosted at the Government of Vojvodina, bringing together decision-makers represented by Provincial Secretary for Urban Planning and Environmental Protection, Dragan Đurica, and project team members Snežana Maletić and Marijana Kragulj Isakovski.

The meeting concluded on a note of optimism and shared commitment to collaborative efforts aimed at surmounting challenges associated with the application of organic soil amendments and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural practices in Vojvodina. Through a concerted effort to leverage the synergy between science and economy, coupled with fostering collaboration among key stakeholders, participants expressed confidence in effecting positive change and advocating for sustainable agricultural practices tailored to the specific needs of the region.

TwinSubDyn at the 91st International Agricultural Fair held from 18 to 23 May 2024 in Novi Sad.

TwinSubDyn project team member MSc Nina Đukanović presented a workshop "Resource revolution for sustainable development - knowledge transfer". The aim of this workshop was to increase scientific competence on the impact of organic soil amendments on contaminant and nutrient dynamics in the soil subsurface and implications for groundwater quality.

Interested visitors had the opportunity to develop their creative thinking and associative linking skills, exploring ways to improve environmental sustainability.

This fair event led to meaningful conversations and the sharing of valuable insights.

Dear Colleagues,

Horizon Europe project TwinSubDyn is delighted to invite you to WEBINAR hosting an expert in Proposal Writing in collaboration with the TwinSubDyn partner University of Vienna

TOPIC: Proposal writing workshop series – Proposal writing and project planning

Speaker: Sarah Hale, Senior Researcher

This webinar is the third in a series of three which will focus on (i) identification of promising funding schemes (held in September 2023), (ii) grant conceptualization and consortia building and (held in February 2024) and (iii) proposal writing and project planning. The webinar will focus on the essential skills of crafting effective proposals and project planning and it will include a question and answer session providing attendees with the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the presenter.

Key details can be found here.

First follow-up meeting

On April 26th, TwinSubDyn and ReNBES projects held first follow-up meeting in the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia. The initial subsequent gathering came after the March workshops in Novi Sad. These workshops focused on tackling hurdles in utilizing organic soil additives, particularly examining the legislative context and the interplay between scientific advancements and economic factors.

Since decision and policy makers are identified as one of the most important target groups within the project implementation it was crucial to go into a dialog with the Ministry. In our follow-up meeting, it's evident that sustainable soil management remains a pivotal issue, especially in the context of accommodating the needs of a growing population. The endorsement of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and the subsequent formation of the SWG group demonstrate a collective commitment to promoting sustainable agricultural practices and enhancing soil quality. The current focus of the SWG on implementing a standardized soil classification system and developing a digital soil map is commendable, as it lays the foundation for informed decision-making and targeted interventions. However, the concerns raised regarding the presence of pollutants in organic fertilizers, as well as the challenges surrounding sewage sludge management, highlight the complexity of the issues at hand. Addressing these contradictions at higher levels, including engaging policymakers, is essential to ensure effective and sustainable soil management practices.

Only through cooperation and dialogue between academia and authorities, the full potential of project outcomes can be reached to mutual benefit, leading to a great impact in this sector. Our discussions reaffirm the urgency of collaborative efforts and holistic approaches in addressing soil-related challenges, while also emphasizing the need for continuous research, policy refinement, and stakeholder engagement.

Exciting Updates from Novi Sad: Dissemination to the stakeholders and policymakers

Natural based efficient solution for remediation and revitalization of contaminated locations using energy crops (ReNBES) Funded by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia and Twinning excellence on organic soil amendments effect on nutrient and contaminant dynamics in the subsurface (TwinSubDyn) Twinning Western Balkans HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-02 presented their research, ideas and achievement to the stakeholders and policymakers.

On March 5th and 6th, Hotel Sheraton Novi Sad was buzzing with innovation and collaboration as the ReNBES and TwinSubDyn Consortium co-organized two dynamic workshops. The focus? Disseminating crucial insights to stakeholders and policymakers eager to dive into the world of environmental solutions.

Participants delved into a range of topics including soil remediation, risk assessment, biochar production, and the transformative potential of phytoremediation. The workshops weren't just about presentations; they were interactive, featuring panels and debates where team members and attendees could exchange valuable feedback. The agenda was comprehensive, covering all aspects of the project and inviting members to participate as speakers.

But it doesn't end there. The dissemination of knowledge won't stay confined within hotel walls. The TwinSubDyn Consortium will have a follow up meeting where we will outline plans for further outreach, plans, and research. The aim is to find the most suitable way to interact and communicate science with policy and stakeholders and vice versa.

Why does this matter? Because it's not just about academic discourse. It's about real-world impact. By fostering dialogue between academia, industry, and policymakers, these workshops pave the way for tangible change.

Stay tuned for more updates on the ripple effects generated by these dynamic workshops. The seeds of change have been sown, and the TwinSubDyn Consortium are leading the charge towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Dear Colleagues,
Horizon Europe project TwinSubDyn is delighted to invite you to WEBINAR hosting an expert in Proposal Writing in collaboration with the TwinSubDyn partner University of Vienna
TOPIC: Proposal writing workshop series – grant conceptualization and consortia building
Speaker: Sarah Hale, Senior Researcher

This webinar is the second in a series of three which will focus on (i) identification of promising funding schemes (held in September 2023), (ii) grant conceptualization and consortia building and (iii) proposal writing and project planning. The webinar will focus on how to mature an idea to a concept with viable results and then how to shape this in a proposal to meet the demands of a call. The webinar will also look at how to bring together the necessary partners to ensure success. These topics will be discussed by drawing upon examples in the Horizon Europe program. The webinar will end with a question and answer session providing attendees with the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the presenter. Additional details can be found here

Announcement of TwinSubDyn Summer School

It is a pleasure for the TwinSubDyn team to announce and host the Summer School on Sustainable organic amendment application from a soil and ground water management perspective: scientific basis, challenges, and perspectives that will be held at Novi Sad in June 2025.
Main topics of the Summer School are:
• organic amendment application
• soil management
• ground water management

Stay tuned for more details as the program unfolds.
We welcome your valuable input! If you have any suggestions regarding topics or wish to provide feedback on our knowledge HUB, please feel free to share your insights at: knowledge-hub.pmf.uns.ac.rs



Project Laucher









We have chosen our project partners from EU institutions we have previously collaborated with or with which we currently have on-going research collaborations. In addition, there is only one partnering organization with which we have established cooperation only recently, and we want to strengthen our links with that group. All partners were chosen carefully to help us unlock our research potential in the specific research areas we have identified as our specific scientific objectives.


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The Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad is a leader of the project TwinSubDyn. University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences has been the country's strong base of science and teaching in fundamental sciences since its founding in 1969. The Faculty of Sciences participated in more than 200 domestic and international projects that contributed to the development of expertise for a flexible and quick response to the main emerging scientific and technological problems, opportunities and needs that appear in the field of environmental protection. The Chair of Chemical Technology and Environmental Protection at University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, has long been a regional leader in environmental science with over 40 years of R&D experience. Current expertise and research focus on sorption of hydrophobic organic compounds onto soil/sediment organic matter as the major process determining the bioavailability of hydrophobic organic pollutants in sediments and soils, biodegradability and phytotoxicity of these pollutants in environmental media, sequestration and aging of organic pollutants in porous media, characterization and application of carbonaceous materials such as biochar and carbon nanomaterials for contaminant removal.

Snezana Maletic     e-mail:snezana.maletic@dh.uns.ac.rs


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University of Vienna, was founded in 1365 and is one of the leading research institutions in Europe. It is associated with 21 Nobel prize winners with currently 7,538 scientific staff with extensive experience in managing international large projects. To date, University of Vienna has been awarded over 250 Horizon projects, including 102 ERC grants. Within University of Vienna, the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science was founded to conduct excellent research at an internationally leading level, aiming to solve pressing environmental problems of today and tomorrow. In the centre the division of environmental geosciences (EDGE) deals with research topics that include nanogeosciences, pollutant dynamics, isotope geochemistry, biogeochemistry, environmental chemical analytics, and modern hydrogeology. EDGE takes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate aquatic and terrestrial processes that control the environment. Chemical, physical, biological, and geoscientific concepts and methods are applied in all research practices: starting from field observations and experimental work to arrive at a molecular scale mechanistic understanding and quantitative modeling.

Sigmund Gabriel     e-mail: gabriel.sigmund@univie.ac.at


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Forschungszentrum Jülich works on key technologies for the grand challenges facing society in the fields of information, material, brain, energy and environmental research. With more than 5,500 employees, it is one of the largest research institutions in the Helmholtz Association and in Europe. The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences Agrosphere (IBG-3) aims to contribute to the sustainable use of soil and water as natural resources and to provide a better understanding of the functioning of terrestrial systems. IBG-3 has more than 50 scientists working on various national and international projects, including the sustainable use of the natural resources soil and water, and the analysis and optimization of matter cycles. Research at the Agrosphere is organised in three research areas: modelling of terrestrial systems, environmental processes and technologies and terrestrial biogeochemistry. An important part of the activities within the field of environmental processes and technologies focuses on the development of methods to characterize surface and subsurface biogeochemical processes and to improve our understanding of hydrological driven colloidal processes from the lab to the catchment scale.

Bol, Roland     e-mail: r.bol@fz-juelich.de


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Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg aims at contributing to a sustainable use of the natural resources with special emphasis on soil, plant, and water and to provide an improved understanding of soil organic matter management. Its research deals with the functional analysis of soil organic matter using molecular markers and stabile isotope techniques. Soil Biogeochemistry has contributed to various EU, DFG, BMBF, and other international projects. Their research interest lies on environmental aspects of organic amendments, identification and quantification of soil processes, non-destructive and non-invasive methods and sustainable use of natural resources. The major focus is on biochar and its environmental aspects. Furthermore the focus on the sustainable management of natural resources, the identification and quantification of soil processes, the method development, stable isotopes, non-destructive and non-invasive methods, the settlement history (Terra Preta, Raised Fields) and Palaeoecology.

Bruno Glaser     e-mail: bruno.glaser@landw.uni-halle.de


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Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas is Spain’s largest public research institution and ranks third among Europe’s largest research organisations. Attached to the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas plays a key role in scientific and technological policy in Spain and more widely worldwide. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas played a significant role in establishing and developing the European Research Area (ERA) and is therefore a significant contributor to the European integration process. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas produces 20% of Spain’s national scientific output and is the leading institution in Spain in the generating patents. Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla (IRNAS) is a Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas research centre, dedicated to the investigation of the use and conservation of soil-plant-water natural resources. Its aim is to improve productivity with the minimum impact on the environment to ensure the sustainability of natural resources. Their researchers are working in the field of soil and biogeochemistry along with the analysis of coal, charcoal and biochar and their impact on soil systems.

Heike Knicker     e-mail: knicker@irnase.csic.es


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