First Annual FORTHEM Conference FORTHEM - For the Future





First Annual FORTHEM conference 

FORTHEM – For the Future


March 6-8, 2024 

Whether enhancing global competitiveness or addressing specific priorities and challenges, the conference seeks to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and growth within its community and to collaboratively shape the future of Europe. Encouraging participation across various disciplines and subjects, FORTHEM aims to extend its networks beyond its own boundaries, engaging researchers from other alliances, research institutions, and non-academic partners.

This collective research effort strengthens our ability to confront unforeseen events like pandemics or regional conflicts in Europe, whose long-term societal impacts necessitate comprehensive research. Furthermore, it equips us to tackle the rapidly evolving societal and technological landscape. FORTHEM recognizes that basic and applied research are complementary forces driving creativity and innovation, making it an attractive research environment.

The conference features ten thematic sessions to facilitate the sharing, discussion, and evaluation of research findings in current and relevant fields. By opening up to researchers worldwide, FORTHEM invites participants to explore common research strengths and forge meaningful connections. 

We invite submissions on but not limited to the following topics:

General sessions:

  • Europe as a hub for inclusiveness and democratic values
  • Cultural heritage, a testimony of the past and reference book
  • Physical and mental health in complex times of crisis, and economic and political instability
  • Overpopulation and overconsumption triggering hunger, resource scarcity, migration, climate change, and the pollution of the atmosphere, the soil and the oceans
  • The role of life sciences in an increasingly aging society
  • The chemistry of the Green Deal
  • The physics of Climate Change
  • Digitization and artificial intelligence as key drivers for science and education in the future

Cross-disciplinary sessions specially targeted for Early-Stage researchers:

  • Social Sciences and Humanities – Creative research ideas and their potential societal impact
  • Natural Sciences – Be innovative and shape the future in your field

Registration form: First Annual FORTHEM conference
    • 1
      Opening ceremony by the Chair of the R&I&T Mission Jacek Lipok

      Prof.Dr.h. Jacek Lipok, the chair of the Research, Innovation and Transfer Mission of the FORTHEM Alliance on free circulation of researchers, knowledge and technology.
      Research, Innovation & Transfer facilitates cross-institutional and cross-sectoral collaboration of researchers, at all stages of their careers, with local and regional business and economic stakeholders, especially SMEs, public administration and the policy and cultural sectors. Policies, programmes and incentives provide a framework for academics to engage in research involving FORTHEM’s regional innovation ecosystems

    • 2
      Welcome speech

      prof. Ruta Muktupavela, Chair of the Conference of Rectors of Latvia, Member of the Latvian Science Council, Chairperson of the Latvian National Culture Council, Rector of Latvian Academy of Culture

      Speaker: Prof. Ruta Muktupavela
    • Europe as a hub for inclusiveness and democratic values
      • 3
        Democratic decline and challenges to Europe as a hub for inclusiveness and democratic values

        Europe has been the epicentre of inclusiveness and democratic values such as human rights since the idea of Coal and Steel Union was formally established. The aim of this study is to find out challenges that are presented to the Europe as hub for inclusiveness and democratic values. In recent years, democracy in EU is seen with sceptic eyes (Eurobarometer Spring Survey, 2023) in an increasing trend. Europe and the EU has evolved into supra-national entity with progressive agenda that priorizes advancements in science, human development, freedoms and liberties, and services to benefit citizens. However, in the recent years, this progress appears to have been taken for granted and there has been a noticeable decline in democracy, in areas such as media freedom, free and fair elections, inclusiveness of migrants and other fields. This paper presentation looks at public narratives to identify a typology of (i) democratic decline and (ii) challenges Europe is facing to maintain its central role as a hub for inclusiveness and democratic values in the world. It intends to analyse selected European agenda setting media articles, strategic communication (including speeches from European Parliament) and electoral materials that frame the above issues as important objectives for Europe.

        Speakers: Abit Hoxha (UiA), Mr Andreas Vatne Ellefsen (UiA), Mr Timo Szcepanska (UiA/NORCE)
      • 4
        No longer sidelined? Football fandom, belonging and the boundaries of Europe

        In times of ‘polycrisis’, numerous challenges threaten unity and cohesion on the European continent. European identities can play an important part in navigating these challenges and fostering solidarity. One key to understanding European identities is analysing the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, as constructions of belonging form an essential component of individual and collective identities. Football fandom, a popular and highly Europeanised cultural phenomenon, has the potential to shape identities and constructions of belonging to Europe. Given the diverse participation in European football, we posit that the identities of football fans are more inclusive and diverse than those of non-fans. Our analysis indicates that football fans are more likely to count countries outside of what is commonly associated with Europe as European. This points to a distinct effect of cultural integration through football and underscores the role football plays in fostering a sense of unity and shared identity across the continent. The findings highlight the importance of leveraging cultural avenues to strengthen European cohesion and unity in times of uncertainty.

        Speaker: Jonas Biel (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
      • 5
        Migrants Rights versus symbolic boundaries in the European context.

        General Sessions: Europe as a hub for inclusiveness and democratic values
        Background: Spain serves as a prominent gateway to Europe, with arrivals via boats “pateras” and instances of express returns ("devoluciones en caliente") being commonplace. However, immigrants often encounter significant hurdles in accessing the country through regular channels, leading some to resort to irregular entry. Access to regularization in Spain is fraught with difficulty, exacerbating the challenges faced by migrants [1]. Moreover, there exists a phenomenon of Symbolic Boundaries, delineating who is included and excluded within society [2].
        Aim: This paper aims to explore the various intersecting barriers—legal, social, discriminatory, abusive, violent, and symbolic—that migrants encounter in Spain, posing a challenge to inclusiveness and democratic values in Europe.

        Speaker: Maite Alemany (Lab Migration and Diversity)
      • 6
        Tax Relief for Working Seniors as an Incentive to Remain Professionally Active – the Case of Poland

        Background. The analyzed issue is important because it draws attention to the issue of tax relief offered to working seniors as one of the elements of the competitiveness of the Polish tax system. The issue makes it possible to assess the usefulness of the tax relief in terms of motivating professional activity was assessed. The work fills a gap in the adopted research area as currently there is a lack of comprehensive research on the consequences of the introduced tax relief.
        Aim. The aim of the study is to assess whether the tax relief offered to working seniors provides tax and contribution benefits as an incentive for them to remain professionally active.
        Results. In terms of employment contract, tax relief may be an incentive to remain economically active while giving up pension, especially for people receiving low benefits. In addition, it seems attractive to occasionally resign from the pension, e.g. in the case of a one-off significant income. Similar conclusions have been presented regarding business activity. In this respect, it seems particularly beneficial to temporarily suspend drawing benefits allowing for Article 23(10) of the Personal Income Tax.

        Speaker: Anna Dada (University of Opole, Faculty of Economics)
      • 7
        Cooperation between hearing sign language interpreters and their deaf clients

        The presentation discusses a recent study conducted at the Research Centre for Easy Language at the University of Hildesheim (Germany) (Maaß, LM 2022 and in print). The aim was to find out how hearing German Sign Language Interpreters (SLI) and their deaf clients work together from the perspective of both groups. The presentation will provide an insight into the methodology and some of the results that have not yet been published. The Deaf participants reveal that more than 90 % of the medical emergencies, deaf people have to cope without a sign language interpreter. These and other remarkable results will be presented in the talk. Furthermore, I will provide insights into the negotiation of communication situations with SLI as well as into the assumptions of both sides regarding the fundamental parameters of interpretation quality. There is a deviation from the results of studies on interlingual interpreting with reference to translation and interaction parameters, which emphasizes the special nature of interpreting into German Sign Language.

        Speaker: Laura Marie Maaß (Universität Hildesheim)
    • Cultural heritage, a testimony of the past and reference book for the future: Cultural heritage, a testimony of the past and reference book for the future
      • 8
        The Faces of Rural Modernity in the Age of Entertainment and Tourism

        This paper examines the ways in which nationalism, folklore, peasant material heritage and concern for traditions and identity are intertwined in the case of promotional campaigns for rural tourist sites and folklore festivals in the Transylvanian area. I start from the premise that these types of campaigns are representative of a vast folklore entertainment industry and part of tourism marketing, reflecting a broad phenomenon in Romanian society and contributing to the perpetuation of an idealizing/mythologizing way of seeing and describing the rural world and the rural population. Following Regina Bendix s contribution on Authenticity, Folklore and Heritage (1997; 2018), I will examine the intertwining of Tourism, Festivals, Commodification and Narration, as another expression of rural modernity. The analysis is placed within a broader framework of transformations shaping the rural world, aiming to highlight the faces of rural modernity and the relationships between them.

        Speaker: Mr Cosma Simion Valer (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 9
        Enhancing Cultural Heritage: Local Cultural Festivals as Spaces of Inclusion

        This study aims to explore the ways in which local cultural festivals can be used to achieve social and cultural inclusion. For data collecting we conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with festivals organizers from Sibiu, Romania. Interviews took place between March 2023 and September 2023, were conducted in person, in Romanian, and were transcribed afterward.
        The results show that factors like the financial resources, the areas of living and the lack of education contribute to an unequal access to cultural heritage.Regard to access for people with disabilities, opinions are divided on the presence or absence of ramps in venues hosting cultural events. An interesting result is related to the presence of women in the public space: while some of the festival organizers believe that women are under-represented and although things are moving in a right direction, it will take time before we have gender equity in this field, others consider that belonging to a certain gender is not a relevant criterion. Many festival organizers believe that unlike other ethnic minorities, such as the Saxons and the Hungarians, the Roma minority is under-represented in festivals and other cultural events organized in Sibiu, and they indicate various reasons for this situation.

        Speaker: Raluca Muresan (Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu, România)
      • 10
        Promoting personal growth through hands-on training in safeguarding built cultural heritage

        Many heritage buildings in Romania are degrading over time. The Ambulance for Monuments (AfM) project intervenes to protect their further decay.
        A major challenge they encounter is the shortage of appropriately skilled labor, craftspeople proficient in using traditional materials and techniques. This is part of broader phenomena of declining interest in traditional crafts and increasing detachment of young generations from manual vocational skills. The AfM project collaborates with craftspeople and architecture experts to offer hands-on training in traditional conservation techniques to students, young professionals, and laypeople who volunteer in these interventions.
        We discuss ways to enhance interest in hands-on occupations among Romanian youth by exploring the connection between such career choices and long-term personal growth and well-being.
        We used a mixed-method research design. We collected data from volunteers who participated on-site in AfM interventions using surveys and from craftspersons using semi-structured interviews.
        Our preliminary results indicate that the volunteers are students, professionals, and laypeople, most of them with an interest in architecture. Regarding the motivation for participation, a vast majority indicate interest in cultural heritage, and about half mention personal development and growth as reasons for participating. They see the gains of this participation in both professional and personal development.

        Speakers: Oana Lup ("Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu), Veronica Vaida (Momentum Association), Stefan Cibian (Fagaras Research Institute)
      • 11
        Heritage Spaces and Local Engagement: The role of heritage buildings protection in strengthening communities

        A low level of trust, solidarity, and community values is well documented in post-totalitarian Romania. This low level of social capital affects many areas of public life, including protecting heritage buildings. Recognizing this, the Ambulance for Monuments (AfM) has engaged since 2016 in interventions to safeguard heritage buildings from collapse or decay. They use an intervention model to safeguard the monuments from destruction, raising awareness about their value and promoting communities’ heritage stewardship. Their interventions enlist various stakeholders, among them community members, who contribute by offering financial or in-kind support (e.g., meals, accommodation, tools, work on-site, etc.).
        In this presentation we discuss how these interventions contribute to strengthening communities.
        We used a mixed-method research design. We collected data in phone surveys and semi-structured interviews with members of the communities where the interventions took place, who volunteered by offering financial or in-kind support.
        The results suggest that once a well-organized intervention to safeguard local heritage takes place, a small number of local community members participate and contribute in various ways. Some continue to contribute to protecting cultural heritage once they learn how to do it. However, they feel mostly helpless regarding the prospects of continuing the restoration projects.

        Speakers: Stefan Cibian (Fagaras Research Institute), Oana Lup ("Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu), Edi Beserman (Research Institute of Făgăraș), Veronica Vaida (Momentum Association)
      • 12
        Letters of Recognition: The Institutionalization of Literature in the Romanian Street Nomenclature

        In Pierre Bourdieu and Axel Honneth’s terms, the literary realm is underpinned by a fierce “struggle for recognition” that structures the field in terms of unequal relations of power, cultural prestige, and public visibility. In line with this sociological perspective, literary success is not the direct result of the aesthetical merits of writings, but should be conceived as deriving from the broader nexus characterizing the structured relations of power within the field, the latter itself being embedded into larger intertwining socio-political, economic, and political contexts. Taking inspiration from Honneth’s term used to theorize the politics of recognition played out within the literary field, we advance the concept of “struggle for canonization” to understand the politics of posterity in the public memory regarding literary figures. Methodologically, we examine the statistical presence of literary figures in the Romanian street nomenclature at the national level, based on a complete collection of urban street names totalizing around 50,000 cases. Next, focusing on the sample of street names dedicated to writers (novelists, poets, and literary critics), we perform several types of statistical analyses that reveal the institutionalization of literature in the Romanian street networks in terms of gender, region, and ethnic identity.

        Speakers: Dr Mihai S. Rusu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Prof. Andrei Terian-Dan (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Dr Ștefan Baghiu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 13
        Promoting the Intangible Cultural Heritage Through a Student Journal – Revista de Antropologie Culturală (The Journal of Cultural Anthropology)

        Safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) also includes its promotion. The Journal of Cultural Anthropology (with an annual appearance) was founded in 2018 and its editorial board consists of second-year students from the specializations Conservation-Restoration, Heritage Study and History, Faculty of Socio-Human Sciences, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania. Each issue of the journal starts from scratch, as the editorial board changes every year. Making the journal involves teamwork, but also an exercise in writing scientific articles – most of those who publish in the journal are on their first article. During these six years since the journal appeared, students with disabilities have been encouraged to participate in the project. The purpose of our communication is to show how to promote ICH through a student journal: from student motivation and journal design, to promotion methods and its impact on the community. The result: a genuine project that continued without interruption even during the pandemic, that does not require the existence of a budget, that invites intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, contributes to the promotion of respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. Sensitizing people is a means to encourage them to recognize the value of ICH and keep it alive.

        Speaker: Maria SPAN (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 14
        The "NUMMI DIGITALI" Project for the Numismatic Collection of the Regional Archaeological Museum “A. Salinas” of Palermo

        “NUMMI DIGITALI is a PON “Research and Innovation” project 2014-2020, which aims to enhance the numismatic collection of the Archaeological Museum “Salinas” of Palermo, thanks to the interrelation between numismatic-archaeological methodologies and the IT approach.
        To this end, a digital database was created, in line with the standards and cataloging tools of the ICCD (Ministry of Culture) and with the methodological guidelines of the National Plan for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage (PND), to make the data interoperable and shareable, according to the LOD paradigm. The database has been connected to the web ( and is equipped with a front-end that guarantees accessibility to the external public and attractiveness thanks to high resolution images and 3D renderings with points of interest and references to hypertexts and/or multimedia.

        Speaker: Lavinia Sole (Researcher)
      • 15
        Non-invasive analysis for the conservation of the frescoes in the Monumental Complex of S. Maria della Grotta (TP, Italy)

        The current study presents the results of non-invasive diagnostic investigations conducted in situ on the medieval frescoes in the complex of St Mary of the Cave, Marsala (Trapani, Italy). The aim of the study was to assess the frescoes' state of conservation and execution technique. The state of conservation of the wall paintings is compromised due to the characteristics of the environmental conditions typical of an underground environment: high humidity levels, poor air circulation, extensive colonisation of biodeteriogens, presence of salt efflorescence and detachment of the constituent material. The research highlights significant results on the thermo-hygrometric conditions of the environments, the nature of the original pigments used and the pathologies of the frescoes, in particular the presence of salts and the color changes. In detail, N.8 frescoes in rooms 1, 2 and 3 of the complex were studied in situ by using the non-invasive techniques XRF and FORS and Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy to identify the pigments. A few microsamples were collected for the investigation of salts by XRD and of biodeteriogens for DNA analysis. These results made it possible to select ad hoc conservation strategies for the consolidation of the frescoes in order to halt the ongoing degradation processes.

        Speaker: Chiara Tuccio (Università degli studi di Palermo)
      • 16
        Unlocking the Past: Insights into Mediterranean Archaeological Metals Through Spectroscopy, Chemometrics and Artificial Intelligence

        The preservation and understanding of cultural heritage artifacts are of paramount importance for connecting with our historical and artistic past. The use of spectroscopic techniques, combined with chemometrics and artificial intelligence, offers a novel approach to analyzing the composition and structure of archaeological goods, shedding light on their conservation status, provenance, and historical context. The aim of this study was to apply advanced spectroscopic methods, alongside chemometric models and artificial intelligence algorithms, to investigate archaeological metal objects, aiming to uncover insights into their production, usage, and conservation needs.
        The study analyzed a series of archaeological metal artifacts through a comprehensive survey involving spectroscopic examinations. These examinations were designed to identify the composition and manifacture, using chemometric techniques and artificial intelligence for data interpretation and analysis.
        The approach of combining spectroscopic techniques with chemometric and artificial intelligence methodologies has proven effective in the study of archaeological metals from the Mediterranean basin such us the arrows from Mothia island. This multidisciplinary method infact aids in the conservation and restoration the arrows and on understanding of their provenience to Punic or Greek culture. The presentation will further elaborate on other case studies, demonstrating the practical application and outcomes of this research approach.

        Speaker: francesco armetta (Università degli Studi di Palermo, Dipartimento STEBICEF)
      • 17
        Characterisation of Lithic Tools for Provenance Study

        Lithic artefacts are important remains for comprehending the life of our Prehistoric ancestors. Indeed, reconstructing raw materials supply strategy is crucial in order to better understand socioecological dynamics, including mobility, territorial control and possible contacts. In the last years, analytical characterisation protocols have employed to identify the origin of lithic tools from archaeological contexts. This study shows the work carried out during the past few years on lithic materials from different areas of the Iberian Peninsula like Valencian Community and Cantabrian Mountains and the development of a multianalytical protocol based on both destructive and non-destructive approaches. The works pushed forward the characterisation of rocks from the two areas, permitting the identification of lithic materials from archaeological sites such as Cueva de la Cocina [1-2] and La Calvera rock-shelter [3]. The works carried out evidenced the effectiveness of rare earth elements as provenance markers. Furthermore, an innovative approach based on smartphone imaging colorimetry characterisation was tested for the first time.
        Acknowledgements. The authors acknowledge PALARQ Foundation Analysis project 19/20 and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for funding the project EvolMED (PID2021-127731NB-C21). Mirco Ramacciotti acknowledges the support of the Margarita Salas Fellowship (MS21-176) funded by the Ministry of Universities (Spain).

        Speaker: Mirco Ramacciotti (University of Valencia)
      • 18
        Safeguarding industrial heritage in Jiu Valley: the case of Petrila and Lonea mines

        The Jiu Valley region in Romania is known as the country former largest coal mining area, with 14 mines that we’re still active until 1997. After that year, many mines we’re closed and some demolished later on. But the mine of Petrila, which was programmed for demolition in 2016, was saved by local community actors efforts and was included in the National Register of Historic Monuments. Today, the mine is a place used for several social and cultural activities. Motivated by this success, the local community of Jiu valley intends in saving another mine, which is programmed to be closed in 2026 and then demolished, the Lonea mine. The aim of the presentation is two-fold. First, to show how the safeguarding activities of local communities in the city of Petrila, Romania managed to save the Petrila mine from demolition, as well as how they used this space further on. Second, how these communities act in order to save the Lonea mine from demolition.

        Speaker: Edi Beserman (Research Institute of Făgăraș)
    • Overpopulation and overconsumption triggering hunger, resource scarcity, migration, climate change, and the pollution of the atmosphere, the soil and the oceans
      • 19
        Emerging risks in food safety as a consequence of climate change

        Climate change (CG) poses significant challenges to global agriculture. Identifying emerging risks (EM) helps to improve organisms´ ability to meet future risk assessment challenges. Changes in temperature, humidity, rainfall patterns and the frequency of extreme weather events are already affecting farming practices, crop production and the nutritional quality of food crops [1]. CG could be a driver of EM for food and feed safety and drive the (re)emergence of new hazards, increase the exposure or the susceptibility to known hazards, and change the levels of micronutrients and macronutrients in food and feed items. Furthermore, it has been affecting to new tendency of feeding; including novel foods, just to get foods with high nutritional value.
        Here the strategies to identify potential EM (natural and chemical) in the food chain is presented. It will deal with mycotoxins and their incidence due to CG and the consumption of edible insects as the new food risk. CG and implementing a safety management system, a GMP and HACCP principles for their production process are important to ensure food safety in edible insects free of mycotoxins. Knowing GMP and HACCP and evaluating the presence of mycotoxins will allow to establish strategies for dismiss the exposure.

        Speaker: Ana Juan-García (University of Valencia)
      • 20
        Healthy ocean for healthy seafood: effect of environmental factors on fish welfare and quality, according to the “one health approach"

        Chemical contaminants are constantly found in the oceans and due to their environmental persistence, toxicity, bioaccumulation and biomagnification through the food chain, may have adverse effects on marine ecosystems and human health.
        The accumulation of contaminants affects not only fish, but also fish consumers. Fish and fishery products are main nutrition security components as a source of essential fatty acid, such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which play a critical role on health and function of marine organisms at all trophic levels. Therefore, it is important for the fishery value-chains to understand the mechanisms of contaminant’s bioaccumulation, biomagnification and the side effects of their transfer to humans, through the food chain. Since in fish chemical contaminants accumulate in different tissues and organs, it is critical to investigate the effects of bioaccumulation on chemical composition and quality of fish products to understand the effects of contaminants along the food web system, from sea to human according to the “one health” approach.

        Speaker: Simona Manuguerra (University of Palermo)
      • 21
        Empowering Sustainable Energy Transitions: A Comprehensive Strategy for Renewable Energy and Efficiency

        Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency is crucial for sustainable development. This study outlines a comprehensive strategy to enhance understanding and awareness of these concepts. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, including training sessions, technical workshops, guide creation, and a communication plan, the project aimed to empower citizens and stakeholders. Results include increased awareness, identification of challenges, stakeholder engagement, and dissemination of information. This initiative contributes to advancing sustainable energy practices.
        Acknowledgements. The project "Renewable energy and energy efficiency - for sustainable development in Sibiu county" is funded with the support of grants from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014 - 2021, within the framework of the "Romanian Energy Programme", with a value of 188,930 euro. The project runs from April 2023 to March 2024.

        Speaker: Mrs Mihaela Rotaru (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 22
        Predictors of adaptation to life abroad among Poles in selected European countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The aim of this work is to examine whether family relationships, temporal orientation and hierarchy of values can be a predictor of adaptation to the crisis caused by the migration of Poles to selected countries in Europe.
        In order to measure the level of family relationships, the Circular Model of Marriage and Family Systems by David H. Olson and his colleagues was used. The measurement of temporal orientation was taken from the theory of time perspective by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd (Time Perception Questionnaire). Among the respondents. In turn, the values were taken from Shalom Schwartz's Circular Value Model (Schwartz's Portrait Values Questionnaire PVQ-R). The theoretical construct of adaptation was taken from the Questionnaire Acculturation Orientation, Psychological Adaptation and Perceived Cultural Distance was created by Kali A. Demes and Nicolas Geeraert.
        The results do not explain all assumptions in the variables, but indicate that hierarchy of values, family relationships and temporal orientation are predictors of adaptation to the migration crisis. France and the Netherlands are countries where emigrating Poles feel better adapted. Among Poles living in England and Sweden, the level of adaptation is the lowest.

        Speaker: Magdalena Pysz (Opole University)
      • 23
        When less perceived discrimination leads to better quality of life: testing integration in the case Romanian immigrants in Greece

        Discrimination and well-being are attracting widespread interest in framework of the 2030 Agenda for SDGs, which targets to eradicate horizontal inequalities and biased attitudes. Even though at international level there are studies and models around perceived discrimination related-topics among ethnic groups (Rejection - Identification model of Branscombe et al.,1999, Rejection-Disidentification Model of Immigrant Integration of Jasinskaja-Lahti et al.,2009), there is still very little research about how people with migrants background living in Greece perceive and internalize discrimination. In such context, the present paper aims to test the Rejection-Identification Model of Branscombe, et al.(1999) among first-generation Romanians living in Greece.
        For the present study, a total of 198 Romanian immigrants living in the Hellenic metropolitan area filled-in an adapted version of the instrument proposed by Bourguignon et al.(2006), designed to measure perceptions of personal and group discrimination. Also, subjective well-being scale of Diener et al. (1985) and The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-MEIM, Phinney (1992) were applied. The main results confirm the good psychometric proprieties of the proposed scales. The main findings are strengthened by selective integration-related excerpts, as revealed in narratives provided by highly-skilled Romanian immigrants in Greeby (Costachescu, Stefenel, Chesnel, Gisberts, Grommen, 2021).

        Speaker: Delia Stefenel (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania)
      • 24
        “I’m not a careerist!” Family and profession in the narratives of Moldovan doctors working in Romania

        Romania is universally considered an emigration country, and especially one from which medical professionals choose to emigrate, usually in Western Europe or North America. On the other hand, various themes related to the healthcare system are common in the public discourse, focused on systemic issues and problematic patients’ experiences. This proposal is constructed on an exploration of the other, less visible and far less developed, side of reality: Romania as a destination country for doctors and nurses. It is based on 10 biographical interviews conducted with healthcare professionals who immigrated in Romania from the Republic of Moldova. This type of interview enabled us to capture the meaning of migration as lived experience integrated in the broader life histories of participants, whose narratives are analyzed, with a focus on the (narrative) resources used by individuals in order make sense of their migration decision and experience. Our findings suggest that Romania holds a special status as destination country for potential emigrants from the Republic of Moldova due to several aspects, such as historical relations and geographical proximity. Moreover, Romania is seen as a gateway to Europe or, more precisely, an option for reconciling family attachment and struggles for professional development and recognition.

        Speaker: Dr Alexandra Deliu (Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy)
    • Physical and mental health in complex times of crisis, and economic and political instability
      • 25
        Constructive vs. destructive ways of coping with stress in times of global health crisis – an interactive approach

        The last few years have seen the occurrence of a major global health crisis, mainly due to the multifaceted consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the realm of physical and mental health. This has left most people confused and unprepared to cope with the stressful unpredictability of their life and future events. Systematic psychological reviews and meta-analyses of current studies show that the global health crisis, besides having economic (e.g., lockdown, loss of work) and social consequences (e.g., quarantine, social distancing, isolation, loneliness), has had detrimental ramifications on mental health. The current paper will examine constructive vs. destructive ways of coping with stress and its consequences to health behaviors. An interaction paradigm will be used, within which the relationships among the perceptive factors (e.g. threat appraisal, fear of potential danger), personal resources (e.g. resilience, meaning in life) and coping strategies will be examined in terms of their consequences for health behavior. The identification of pathways (coping strategies and comprehension of challenging life events) through which global health crisis affects mental health outcomes may contribute to understanding further the indirect relationships between disease-related factors and health behaviors.

        Speaker: Prof. Dariusz Krok (University of Opole)
      • 26
        Does psychological capital, gratitude and emotion regulation impact teachers' intrinsic motivation? Implication for teacher training.

        Intrinsic motivation is a key factor impacting performance in teaching and teachers well-being. Investigating the psychological resources and factors that may promote intrinsic motivation, can help develop meaningful interventions and training for educators. The study aims to analyse the relationship between psychological capital resources (hope, optimism, resilience, self-efficacy), emotion regulation, gratitude and intrinsic regulation on a sample of 1365 Romanian teachers. More, we examined the differences among teachers in terms of teaching experience ,organizational level, educational cycle on the variables mentioned above.The regression analysis model showed that psychological capital resources (hope, self-efficacy, resilience), gratitude and emotion regulation predicted 24,5% (r2=.24.4) of the intrinsic motivation for teaching. ANOVA tests revealed significant differences among teachers regarding psychological capital, gratitude and motivation, especially related to their teaching experience and educational cycle. Theoretical and practical implications for building effective teacher training programs are discussed.

        Key-words: teachers, psychological capital, gratitude, emotion regulation, intrinsic motivation

        Speaker: Daniela Dumulescu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 27
        The importance of personality resources in teachers’ work during times of social-economic crisis: a mediational perspective

        Compassion plays a crucial role in fostering positive relationships between teachers and children. The issue analysed in the study is significant, because in times of social-economic crisis, personal resources appear to play a significant role in maintaining inner harmony and a compassionate attitude towards others among teachers. The aim of the current study was to understand the nature of relationships between the Light Triad, as an internal resource, and compassion for others within a mediational context of inner harmony among teachers work during times of social-economic crisis. The study was conducted on a group of 261 teachers working in primary schools, secondary schools, preschools and universities. The measures consisted of the Light Triad Scale, the Compassion Scale for Others, and the Inner Harmony Scale. The most significant finding revealed that inner harmony mediated the relationship between all the dimensions of the Light Triad with compassion for others. The research also demonstrated direct associations between the dimensions of the Light Triad with compassion for others and inner harmony. The study indicated that compassion for others is a crucial attribute, particularly in the role of a teacher, which justifies the need for further development of research and concepts within this research group.

        Speakers: Dariusz Krok (University of Opole), Justyna Tkaczyk (Uniwersytet Opolski)
      • 28
        The association between fear of pandemic COVID-19 and achievement motivation in university students. The mediating role of stress coping.

        Background. The analyzed topic holds importance because it indicates the relationship between students' motivation and the anxiety experienced in connection to isolation and the risk of illness occurring during the pandemic.

        Aim. The main aim of the study was to check the role of coping with stress in the relationship between pandemic anxiety and achievement motivation in a group of polish students.

        Methods. The survey was conducted online on a group of Polish students (N = 140) living in various voivodeships. In the study, pandemic anxiety was measured using the Kwestionariusz Postaw Koronowirusa (KPK), preferred methods of stress reduction and achievement motivation were measured using the polish adaptations of Proactive Coping Inventory (PCI) and the Achievement Goal Questionnaire - Revisited (AGQ-R).

        Results. In the study two models of mediated mediation and six models of cooperative suppression were confirmed.

        Conclusion. The study showed that there are connections between stress coping styles and students' motivation. At first glance, fear of the pandemic was not strongly related to the variables. Only more advanced analyzes showed its significance. This relationship may have resulted from the period of collecting responses, when vaccines were already partially available to students.

        Speaker: Radosław Boczoń (University of Opole)
      • 29
        Risky working environment and the factors supporting mental health

        The level of anxiety, stress and burnout of employees translates into their psychophysical functioning and it depend on situation. Soldiers who perform parachute jumps as part of their duties experience increased levels of arousal before and during the jump, making them particularly vulnerable to specific psychophysical and emotional reactions, including anxiety. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of arousal resulting from parachute jumping on the level of anxiety and performance of cognitive tasks concerning attention and cognitive flexibility. A total of 77 professional soldiers employed in positions involving parachute jumping, aged 21-45, participated in the study. The research was conducted under three experimental conditions: before and after parachute jumps and in a control condition – during a day without jumping. Participants completed tests and tasks measuring mood, attention, divergent thinking, and anxiety. Contrary to theoretical premises and hypotheses, the results did not show changes in cognitive flexibility or attention performance as a result of arousal induced by parachute jumping. However, the results suggest that jumping experience (a greater number of jumps performed so far) reduces the level of anxiety associated with jumping.

        Speaker: Aleksandra Różańska (Uniwersytet Opolski)
      • 30
        Mental health of children and youth in Poland

        The mental well-being of children and adolescents stands as a pivotal marker of their overall condition. In the Polish context, the typical challenges of adolescence have been exacerbated by additional factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic-induced transition to remote learning and the conflict in Ukraine. Over recent years, statistics concerning the mental state of young individuals in Poland have increasingly portrayed alarming trends.

        The objective of this presentation is to delineate the mental health status of children and adolescents, encompassing both negative and positive influences.

        This analysis draws upon available studies and reports pertaining to the mental health of children and adolescents in Poland and across Europe. Data from the past six years were scrutinized in this review.

        The literature review has yielded concrete indicators of the mental health status of children and adolescents, alongside more nuanced, subjective markers. Additionally, this presentation will delve into factors that bolster mental well-being as well as those that undermine it. Such insights lay the groundwork for understanding and deliberating upon the concerning decline in adolescent health within Poland.

        The data presented herein was collated in collaboration with the "Instytut Rozwoju i Profilaktyki."

        Speakers: Dr Ewa Kiełek-Rataj (University of Opole), Dr Przemysław Zdybek (University of Opole)
      • 31
        Personality and situational predictors of helping war refugees from Ukraine.

        Background. The war in Ukraine caused a big wave of migrants, searching for a safe space. Poles responded with help initiatives, which started to decrease with time.
        Aim. The aim of the study was to assess the personality and situational factors which determined the continuous help towards Ukrainian migrants.
        Methods. The research was conducted on a sample of 720 people in the first measurement in March 2022, and then 127 people completed the questionnaire again in June 2022. In the context of personality factors, five basic personality traits were measured, the degree of altruism and sense of control, as well as state anxiety. The main situational factors included the sense of threat of armed conflict, the level of anxiety as a state and the intensity of following social media. Additionally, the level of social distance towards Russians and Ukrainians on the Bogardus scale was included in the model, and basic demographic data was collected.
        Results. The regression analyses show that both personality and situational factors play a significant role in predicting the level of involvement in helping refugees.
        Conclusion. Although personality remains an important predictor of helping behaviour, some situational contextsts may signifficanly change it’s impact.
        Acknowledgements. No external financing

        Speaker: Radoslaw Walczak (Uniwersity of Opole)
      • 32
        Health and Safety in Sheep Farming in Romania: The Multi-Actor Perspective of SafeHabitus

        Within the European context, agricultural work stands out as one of the occupations with the highest rates of risks to workers' safety and significant associated health issues. Without exhaustively listing all the issues in Romania, we can consider the underdeveloped rural medical infrastructure, the use of outdated machinery on farms, a substantial amount of manual labor, inadequate training on safety and health matters for many workers in the field, and the insufficient inclusion of certain groups in the health insurance system.
        Given the diversity of agricultural work, SafeHabitus in Romania focuses on addressing health and safety issues within the sheep farming sector. The research is grounded in qualitative methods specific to social research and incorporates data collected through focus groups and semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders in sheep farming. The analyzed data highlights the significance of the subject and the existence of multiple perspectives on the existent issues. Starting from our qualitative data, it is possible to compile a list of the main challenges and risks in this field and to illustrate how various stakeholder groups discuss health and safety in sheep farming, shedding light on the specific concerns and perspectives within the industry.

        Speaker: Alin Croitoru (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 33
        Chronic illness and work (re)integration: stakeholders’ perspectives in Romania

        Background. In the current demographic and social context, many people have longer working lives and are more likely to fall ill during them. However, a considerable proportion of people with chronic conditions choose to return to work after a period of temporary incapacity for work. The work reintegration process is complex and challenging and involves many stakeholders.
        Aim. This presentation is part of an extensive study focused on the obstacles to the return to work of people with chronic conditions, potential enablers and collaboration between stakeholders involved in this process in Romania.
        Methods. The study used desk analysis for understanding the policy context and a mixed methodology to collect data from four categories of social actors: online survey (n=325 workers) and interviews (22 with employers, 15 with health professionals and 11 with officials of non-governmental organizations).
        Results. The paper presents both quantitative and qualitative results on barriers and facilitators of returning to work in the case of people diagnosed with chronic disease in Romania.
        Conclusions. The study shows that the employer and health professionals have a critical role in assuring a good adjusting to work for people in this situation. Workplace adjustments are essential to facilitate return to work.

        Speaker: Adela Popa (Lucian Blaga UNiversity of Sibiu)
    • The chemistry of the Green Deal
      • 34
        European Green Deal: Putting an end to wasteful packaging: Hopes and fates

        The European Green Deal prioritizes enhancing people's wellbeing by striving for climate neutrality and safeguarding the environment, which benefits citizens, the planet, and the economy. Packaging plays a crucial role within the Green Deal, particularly concerning food production, preservation, and addressing plastic-related challenges tied to five of its 11 priorities: pollution elimination, global green transition, sustainable agriculture, food waste reduction, and nature conservation. Studies show that increased packaging correlates with reduced food waste and enhanced consumer safety, albeit at the expense of increased packaging waste and pollution.

        While materials like glass, wood, fiber, paper, metal, and ceramics are well-managed and have low biodiversity impact, the focus of the Green Deal is predominantly on plastics, which dominate food packaging and contribute significantly to ocean pollution. The Green Deal's strategy for plastics and packaging centers on achieving "zero waste" and revising regulations by the end of 2024. Various strategies have been proposed, ranging from the traditional 3R's (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) to more comprehensive approaches like the 6R's, which include replacing plastics with bioplastics and promoting process innovation. The presentation will illustrate current challenges, outline proposed solutions, and highlight hopes for the future of sustainable packaging practices.

        Speaker: Frederic Debeaufort (University of Burgundy - Joint Unit PAM (Food Processing and Microbiology))
      • 35
        Bio-based polymers and Innovative Green Processes

        For environmental, economic and societal reasons, the replacement of fossil resources (oil, gas, coal) is nowadays a crucial necessity and a real challenge for the 21st century. In this quest, the use of biomass resources can be considered as an alternative route, in line with a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. Thus, biomass can provide a wide variety of biobased molecules that can lead to compounds with higher added value. This is also true for the development and study of new biobased polymers. Several projects in the fields of catalysis, green chemistry, bio-based polymers are carried out at ICMUB in this context. Aluminum and zinc complexes with four generation of phenoxy-amidine ligands were developed. Their structures were determined in solution and in solid state and showed that they can act as bidentate, tridentate or tetradentate ligands. Aluminum and zinc complexes displayed good activities in ROP of lactide even at room temperature.

        Speaker: Raluca MALACEA-KABBARA (ICMUB, Université de Bourgogne)
      • 36
        Investigating ancient Islamic gold coins through non-invasive techniques: elemental analysis and smartphone colorimetry

        In this presentation, the non-invasive analytical investigation of ancient Islamic gold coins is presented. A two-fold methodology was deployed: first, portable X-ray fluorescence was used in order to analyse the elemental profile. Second, a smartphone-based procedure was developed and validated to obtain the CIELAB descriptors of the samples.

        Based on the elemental profile, a stable content of gold was found around 90 % (w/w), followed by lower levels of siler. Also, some remarks about the origin of the coins are presented based on the elemental composition. Addressing the elemental description, the smartphone-based method was designed in order to tackle the main challenges associated to these cultural heritage artifacts, like glare. Upon comparison with a reference device, the proposed smartphone method allowed to obtain a objective description of the CIELAB descriptors of the ancient coins.

        Overall, this presentation presents an approach to investigate valued historical samples from a non-destructive perspective. The combination of robust techniques like X-ray fluorescence coupled to new advances based on smartphones allows one to characterise these samples from a wider and more complete perspective. These results prove the potential that new technologies present in the field of analytical applications to the Cultural Heritage field.

        Speaker: Roberto Sáez-Hernández (University of Valencia)
      • 37
        Corona process preserves the bio active properties of biobased packaging films

        The Corana process is a technique based on non-thermal plasma. This low-energy technology is well known in industry for surface functionalisation and is gaining interest in the agro-food sector as a multi-tool for packaging: surface disinfection without harmful chemicals, support for printing processes, increase of adhesion of coatings. In this work, the corona process is studied along a bio-based film designed with bioactive properties using natural phenolic acids. The aim of this work is to understand if corona process is a suitable technology along bioactive food packaging. After plasma treatment of the still wet hydrogels, the functional properties relevant for food packaging (barrier properties against light and gases, antioxidant efficiency of the films, ...) were checked. No significant changes in the polymer matrix were found by applying the corona process onto the films. The bio-based packaging films were not degraded by the plasma. Similarly, the antioxidant properties were not affected when the gels were used as a coating for PLA. Therefore, the corona process can be used alongside bioactive bio-based packaging without affecting the functional properties of the system, allowing it to be used in a production line.

        Speaker: Clément Poulain (Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Institut Agro, Université Bourgogne, INRAE, UMR PAM 1517, 21000 Dijon, France)
    • The role of life sciences in an increasingly aging society
      • 38
        An Exploration of Virtual Reality to Induce the Proteus Effect with the Goal of Reducing the Fear of Falling in Aging Subjects

        This study explored the sense of embodiment in aging subjects using virtual reality (VR). This step is necessary before attempting to exploit VR to reduce the fear of falling through embodiment. We compared the sense of embodiment of aging and young subjects using avatars that were created with 3D cameras. The subjects conducted synchronized movements with the avatars. The sense of embodiment was then evaluated using previously published questionnaires. While significant differences between the two populations were found on the question of capacity to detection physical contact during the VR session, no significant differences were found in response to explicit questions of body ownership.

        Speaker: Elizabeth Thomas (Université de Bourgogne)
      • 39
        Chitosan hydrogel based on silver nanoparticles-nanocomposites for tissue engineering applications

        Silver nanoparticles are metallic particles with versatile properties and applications. Nowadays, the need of alternative methods for infections, such as hydrogels dressings, is imperative since drugs or antibiotics are not accessible for every patient. Therefore, hydrogels based on natural polymers, such as chitosan and silver nanoparticles are evolving due to their high biocompatibility and their easy production as solutions in tissue engineering.
        The aim of the current research was to develop an affordable medical biomaterial for antibacterial applications due to the high percentage of deaths reported in last years caused by bacterial infections.
        Therefore the hydrogel proposed was chemically synthesized in the laboratory using a matrix based on 3% chitosan in which silver nanoparticle nanocomposites were integrated. The nanocomposites were characterized for structural and dimensional analysis using techniques such as UV-VIS spectroscopy or DLS and once their nanometric dimensions were confirmed, they were integrated in the hydrogel matrix. The microscopy performed proved the integration of particles in gel’s layers, therefore the hydrogel can be considered a potential alternative method for antibacterial purposes since it is an affordable and comfortable medical device.

        Speaker: Dr Alexandra Nicolae-Maranciuc (Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies and Research (ISCI), Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania. Research Center for Complex Physical Systems, Faculty of Sciences, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania)
      • 40
        The Dark Triad, coping strategies and quality of life among cardiac patients

        Quality of life among cardiac patients is complex construct. It may be affected by many factors, such as coping strategies. Using effective coping strategies is linked with higher level of the quality of life. The Dark Triad is construct that includes psychopathy, machiavellism and narcissism and can also have influence on the quality of life. In current study, researcher tried to answer a question, does coping strategies and the Dark Traid have impact on quality of life among cardiac patients? results shows that there are significant relations between these factors.

        Speaker: Maria Latusek-Mierzwa
      • 41
        Effects of old and very old age on neuromuscular fatigue during isometric, concentric and cycling fatiguing tasks in men and women

        The impact of aging on performance fatigability, particularly in isometric, dynamic, and cycling tasks with absolute workloads, was investigated. Participants included 26 young, 27 old, and 23 very old adults. The study utilized isometric and dynamic quadriceps intermittent fatigue tests, along with cycling tests, adjusting workloads based on body weight increments.

        Results indicated performance decline across age groups in all conditions. In men, maximal force decreased earlier in cycling for older adults compared to the young but not in isometric and dynamic tasks. However, young adults showed greater fatigability than very old adults in isometric tasks. For women, older age groups exhibited earlier maximal force decline in cycling and concentric tasks compared to the young. However, fatigability at exhaustion was similar across ages and tasks for women.

        Overall, young adults outperformed older counterparts regardless of task when adjusting for body weight. Fatigability onset varied across tasks and age groups, emphasizing the need to assess fatigability not only at exhaustion but also at sub-maximal levels closer to daily activities' intensity. These findings underscore the importance of considering age-related changes in fatigability for designing effective interventions targeting functional decline.

        Speaker: Vianney Rozand (Inserm U1093 CAPS, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France)
      • 42
        Addressing Neurodegenerative Disease: Nanozymes Showcasing Exceptional Antioxidant Performance

        According to the World Alzheimer Report, more than 46.8 million people were globally living with dementia in 2015, which costed the health care services up to $818 billion. Current trend indicates these numbers will double every 20 years, becoming a global health concern. Life sciences will be crucial for addressing this issue in an increasingly aging society.
        The malfunction of the nervous system associated with several neurodegenerative disorders has been linked to the misregulation of free metal ions and oxidative stress. For example, in Alzheimer's disease, accumulation of copper and iron in beta-amyloid plaques is thought to be responsible for an increased oxidative damage in certain areas of the brain. Ongoing research is focused on the sequestration of these transition metals to avoid their participation in the formation of the protein aggregates, as well as on the reversion of their toxic oxidative activity to antioxidant activity.
        A family of nanozymes capable of sequestering copper and iron has been synthesized and characterized. Solution studies and activity assays indicate that they can coordinate these metals at physiological pH, resulting in the formation of complexes able to mimic superoxide dismutase and catalase/peroxidase enzymes with remarkable performance.

        Speaker: Pablo Navarro Madramany (Universidad de Valencia)
      • 43
        Eat healthy and fight against detrimental effects of mycotoxins

        Mycotoxins toxicity from low but continuous exposure through diet might be prevented through the intake of functional ingredients. Fermented whey (FW) with lactic acid bacteria is obtained from goat milk and rich in organic and phenolic acids. This study in vivo aims to confirm the possible beneficial effect of these two functional ingredients against mycotoxins. A subchronic study was performed using Wistar rats exposed for 28 days. After baking, AFB1 ranged from 4.31±0.16 to 4.92±0.29 mg/kg and OTA, from 6.03±0.39 to 8.27±0.07 mg/kg. Duodenum from male rats was analysed by qPCR. AFB1 contaminated feed caused an upregulation of p53 and Bax proapoptotic genes in the duodenum. Inclusion of FW as a functional ingredient slightly reduced gene expression but upregulated NF-κB. OTA exposure significantly upregulated antiapoptotic gene NF-κB. Proapoptotic gene Bax and antioxidant defense enzyme Hmox1 were moderately upregulated. FW soothes the effect on the three genes and upregulates p53. Simultaneous exposure to AFB1 and OTA led to under expression of Bax, counteracted by the addition of FW to feed, which also led to upregulation of NF-κB. All these results suggest a protection against mycotoxin effects by lyophilised FW included in feed at duodenum level in the gastrointestinal tract.

        Speaker: Lara Manyes (Universitat de València)
    • Poster session

      !!! Please, excuse us for being late to send you the link to the Poster Session space - this is due to some technical issues. The team is on it and we anticipate to have the issues solved by time the Poster session is due. You will receive an email with further updates on how to participate in this interactive session.

    • Digitization and artificial intelligence as key drivers for education and science in the future: Digitization and artificial intelligence as key drivers for science in the future?
      • 44
        Education in the age of AI

        Key contribution by Lenka Axlerova, Education lead in Central Europe at Microsoft
        Presentation by Lenka Axlerová will demonstrate how AI can enhance education and what skills are needed for the AI era. It will also provide examples of AI in education and a call to action to start the AI learning journey.

        Speaker: Lenka Axlerova (Head of Education Industry department for Central Europe, Microsoft)
      • 45
        Narrative patterns in the coverage of AI technologies in contemporary online science journalism

        This study explores the range of discursive patterns used to present artificial intelligence as a revolutionary but controversial technology in online science journalism. It uses a triangulated dataset of over a hundred recent mini-narratives sourced from New Scientist, Nature daily briefings, and Scientific American to identify the salient thematic scopes and narrative trajectories. The data-guided qualitative analysis uses the categories of agency, sentiment, point of view, and news value to reconstruct each outlet’s specific contribution to the evolving sociotechnical imaginary of AI technologies. While acknowledging some limitations and risks of AI technologies, science journalism celebrates revolutionary advancements produced through embracing AI for science. Yet, online science communicators do so in a strategic way to keep up the interest, often by projecting diverse storylines with oscillating sentiments, meshing fact with evaluation, and priming users to accept the inevitable uses of algorithms as increasingly independent research-performing agents.

        Speakers: Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska (University of Opole), Robert Radziej (University of Opole)
      • 46
        A Moodle-based learning situation focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals for pre-service teachers

        Students pursuing Teaching Degrees must become acquainted with the SDGs, as they will play a key role in imparting the values of sustainability to upcoming generations.
        This presentation describes a learning situation focusing on the SDGs for the course English as a foreign language for teachers. This is a compulsory course in the first year of the degree in Primary School Education at the University of Valencia.
        The main aims of the learning situation are to become familiar with the SDGs, to reflect on the relative importance of each SDG, to reflect on the role of teachers in achieving the SDGs, to improve students' level of communicative competence in English and to encourage pre-service to design activities that incorporate one or several SDGs. The unit of instruction is Moodle-based and includes several interactive multimedia activities (H5P) to make the learning situation more engaging and appealing to students. The learning situation is an updated version of Casañ-Núñez (2021).

        Speaker: Juan Carlos Casañ Núñez (Universitat de València)
      • 47
        AI in School: The Influence of Automatic Text Generation and Machine Translation on Language Comprehension and Translation Performance

        The integration of AI, particularly ChatGPT, into the classroom raises significant implications for language learning and translation processes. This study investigates how pupils utilize conventional translation tools alongside new technologies like ChatGPT in foreign language classes, an area largely unexplored in translation process research. The aim was to assess the efficiency and impact of these tools on reading comprehension, language processing, and translation quality among 13 pupils at Rudi-Stephan-Gymnasium Worms, a ForThem partner school. Using inputlog, we observed that while ChatGPT facilitated quicker task completion and fewer translation errors, it also led to more extraneous information in reading comprehension tasks. Terminology remained a challenge across conditions. Importantly, the study emphasizes that tools alone do not compensate for language skills; rather, proficiency is essential for evaluating tool output and making informed decisions. These findings highlight the need for a nuanced approach to integrating AI in educational settings, recognizing both its benefits and limitations in enhancing language learning and translation processes.

        Speakers: Athanasios Breskas (Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz), Prof. Silvia Hansen-Schirra (Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz)
      • 48
        Use of artificial intelligence among Master’s in Teaching students: an exploratory study

        Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a range of opportunities for learning and teaching. On the other hand, the use of AI also raises concerns related to ethical considerations, data privacy, accuracy, etc. MA in education students can provide critical insights into the use of AI in Education. Moreover, it is essential to know their opinion because they will teach future generations. This presentation reports the preliminary results of an exploratory study on how MA in education students use AI tools, how they think AI could be used in second/foreign language teaching, and how it affects the assessment. The participants were 31 students enrolled in the Master's in Secondary Education Teacher Training (Speciality of Foreign Language: English). Data collection involved a questionnaire with closed-ended and open-ended questions. Data was collected in October 2023 and qualitative data has yet to be thoroughly analyzed. A preliminary analysis suggests that participants do not often use AI-driven tools in their daily lives nor to complete university assignments, that the most popular tools are ChatGPT and Grammarly, and that they are undecided regarding the potential of AI to enhance second/foreign language education.

        Speakers: Catalina Millán-Scheiding (Berklee College of Music), Elia Saneleuterio (Universitat de València), Juan Carlos Casañ Núñez (Universitat de València), María Alcantud-Diaz (University of Valencia)
      • 3:45 PM
      • 49
        The Influence of Artificial Intelligence on Academic Research and University Curriculum Design and Content

        Background. The influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on academic research and university curriculum design and content is a topic of growing interest and importance in academia.
        Aim. This study aims to explore the intersection of AI and academia, using both bibliometric and bibliographic data from Scopus and Web of Science, as well as visualization tools such as VOSviewer.
        Methods. The research methodology consists of two searches within each database, resulting in keyword co-occurrences and network visualization maps that reveal the prevailing trends and focal points in AI academia.
        Results. The findings demonstrate the increasing integration of AI in academic research and curriculum design, as well as the key areas of focus and potential future directions.
        Conclusion. The paper concludes with recommendations for further research and emphasizes the need for continuous exploration of AI’s impact on academia to prepare students for the AI-driven future.
        [1]. Shao,Z.;Yuan,S.;Wang,Y.;Xu,J.Evolutions and Trends of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Research, Output, Influence and Competition. doi:10.1108/LHT-01-2021-0018.
        [2]. Roser,M.;The Brief History of Artificial Intelligence: The World Has Changed Fast–What Might Be Next?Our World in Data 2024.
        [3]. Sheikh,H.;Prins,C.;Schrijvers,E.;Artificial Intelligence: Definition and Background. In Mission AI:The New System Technology; Sheikh,H.,Prins,C.,Schrijvers,E., Eds.; Research for Policy; Cham, 2023; pp. 15–41

        Speakers: Valentin Grecu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Dr Radu-Emanuil Petruse (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 50
        Navigating the AI Landscape: Comprehensive Applications in Drug Development and Pharmaceutical Dosage Formulation

        This study explores the transformative role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in drug development and pharmaceutical dosage form development amidst healthcare challenges posed by pandemics and regional conflicts. Through an extensive review of approximately 20,800 studies, we highlight AI's growing influence across drug development phases, from discovery leveraging machine learning and neural networks, to formulation using predictive modeling. Notably, AI's application in drug discovery promotes efficiency and aligns with green chemistry principles, as evidenced by the collaboration of MIT with 13 firms in the Machine Learning for Pharmaceutical Discovery and Synthesis Consortium. We also discuss an innovative NLP method that efficiently identifies potential drug repurposing candidates by transforming scientific texts into structured drug-disease pairs. Additionally, a session on "Modeling and Artificial Intelligence Approaches" revealed advances in IVIVC predictability using symbolic regression and genetic programming, though its complexity limits current practical application. Our findings underscore AI's capacity to significantly improve drug development's efficiency and sustainability, marking a critical shift towards more advanced pharmaceutical processes, despite challenges related to data quality and model validation.

        Speaker: Dmytro Soldatov (National University of Pharmacy)
      • 51
        How deep are wage gaps in Spanish tourism sector? A tale of low productivity, inequities, and poor salaries.

        This study investigates wage disparities in Spain's economy, analyzing elements such as gender, age, education, and digital skills across different productive sectors. Tourism, due to its significance in the Spanish context, becomes the focus of this study. Employing post-COVID-19 data, this research confirms previous works indicating low productivity, inequalities, and low wages experienced in tourism. However, as tourism is methodologically presented in a decomposed manner into subsectors, our results serve to complement and expand the knowledge to date. The study highlights the need for policies that promote wage equality and a new industrialization of the Spanish productive fabric to allow workers to raise their salary expectations.

        Speaker: Aimée Torres Penalva (UNIVERSIDAD DE ALICANTE)
      • 52
        Urban Reconstruction of Buildings and Enviroment

        Inside the Virtual Archaeology Lab at the University of Palermo, an ambitious plan has been developed to create a methodology for reconstructing ancient cities, called Urban Reconstruction of Buildings and Environment (URBE). This protocol, based on the principles of Virtual Archaeology and utilizing cutting-edge technology, aims at the restoration and virtual three-dimensional reconstruction of monumental complexes. The project based on the reserch of Professor Elisa Chiara Portale and Professor Massimo Limoncelli benefits from collaboration among archaeologists, architects, and restorers from various departments and institutes, each contributing scientific data necessary for constructing the models and compiling virtual restoration hypotheses. The project's goal is to study the urban topography and organization of ancient cities, ultimately restoring their images within a game engine environment. This is achieved through the analysis and reconstruction of individual monuments across different time periods. The resulting platform serves as a new tool for both communicating and disseminating archaeological findings, as well as for research purposes, facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration within a virtual enviroment.

        Speaker: Marco Cangemi (Università degli studi di Palermo)
      • 53
        Analyzing the economic footprint of e-commerce on real GDP growth

        The development of the global economy is one of the most important factors in an always-changing digital environment. More online sales, with backing of businesses' digital transformation, will surely have a big implication on the macroeconomic health of nations, especially in growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This implies that the dynamic is supposed to be understood to craft good economic policies and business strategies in the digital age.

    • The Social Sciences and Humanities – Creative research ideas and their potential societal impact
      • 54
        Existential meaning and subjective well-being in pregnant women: the parallel mediation of social support

        The aim of the study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between existential meaning and subjective well-being of pregnant women, considering the mediatory role of social support towards existential meaning and subjective well-being.
        266 pregnant women completed measures of existential meaning (MEMS), social support (BSSS), and subjective well-being (SWLS, PANAS-X). Results revealed that existential meaning correlated positively – with perceived available support and actually received support, and negatively – with protective buffering support. Existential meanings were also positively associated with life satisfaction and positive affect, and negatively associated with negative affect. Perceived available support, support seeking, and actually received support were positively correlated, while protective buffering support was negatively correlated with life satisfaction and positive affect. Through the mediation analyses, it can be concluded that the perceived available support, actually received support, and protective buffering support were parallel mediators between existential meaning and the cognitive and affective dimensions of subjective well-being.
        These findings have important practical implications regarding the planning of health care programs for pregnant women: specifically, people from their close environment and medical professionals should attitudes present supporting pregnant women, not only for the prevention of risk but also for promoting health as a subjective well-being.

        Speakers: Dr Anna Machnik-Czerwik (University of Opole), Prof. Dariusz Krok (University of Opole)
      • 55
        The Literary or Screen Character: Projections of the Self in the Patterns of Verbal Communication

        This article, (part of the thesis titled “Eros și Thanatos - paradigme ale devenirii feminității în romanul românesc interbelic”), highlights the important role of verbal communication, illustrated by the dialogue of the literary and/or screen character. On the one hand the dialogue is the way of transmitting thoughts and feelings, on the other hand it represents a mean of directly influencing the discussion partner.
        Such persuasive messages, contained in interpersonal communication, are offered as examples in the dialogue of the literary characters in the following works, subject to analysis: Adela (Garabet Ibrăileanu), Ciuleandra (L.Rebreanu) and Ultima noapte de dragoste, întâia noapte de război (C. Petrescu).
        Through the dialogue, the presented characters reveal their thoughts and feelings, demonstrating their professional training, their point of view about the world and life, their desire to understand others and to be understood.
        Also as an applicative part, I have selected two models of interpersonal communication
        Shramm's model and the Meyer-Eppler model -which present the connection between the encoding of the message, its decoding and the feedback.

      • 56
        Beyond Roads and Clinics: Exploring Health-Seeking Behavior and a Holistic Approach to Enhanced Healthcare Access in Majhgaon's Indigenous Community

        This paper explores health-seeking behavior and healthcare access within Majhgaon's Indigenous Community, situated in the Gumla district of Jharkhand, India. Despite global progress in public health, resource-constrained environments pose persistent challenges, especially concerning human behavior toward healthcare. This study investigates the factors influencing HSB, with a particular focus on decision-making processes and barriers to healthcare access. The study adopts a holistic framework, considering social, economic, and geographical determinants of health behavior. Through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, data were collected and analyzed using a conceptual model based on the "three delays" theory. Findings reveal multifaceted challenges, including inadequate healthcare infrastructure, geographical remoteness, socio-economic constraints, and cultural beliefs, significantly affecting HSB. Notably, the provision of adequate care emerged as a critical bottleneck, exacerbated by non-functional healthcare facilities and resource shortages. The study underscores the need for community-centric interventions, integrating local stakeholders such as ASHAs, ANMs, and traditional healers. Additionally, it calls for policy reforms tailored to local contexts, moving beyond a standardized approach to healthcare delivery. While offering valuable insights into healthcare disparities among indigenous populations, Ultimately, the study contributes to the discourse on equitable healthcare access and underscores the importance of contextually relevant interventions in addressing healthcare disparities.

        Speaker: ANKIT JHA (Translational health sciecne and technology institute, India)
      • 57
        The European press coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda: content volume and analysis of key themes

        This study delves into the media coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda across the five most populous European countries: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Despite a recognized global imperative to address these goals, there's a noted lack of awareness in the populace. Using Factiva's digital newspaper archive, the research identifies trends in coverage volume and thematic focus over recent years. Results indicate a notable increase in media attention, particularly in Spain and Italy, with topics revolving around domestic policies and health receiving prominence. The findings suggest that shifts in government leadership may influence the prioritization and communication of SDGs. This underscores the crucial role of media in raising awareness and fostering dialogue around global sustainability challenges. The study contributes to understanding how media dynamics intersect with public discourse on sustainable development, highlighting opportunities for targeted communication strategies to drive engagement and action towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.

        Speaker: Alberto E López-Carrión (Universitat de València)
      • 58
        Institutional Influence on Development Aid Effectiveness: Local Agri-food System in Malawi and Burundi

        Despite decades of cooperation efforts, many countries have not yet achieved the expected levels and impact on development. A poor articulation between the local institutional framework and development aid can be a determining factor in the inefficiency of aid. The aime of this research is to investigate the challenges surrounding the articulation between local institutional frameworks and development aid, with a particular emphasis on the agri-food sector, to clarify the underlying reasons for its low effectiveness and propose strategies for improved outcomes.

        Speaker: Lola Martínez Aragón (Universitat de Valencia)
      • 59
        The Andean Baroque as an expression of human and cultural development in Latin American.”

        The concept of the "Andean Baroque" is undergoing a reevaluation in current discussions of Latin American critical political thought.It represents an ancient form of subtle resistance stemming from the artistic elite and cultural heritage of the Inca empire.The Jesuits played a significant role in fostering this process of artistic interculturality, which transformed the landscape of Alto Perú and influenced the entire southern Latin American region.The Baroque movement, often associated with ornamental complexity in terms of aesthetics, actually represents a departure from classicism to return to the essence of artistic expression. It embodies a critique of unprecedented complexity, mirroring the tumultuous era in which it emerged – the conquest of America, the Counter-Reformation, and the convergence of two contrasting worldviews: indigenous and Western. The Andean Baroque symbolizes the quest to reclaim a lost primal harmony.For instance, the remarkable advancements in pictorial technique seen in the Cusco School, where Western artistic traditions are reinterpreted through indigenous lenses, signify a remarkable fusion.This form of gentle synthesis and unique creativity reflects a significant human and cultural development worthy of study in today's complex world.

        Speaker: Rodolfo Marcone- Lo Presti (University of valencia)
      • 60
        Enjoying learning and learning to learn

        Joy is at the bottom of motivation to learn, according to recent studies, and we need to find more data through research, to reveal students’ point of view concerning their learning engagement and strategies. This gap in practice is an intense concern at the Teacher Education Department of “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, as we train students that become future teachers in a global and complicated society. This paper explores students’ perceptions of finding joy in learning and learning how to learn, by researching their individual experiences on three topic questions: How to enjoy learning? How to achieve meaningful learning? How to use a strategic learning approach? 110 students enrolled in the first year at the Pedagogical Module were invited to attend focus groups and individual interviews, with open questions that encouraged self-reflections concerning their learning. The study reports on the focus groups and the themes that emerged from the data. Findings revealed that our students are very different and there are better ways to support their learning and engagement than grades and diplomas during their academic preparation. They face stress and difficulties if they don’t find a meaningful learning context and effective strategies to progress.

        Speaker: Ms Alina Georgeta Mag (University "Lucian Blaga" of Sibiu, Romania)
      • 10:45 AM
      • 61
        Assessing the well-being of older people - The influence of social support on their life satisfaction and loneliness

        Background. The significance of the analysed issue lies in the fact that, since 1988, the World Health Organization has identified senescence as one of the top five priority health issues for the population, alongside cardiovascular diseases, cancer, AIDS, and alcohol-related problems. Social relationships and social activities have been identified to be key elements contributing to an individual's physical and mental health throughout his or her life. In this context, social support has become an intensively studied topic in various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, medicine, even economics.

        Aim. The present study seeks to investigate the correlation between social support, loneliness, and life satisfaction in individuals aged 65 and above. Additionally, it aims to identify and assess the potential mediating role of social support in the connection between feelings of loneliness and life satisfaction within this age group.

        Conclusion. Increasing social support involves increasing life satisfaction and decreasing the feeling of loneliness, as well as mitigating the negative impact of loneliness on life satisfaction.

        Speaker: Ms Adriana Moiseiu (Ovidius University of Constanta)
      • 62
        Bullying victims between Romanian and Italian adolescents

        Bullying is a type of violence that threats wellness of children and adolescents. Bullying episodes are especially common during transitional periods in the lives of children and adolescents when they figure out where they fit among new peer groups. Bullying can be a persistent menacing and aggressive physical behaviour or just a verbal abuse directed to other people. The effects of bullying are felt by individuals, families, schools and society. The children who are victims of this phenomenon feel powerless and humiliated by the aggressive acts of other children. This research was carried out in order to measure how Romanian and Italian teenagers perceive bullying.
        The hypothesis elaborated was: ”It is presumed that there are significant differences in the perception of bullying between Romanian and Italian adolescents”. The sample of this research is made up of 60 people aged 17 to 24, both female and male. The criteria of selection was nationality, respectively Romanian and Italians. The applied tool for carrying out this research is the scale for assessing the perception of teasing.
        Based on the statistical results obtained, this research has demonstrated that there are no significant differences in the perception of bullying between the Romanian and Italian teenagers.

        Speaker: Ms Andreea Manolache (Universitatea Ovidius din Constanța Facultatea de Psihologie și Științele Educației)
      • 63
        The representation of the Hippies in the USSR, through the forms of communication

        The Hippie culture slipped through the Iron Curtain and got to the communist block, so it had to be adapted to the soviet reality. To manage this, the regime used visual media channels like cartoons and magazines, that were often distributed or intended for the young generation. By analyzing the caroons: "The Bremen Town Musicians" which depicted characters resembling hippies, promoting values of freedom and friendship within socialist contexts, and magazines such as "Crocodile" satirized hippies aiming to discredit the movement, and present them as a minority and fashion trend that was tolerated by the state to minimize this way the influence of this social-political movement.

        Speaker: Paula Popov (University "Lucian Blaga" of Sibiu)
      • 64
        Adolescents antisocial behaviour. Comparative study by gender and age

        Since childhood, children can suffer a behavioral and emotional imbalance. They go through a stage of development, called „age crises”. During adolescence, antisocial or prosocial behavior is formed. Antisocial behavior refers to behaviors that violate legal or social rules, aggression, substance use, alcohol and more.
        The aim of the current study was to examine and evaluate differences in antisocial behavior to adolescents by gender and age. The sample consists 76 students: 35 girls and 41 boys aged 14 to 18 years. Subjects are high school students in different urban and rural areas from Romania. The research was conducted by administering my own questionnaire that contains 32 questions for antisocial behavior.
        Statistical results have shown that there are significant differences in gender and age of antisocial behavior. Most antisocial behaviors in adolescence have occurred from social problems,family and educational problems. In such moments, the understanding, support and emotional communication offered by the family and school environment can have positive results in diminishing this kind of behaviour.

        Speaker: Elena-Teodora Nurciu (Universitatea Ovidius din Constanța, Facultatea de Psihologie și Științele Educației, Specializarea Psihologie)
      • 65
        An approach to the presence of interdisciplinary encounter in cinema: The music in Jacques Demy’s Film (1961-1968)

        This presentation has the aim to spread how new waves of interdisciplinary work can be a source of culture and a way to connect, in this case, the art with quotidian life. In this occasion, we will explore the work of Jacque's Demy films to see how music can be the main way of sending messages and at the same time to create a space where arts like painting or architecture can tell a story in another way.

        Speaker: Núria Cervelló Ramos (Doctoranda)
      • 66
        Influence of Personality Traits on Sustainable Tourism Consumer Behaviour

        When tourism is viewed as an economic activity more than capable of having an accentuated negative impact on the environment, the issue of sustainability is brought to the fore. From a psychological point of view, sustainability is the way to influence and change individuals' destructive behavioural patterns, which is based on a complex network consisting of individual values, attitudes, knowledge, habits and social norms. Growing awareness of environmental issues, limited natural resources and high environmental costs are driving the adoption of sustainable behaviours.
        The present research aimed to study the personality traits that influence consumer buying behaviour to sustainable tourism.
        The results of the study carried out on a sample of 95 people revealed that some personality traits have a significant relationship with the consumption behaviour of sustainable tourism - by influencing the attitude towards sustainable tourism - extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experiences.
        Despite the limitations related to sample size and characteristics, the paper highlights that research in the field of the influence of personality traits on consumption behaviour in sustainable tourism on the Romanian population remains open and that future research directions could involve a larger sample to ensure representativeness at local, regional, even national level.

        Speaker: Ms Constantina-Alina Ilie (Miloș)
      • 67
        Assessment and therapeutic intervention for teenagers' anxiety disorders

        Background. The structuring of the adolescent's personality leads to a series of complex internal experiences involving states of distrust, anxiety and almost permanent anxiety.
        Aim. The aim of the current study focuses on the evaluation and analysis of anxiety as a primary state among adolescents aged 13 to 16 years (n=48), its effects when it is the basis of cognitive distortions, and the offer of therapeutic alternatives to improve the general state of well-being.
        Methods. The following tests were applied to a sample of 48 students: Achenbach system of empirically based assessment (ASEBA) and Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire CERQ
        Results. The results obtained through the analysis of the Spearman correlation coefficient, confirm the direct positive relationship between anxiety problems and the tendency to catastrophize during adolescence against the background of the specific state of egocentrism but also the lack of experience in managing life situations. Comparative data suggest a predisposition of adolescents to develop anxiety disorders, both on biological grounds but also due to less developed coping mechanisms, difficulties in optimal perception of self-esteem, which creates a difficulty in coping with the demands of academic and social activities.
        Therapeutic intervention plays an important role in counselling adolescents with anxiety disorders.

        Speakers: Rodica Gabriela Enache (Ovidius University of Constanța Romania), Ms Laura Stanciu (Ovidius University Constanta Romania)
    • Natural Sciences – Be innovative and shape the future in your field
      • 68
        SupraVacc - Supramolecular Design of Synthetic Vaccines and Injectable Biomaterials

        Peptide secondary structures can be harnessed to design monomers capable of self-assembling into supramolecular polymers in aqueous media. Decorating the surface with immunogenic molecular patterns results in pathogen-mimicking entities and potential vaccine candidates. In the context of antitumor vaccines, the challenge is to overcome self-tolerance mechanisms to enforce an immune response against endogenous, tumor-associated glycopeptide motifs. A co-stimulation of B cells with Th cells is mandatory, which is aimed to achieve using a co-presentation of different epitopes and immunostimulating agents at the surface of multicomponent supramolecular polymers. Mucin 1 (MUC1) is well-known for undergoing alterations in O-glycosylation during tumorigenesis,6 and is thus an excellent tumor-associated target structure for immunotherapy. In this contribution the focus is on the use of fully synthetic glycopeptide from MUC1 tandem repeat sequence. As T cell epitope we chose a small fragment from highly immunogenic tetanus toxin. Imidazoquinoline as potent TLR7/8 agonist, was synthesized. Epitopes were conjugated to supramolecular monomers and mixed in aqueous solution. High antibody titers of IgG type were observed in C57BL/6 mice and FACS analysis confirmed the high binding affinity of antibodies to T47D tumor cells. Results support the potential of this modular supramolecular platform approach for the development of glycoconjugate vaccines.

        Speaker: Prof. Pol Besenius (Department of Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany)
      • 69
        Generative Image Algorithms based on AI approach with comparative results

        The presentation focuses on Generative Image Algorithms based on AI approaches, comparing their performance in various fields such as art, design, entertainment, and many others. By evaluating different models with common prompts, the study aims to assess the quality and realism of generated images. Results indicate that models producing images with greater detail and realism are considered superior, highlighting strengths and weaknesses across different algorithms. The conclusion underscores the importance of selecting algorithms based on specific task requirements to achieve optimal results.

        Speaker: Georgian-Cristian Chivu (Universitatea "Lucian Blaga" din Sibiu)
      • 70
        The future in our hands: children under the age of 3 developing scientific thought and treasuring nature through museum’s experiences

        This presentation argues that it is important that children develop their scientific skills and scientific thought since early ages. It is also relevant to connect them with nature developing positive attitudes and values towards the environment. In this sense, museums that create educational activities for children under the age of three use different strategies and methodologies to approach natural sciences to preschoolers. Based on interviews and direct field work in Catalan museums, results show that is possible to engage children with scientific thought and nature through experimentation inside the museum, natural itineraries outdoors and transporting the museum to the school. All the experiences that children have during their first three years of life impact on their knowledge, skills and values. This presentation shows that there is potential to increase the number of museums that offer these experiences to connect children with natural sciences.

        Speaker: Maria Fusté Forné (PhD Student at Universitat de València)
      • 12:00 PM
      • 71
        How to measure the non-convexity?

        In this talk, we are partially motivated by the problem of non-convex optimization in Machine Learning and by applications of Morse theory in Data Science. We aim to introduce Poincaré-Reeb graphs. Encoding both quantitative geometrical aspects of the shape and qualitative topological properties, these graphs are meant to measure the non-convexity of a real algebraic plane curve. Our main goal is to give a characterization of all topological types of Poincaré-Reeb graphs. Using the polar curve and the discriminant curve, we unveil the properties of these graphs, emphasizing the asymptotic behavior of level curves near a strict local minimum of a real bivariate polynomial function. In the local setting, the Poincaré-Reeb graphs are stabilizing trees that encode the asymptotic shape of the levels near the strict local minimum. Inspired by the works of Arnold and Ghys, we first rephrase our problem in terms of univariate Morse polynomials. We present an effective algorithm that constructs a large family of real bivariate polynomial functions near a strict local minimum realizing all separable Poincaré-Reeb trees.

        Speaker: Miruna-Stefana Sorea (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania)
      • 72
        Selected examples of applications of active moss biomonitoring in air pollution assessment

        The use of biological indicators *biomonitoring) is an alternative method to classical air quality monitoring.
        The study aimed to evaluate air pollution in urban areas using active moss biomonitoring. The examples involved the analysis of air pollution by elements and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Experiments were performed during the launching of fireworks on New Year's Eve, the activity of a car workshop, the comparison of pollution from the smoke of tobacco products, and long-term biomonitoring.
        We used Pleurozium schreberi, Sphagnum fallax and Dicranum polysetum mosses to conduct biomonitoring studies. Analytes were determined by flame atomic absorption spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
        The presented examples indicate the importance of measuring vital parameters of mosses. For elements, the difference in concentrations between environments depends on the type of element and its source. The contamination of PAHs showed a seasonal variation, and the main sources of pollution were road traffic and combustion processes.
        Mosses are sensitive biomonitors of point sources of pollutants, emitting heavy metals and PAHs into the air. Human activity indicates the importance of performing biomonitoring studies analyzing air quality, and thus provides opportunities to make the public aware of their impact on atmospheric aerosol contamination.

        Speaker: Dr Paweł Świsłowski (University of Opole, Institute of Biology)
      • 73
        Insect and spider distribution modelling by using remote sensing and machine learning methods: A case study in Apšuciems mire, Latvia

        Our study proposes a novel and multidisciplinary approach of studying the spatial distribution of insects and spiders in mire habitats. In this approach we used the “traditional” ecological methods which are extensively utilized by ecologists to examine ecological communities, and we coupled these methods with the ones that are rather unfamiliar and quite new to ecologists – the geospatial techniques (i.e., remote sensing) and the computer science technologies (i.e., machine learning), and as a result we developed a unique approach of studying insect/spider communities in mires. Overall, our method has a potential to transform the nature protection in Latvia by offering a brand new approach that might potentially be applied in endangered insect/spider species distribution studies in terrestrial habitats in Latvia, as well as for managing environmental resources in general.

        Speaker: Ms Maija Štokmane (University of Latvia)
      • 74
        Brassica-Enriched Pasta: Exploring the Interplay of Nutritional Benefits and Sustainable Agriculture

        The future of Europe relies on solutions that address both health and economic challenges. With an increasingly health-conscious population and growing concerns about food sustainability, there is a demand for innovative food products that offer both nutritional value and environmental benefits.
        Brassica is a key agricultural genus in the Brassicaceae family, which comprises a large number of plant species with economic importance. Due to their high functional and nutritional properties, Brassica plants have been the subject of much scientific interest.
        The aim of this study was to improve the nutritional and bioactive potential of fettuccini-type pasta by incorporating four different varieties of Brassica. Fettuccini enriched with brassica-derived powder were found to be a rich source of protein and showed higher levels of riboflavin, phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity than control pasta elaborated without brassica addition.
        By harnessing the nutritional benefits of brassicas and leveraging the popularity of pasta, this innovative food product addresses key challenges related to health, agriculture, and economic sustainability. More importantly, by integrating Brassica vegetable into pasta, a staple food in many European diets, we can create a product that not only meets the nutritional needs of consumers but also supports agricultural sustainability and economic growth.

        Speaker: Fojan Agahi (Universidad de Valencia)
      • 75
        Industrial-produced lemon nanovesicles ameliorate experimental colitis-associated damages in rats via the activation of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses

        Plant-derived nanovesicles (PDNVs) are lipoproteic nanostructures naturally produced by cells involved in intra- and interspecies cell-cell communication. They concentrate and carry a multitude of healthful compounds naturally present in plants, simultaneously protecting them from external degradative and oxidative events; for these reasons, they can lead to phenotypic changes also in mammalians. In addition to their natural origin, non-toxicity, and low immunogenicity, the possibility of isolating from large volumes makes them attractive for their use in clinics as a preventive and/or therapeutic strategy for many inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).This work aims to investigate the biological properties of industrially produced lemon nanovesicles (iLNVs) and to evaluate their protective effects against IBD. Our findings highlight several key aspects that contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of iLNVs, revealing advantages in the management of IBD.

        Speaker: Vincenza Tinnirello (Department of Biomedicine, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics (Bi.N.D), University of Palermo, Section of Biology and Genetics, Palermo 90133 Italy)
      • 1:20 PM
      • 76
        Quasi-isometric liftings and quasicontractions

        We study the linear operators on Hilbert spaces having dilations to quasi-isometries. This class of operators that can be dilated to quasi-isometries is exactly the class of operators similar to contractions.

        Speaker: Andra-Maria Stoica (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
      • 77
        On matrix representations of operators that are isometric with respect to generalized covariances

        We would like to generalize, from the dilation theory point of view, the study of operators that are isometric with respect to the first-order covariance.We highlight the conditions under which an operator admits a dilation satisfying $S^*\Delta_SS=\Delta_S$, where $\Delta_S$ is a generalized covariance for S.

        Speaker: Ms Denisa Nicoleta Cunțan
      • 78
        Otsu's Method for Image Segmentation

        Otsu's Method is a widely used image segmentation technique designed to automatically determine the optimal threshold for separating objects from the background in a grayscale image. Developed by Nobuyuki Otsu in 1979, this algorithm aims to maximize the inter-class variance between foreground and background pixels while minimizing the intra-class variance within each region. The method efficiently identifies the threshold that best discriminates between object and non-object pixels by iteratively evaluating possible thresholds and calculating their associated variances. Once the optimal threshold is determined, the image is binarized, creating a clear distinction between the targeted objects and the background. Otsu's Method has proven robust and computationally efficient, making it a popular choice for applications such as medical image analysis, character recognition, and various computer vision tasks where precise segmentation is crucial for subsequent analysis and interpretation. Its simplicity and effectiveness contribute to its enduring relevance in diverse image processing domains.

        Speaker: Ilina Mihai (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania)
      • 79
        Ecological succession of spider assemblages (Araneae) in a limestone quarry from Romania

        Background. Ecological succession is one of the basic and important concepts in ecology, yet poorly understood in many aspects, especially when concerning ground-dwelling invertebrates. These organisms are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems and can be a reliable tool for ecological restauration.
        Aim. The aim of the current study was to highlight the mechanisms underlying secondary succession in terms of species composition, diversity, and abundance.
        Methods. We applied the SFT (Space for Time substitution) approach (sensu [1]) and carried out field campaigns in a limestone quarry in centre Romania, where we selected different aged sites to build a chronosequence from the first stage of succession to the climax stage, which was considered the forest habitats surrounding the impacted area.
        Results. Altoghter, we identified 22 species of spiders belonging to 10 families. Based on the correspondence analysis (CA) we observed that the first three stages of succession are more similar compared to the climax stage. In terms of diversity, despite no significant differences between the stages of succession, there are clear differences in terms of composition.
        Conclusion. The greatest change occurred between the first and second year, indicating a rapid evolution of the assemblages during this interval. However, in the T4 stage, the assemblage structure remained relatively stable, suggesting an adaptation or resistance to environmental changes in this forest habitat.

        Speaker: Dr Ioan Tăușan (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
    • 80
      Closing remarks by the organizers Agnese Rusakova and Delia Stefenel