Green urban areas, today, play a key role in the sustainable development of mega cities and the quality of life. The natural elements of urban environments are increasingly integrated into urban planning, as multi-functional infrastructures for the improvement of environmental quality. The natural elements that make up urban ecosystems reduce pollution (air, water, soil), impacts of climate extremes, and loss of biodiversity. Even the rural peri-urban areas, with which the cities interact, must be adequately integrated into the urban development process for reasons of their important economic and cultural role.

To give international support to the development of new professional skills necessary for the sustainable development of large urban areas TAURUS – Training Capacities in Agriculture and Urban Rural Interactions and Sustainable development of megacities has been funded by the European Union as a part of the student mobility program ERASMUS+. The project is coordinated by the University of Tuscia (Italy) in cooperation with eight other universities: three Russian (Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), Russian State Agrarian University (RSAU), Voronezh State University (VSU)), two Chinese (Nanjing Forestry University (NFU) and Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU)) and two European (Wageningen University (WUF) and University of Goettingen (UNIGOE)).

The project includes four integrated activities:

  1. Analysis and identification of the skills required by the labor market. A survey will be distributed among companies, administrations and NGOs, operating in urban green design and management in all participating countries.
  2. Intensive courses and online training programs offered on online platforms Courses will be drafted based on the educational needs emerging from the survey. The University of Wageningen, with many years of experience in the field of e-learning, will be responsible for organizing online courses.
  3. Setting up internships in companies of the five countries participating in the project. A total of 45 mobility grants for Master students will be funded by the ERASMUS + program.
  4. Creation of an online platform to coordinate needs of students and employers regarding professional training (Universities and world of work) on an international level.

The project is a further step in the commitment of European universities to facilitate a rapid and full employment of their graduates in an international context through training courses and activities in close collaboration with industrial partners.