IfA Joins SmartAgriHubs

IfA joins SmartAgriHubs, a €20 million project to promote digitalisation in farming

 

Innovation for Agriculture is proud to announce the official launch of SmartAgriHubs, a project part of the EU H2020 initiative, aiming to accelerate the digital transformation of the agri-food sector in Europe.

 

140Digital Innovation Hubs, 9 regional cluster & 28 flagship innovation experiments

The project has the potential to be a real game changer in the adoption of digital solutions by the farming sector. Recent initiatives showed the eagerness of the sector to seize the opportunities offered by ICT, network and data–oriented technologies. However, current available applications are still fragmented and mainly used by a small group of early-adopters.

SmartAgriHubs will leverage, strengthen and connect local DIHs, and 20 000 Competence Centres (CCs) throughout Europe. SmartAgriHubs has already put together a large network of 140 DIHs by building on its existing projects and ecosystems such as Internet of Food and Farm (IoF2020).

 

Andrew Lazenby, IfA CEO, participated in the two-day event that signed the official launch of the project, at the Hague in November. “We are proud to be part of the consortium of European organisations involved in the SmartAgriHubs project” said Mr Lazenby. “IfA’s motto is to help farmers put innovation into practice to improve profitability; digitalisation is a key area of work for the whole agri-food sector in the UK and IfA is best placed to be the go-to incubator and disseminator of the latest developments in the field”.

 

A multi-stakeholder approach

SmartAgriHubs brings together different expertise and involves a broad value-chain network covering all EU member states. The consortium includes a vast network of start-ups, SMEs, business and service providers, technology experts and end-users. End-users from the agri-food sector are at the heart of the project and the driving force of the digital transformation.

Strong focus on communication, training and stakeholder engagement

SmartAgriHubs aspires to create an interconnected ecosystem where stakeholders work together in the different phases of innovation from early research to application on farms. Therefore, promoting stakeholder dialogue and providing timely information on progresses and achieved results lies at the heart of the project’s communication activities. To involve, train and inform its audience, several tools will be put in place by the consortium throughout the duration of the project. For instance, in the innovation portal information will be easily accessible by farmers and their businesses, creating an effective, efficient and satisfactory user experience. A catalogue for farmers and agribusiness is also foreseen, mapping the existing digital technology field, to exchange best practices among the network.

 

George Beers, Project Manager at Wageningen University & Research and SmartAgriHubs Project Coordinator: “SmartAgriHubs will not only increase the competitiveness and sustainability of Europe’s agri-food sector. It will become the 4th industrial revolution that will strategically re-orient the digital European agricultural innovation ecosystem towards excellence and success. Together with our partners we believe SmartAgriHubs will unlock the potential of digitization by creating a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs, organizing an inclusive ecosystem around them and fostering them to achieve their full innovation acceleration capacity.”

 

Key facts at a glance:

  • Instrument: Horizon 2020, DT-RUR-12-2-18: ICT Innovation for agriculture
  • Contribution of the European Union: €20 million
  • Duration: 4 years, 2018-2022
  • Consortium: 108 initial partners, possibility to extend through open calls
  • 140 digital innovation hubs, 9 regional cluster & 28 flagship innovation experiments
  • Bridge public-private funding by mobilising additional funding (30 M€)
  • Strong focus on establishing a sustainable network of DIHs with viable business models and investment funds