SmartAgriHubs is a €20 M EU project under the Horizon 2020 instrument, that brings together a consortium of over 164 partners in the European agri-food sector. The project aims to realise the digitisation of European agriculture by fostering an agricultural innovation ecosystem dedicated to excellence, sustainability and success.
TSSG are the Regional Cluster lead for Ireland and the UK (https://www.smartagrihubs.eu/regions). The Smart Agri Hub network is a network of Digital Innovation Hubs and competence centers across Europe with 28 Flag Ship Innovation Experiments where ideas and prototypes are developed and introduced into the market. The key to the inter-connectivity and knowledge-sharing of this network of European innovation in agri-food is the SmartAgriHubs Portal (www.smartagrihubs.eu), which leverages, strengthens and connects all the different dots. There are two innovation experiments based in Ireland and the UK Region. (https://www.smartagrihubs.eu/flagship-innovation-experiments).
The SmartAgriHubs Open Call for proposals has as a key objective to expand the existing SmartAgriHubs network with additional stakeholders and to promote the realisation of innovation experiments. The collaboration with new and existing Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and Competence Centres (CCs) shall result in a joint effort of an active and dynamic community that creates knowledge and practical experience that will ultimately facilitate and disseminate digital innovation in the agri-food domain.
SmartAgriHubs supports this with its available team, knowledge, and tools:
- The existing DIH network in SmartAgriHubs offers collaboration with additional and new Digital Innovation Hubs to facilitate experience exchange
- The network of Competence Centres is helping to identify the most appropriate technology related expertise required for a successful realisation of an innovation experiment
- Community of SMEs, startups and scaleups, helping to find promising tech suppliers, partners as well as reference end-users
- Flagship Innovation Experiments from SmartAgriHubs and use cases from IoF2020 serving as show cases for digitisation and innovation in the agri-food domains and
- Excellent, well-equipped support team present in most European regions, familiar with local and sector specific challenges.
Facilitated by an Open Call, SmartAgriHubs will complement and connect existing and upcoming programmes that are supporting innovation and funding stakeholders (i.e. from both public and private sources) in the agri-food community.
Subsequently, these activities shall generate a critical mass of digital innovation experiments, where stakeholders share experiences gained and build an international community of regional hubs (DIHs) and knowledge transfer centres (CCs) that will result in a sustainable European network dedicated to closing the gap between research, innovation and business development.
The current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the agri-food economy has pushed the SmartAgriHubs team to redesign the Open Call approach to respond to the needs of the sector in these critical times. In accordance to the current COVID-19 related situation and the importance of the food system’s resilience, two individual open calls were launched in May 2020 as an immediate RESPOND to the crisis. Now, we are following-up with the RESTART and EXPAND open calls that will address the agri-food economy on the medium term. SmartAgriHubs will assign up to 5,000,000€ funding to the RESTART and EXPAND open calls, addressing Digital Innovation Hubs that are supporting diverse stakeholders in the agri-food economy and specifically SMEs as drivers for digital innovation.
Restart Open Call
The RESTART open call is for hackathon type of activities that will contribute to the RESTART of the European Agri-Food Economy with short and medium-term impact to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Proposals for the RESTART open call could realise hackathons, challenges and datathons that have a direct as well as an indirect impact to mitigate effects of the CORONA COVID-19 or similar (future) pandemics. By such initiatives, the RESTART of the agri-food economy after the COVID-19 crisis shall be facilitated. The underlying idea is to support the European agri-food economy to better cope with the requirements of the “new normal” and maintain its global competitive position.
Expand Open Call
The EXPAND open call for Digital Innovation Hubs that are supporting the realisation of Innovation Experiments, mobilising the related stakeholders and facilitating the access to Competence Centre related services. Open call for projects that are proposing initiatives of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) that propose a thorough strategy to support the digital innovation in their region and facilitate the set-up and realisation of Innovation Experiments (IEs), equipped by own investments and supported by additional public and/or private funding.
SmartAgriHubs considers DIHs as key stakeholders that should be attracted by this open call. They should propose projects to promote digital innovation in agri-food that will be realised in their own region or together with other regions.
Who Should Apply?
The RESTART and EXPAND open calls are open to any DIH or CC to apply to either individually or collectively as a group. If you are interested in applying for the above open call, do register your DIH or CC on the Smart Agri Hubs portal which can be found at www.smartagrihubs.eu
Alternatively, you can contact:
Ireland: Hazel Williams, Regional Cluster Lead, Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence (PACE), Kilkenny or TSSG, Waterford at email@example.com
UK: Evi Arachoviti, Regional Cluster Co-Lead as Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) firstname.lastname@example.org
*Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) are support organisations that aim to make businesses more competitive by speeding up the development and uptake of digital innovations. They provide these services close to the end-users (“at working distance”) and thereby cater to the needs of agricultural producers and food processors in a specific region.
*Competence Centres (CC) form the cornerstone of the Digital Innovation Hubs in the SmartAgriHubs network. They provide the digital technological infrastructure of the DIH by offering advanced technical expertise, access to the latest knowledge and information on digital technologies, as well as test facilities such as labs, pilot and experimental facilities, and other technological and scientific infrastructure.