Smart Sensors 4 Agri-food
The European agri-food industry is a key driver in the economic and societal transitions that we are currently undergoing. In order to remain the engine of prosperity, industry must lead the digital and green transitions.
The Green Deal launched by the European Commission aims for a fundamental transformation of Europe and a key element in this policy is a fully sustainable food system as outlined in the farm-to-fork strategy. To achieve the goals set out in the farm-to-fork strategy, the transformation of the agri-food value chain and the entire food system towards smart data usage is a condition sine qua non. In other words: there is no Green Deal without Digital and as such, the agri–food sector in Europe (like other industry sectors) is facing a twin transition challenge: becoming greener and more sustainable by fully embracing digitalization.
Industry 5.0 provides a vision of industry that aims beyond efficiency and productivity as the sole goals and reinforces the role and the contribution of industry to society. It places the wellbeing of the worker at the centre of the production process and uses new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth while respecting the production limits of the planet. It complements the existing ‘Industry 4.0’ approach by specifically putting research and innovation at the service of the transition to a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry. Industry 5.0 empowers workers, as well as addresses the evolving skills and training needs of employees. It increases the competitiveness of industry and helps attract the best talents. It is good for our planet as it favours circular production models and support technologies that make the use of natural resources more efficient. Revising existing value chains and energy consumption practices can also make industries more resilient against external shocks, such as the COVID-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine.
The aim of our Thematic Smart Specialisation Partnership (S3P) is to elaborate and implement a supportive business ecosystem between agri-food clusters and clusters representing technology and/or digital solution providers, relevant RTOs and other stakeholders, to facilitate digital innovation in the food processing companies as enabler to become more sustainable and more resilient. Starting from concrete challenges of the food processing companies, digital solutions that fit to their needs are developed and applied. More specifically, digital transformation in the agri-food industry will be facilitated and stimulated as a means to achieve a more sustainable and more resilient agri-food industry across Europe, turning challenges into opportunities. In doing so, this Partnership contributes to the development and roll-out of the Smart Specialisation Strategies of the involved regions, notably via the set-up of a network of connected Living Labs in the EU. Also, interregional investment projects between companies are stimulated as well as the set-up of new, resilient European value chains.
Overall objectives of Smart Sensors 4 Agri-food are:
- To set-up a platform between agri-food clusters and cluster organisations representing the technology- and/or digital solution providers, relevant RTOs and other related stakeholders, to lower the barriers for agri-food companies to access and implement the newest technologies linked to digitalization.
- To establish a network of Living Labs as the backbone of our overall concept, where technologies and skills linked to Industry 5.0 can be demonstrated, tested and where relevant training sessions, workshops and demonstrations can be organized.
- To create a trust zone between the involved sectors via the collaboration between the clusters and RTOs. The aim is to facilitate the exchange of know-how and to accelerate the introduction and integration of Industry 5.0 technologies in the agri-food industry in a broad sense.