Living lab in the digital innovation ecosystem

Living Labs for digital innovation in the agri-food industry are innovation driven organizations that facilitate and foster collaborative innovation between the different stakeholders in the industry 4.0 ecosystem to develop, improve, test and validate digital solutions to specific challenges in the agri-food industry.

Starting from the specific needs and challenges of the agri-food SMEs, it is our strong believe that the Living Labs offer the ideal environment to get introduced to new technologies and experience first-hand the potential, opportunities and added value they have in store for specific applications. Therefore, a network of shared, open access Living Labs, where smart sensor systems, related ICT solutions and other technologies can be demonstrated, tested and where related and relevant training sessions and workshops can be organized, forms the backbone of the strategy of the SS4AF partnership.

Living Labs bring the supply side of technological and digital solutions closer to the demand side (the problem owners, i.e. the companies from the agri-food chain) and as such bridge the gap between development and validation on the one side and real-life implementation and application on the other side. This will create a win-win situation for all players within this ecosystem.

European network of Living Labs

At the core of the network of Living Labs lies the need for cross sectoral collaboration and innovation and creating a trust zone between all the players in the innovation ecosystem will be a key element. Living Labs do have their core expertise and will hardly ever be able to answer all questions that come up from companies. Via networking, a broader European ecosystem of innovative players is established that will be able to provide a wider range of high-quality services to the companies. Unique expertise and/or infrastructure from a specific region can be made accessible through a network of Living Labs, as such creating a bigger platform. This strategy will ensure that if the solution for a specific question cannot be found within its own region, companies, with the support of clusters, can reach out to the network and tap in into the combined available expertise.

Currently, 23 living labs have been identified within the regions represented by the SS4AF partnership. For all of them, basic information has been summarized in fact sheets.

  • Download Operational handbook of the network of Living Labs
  • Download Living Lab fact sheets
Members of the network & services offered

Test before invest:

  • Strategic Research Development & Innovation (RDI) such as joint pre-competitive R&D
  • Contract research such as specific R&D, technology concept development, proof of concept
  • Technical support on scale-up such as concept validation, prototyping, small series production
  • Provision of technology infrastructure such as renting equipment, low rate commercial production, offering platform technology infrastructure
  • Testing and validation, such as certification, product demonstration, product qualification

Skills and training:

  • Such as courses, workshops, offering technological infrastructure for educational purposes
Smart Food Technology OWL
The Smart Food Factory is a Living Lab located in Lemgo (Germany) specialized in the food processing industry. The Living Lab is currently under construction and should be completed in 2022. It is managed by Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe; University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
Living Lab Agrifood Technology (Ilvo, Flanders, Belgium)