On February 21, the members of the Thematic Smart Specialization Partnership Smart Sensors 4 Agri-Food met at CTIC in the Gijón Technology Park in Spain. The main topic on the agenda was agreement on the partnership’s governance structure and its working plan for the near future. Additionally, the members elected the partnership’s chairs.
Connecting competences, facilitating digital transformation
18 clusters and research partners from 14 European regions set themselves the twin goals of boosting the digital transformation of the agri-food sector and facilitating access to applicable solutions for industry. By connecting competences across Europe, the partners as well as their members and stakeholders will gain a better understanding of agri-food´s opportunities, challenges, and requirements with relation to digital technologies.
The partnership has identified four core challenges that it will address initially:
- Match the needs of agri-food companies with the solutions and capabilities of the technology and digital solution providers, building a “trust zone” between the involved sectors.
- Roll out a step-by-step approach to digital transformation by creating cross-border innovation communities and providing funding opportunities.
- Develop and demonstrate the integration of digital technologies in production lines with specific requirements for robust solutions.
- Adopt and establish vocational and professional training programs for companies and their employees.
Two European projects up and running
The meeting was held adjacent to a program of study visits and matchmaking events, organized within the two European projects originating from the partnership: “Smart Sensor Systems for Food Safety, Quality Control and Resource Efficiency in the Food Processing Industry‘ (S3FOOD) and “Connecting smart sensor systems for the food industry‘ (Connsensys). S3FOOD provides support to SMEs and a dedicated funding scheme for developing and implementing technologies and digital solutions in the food processing industry. Connsensys focuses on the role and potential of living labs in the innovation ecosystem for the sector’s digital transformation. As such, the Connsensys project is paving the way for a network of living labs that will form a cornerstone in the SS4AF strategy.
“It will be a long way, but based on the established relations to our companies and the focus on applicable solutions, we will generate real added-value for our companies and regions with our partnership,” stated Simon Maas, AgriFood Capital BV (The Netherlands) after he was elected to be the first chair of Smart Sensors 4 Agri-food. Cécile Guyon from Bretagne Dévelopement Innovation (France), and newly-elected vice-chair added, “Connecting competences across European regions is an important key to successfully support SMEs and to facilitate their digital transformation processes. This is why I am happy to be part of this unique partnership.” DSP Valley’s own Bjorn van de Vondel is the newly-chosen chair of the Technology Intelligence working group. Flanders’ FOOD (Belgium) will host the Brussels-based head office of the partnership.
If you want to stay updated about SS4AF, send an e-mail to Veerle Rijkaert (Flanders Food) to receive all the latest news on the partnership and its projects.