New projects and perspectives

#16 October, 2021

Mar Cátedra

Technical Counsellor for General Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Andalusia

The transition between summer and autumn usually seems like a “new year” starting: back to school, summer time is over… a new beginning with plenty of new projects and perspectives. During this year, in which we have started the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, this new season brings more opportunities than previous years to our S3 Partnership on Traceability & Big Data. Let's talk about them:

As a preliminary contact with the opportunities that are coming, last month of July, we celebrated together DG REGIO and other S3 Partnerships, the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms meetings where European Commission members provided updates about the progress of the European policies and programs related to S3 Partnerships. Additionally, a bilateral meeting together the European Commission services, S3 High Tech Farming and our Thematic Partnership was celebrated, updating our current status, exploring potential links and raising awareness to enhance cooperation.

Nowadays, the I3 instrument (Interregional Innovation Investments) developed by the Commission has just been launched and it will be the main focus for the S3 Partnerships in the near future. The instrument provides funding for mature joint innovation projects and supports stakeholders involved in smart specialisation to develop and set up such projects in value-chain investment portfolios. In this sense, to promote interregional projects among Traceability & Big Data stakeholders coming from our regional nodes, have to be a priority in our action plan in the forthcoming months. I would like to remark that regions are the contact point that disseminate the information between our Partnership and their regional nodes, knowing the priorities and needs of its regional members, projects in place and also the opportunities that they can achieve through our network.

Since Traceability & Big Data was born, one of our requests to the European Commission has been to get financial support through specific funds devoted to S3 Partnerships. As you may know, our efforts have not been fruitful for this new MFF. In this regard, DG REGIO representatives told us to take an opportunity to finance our activities through Horizon Europe, specifically under the Pillar 2, Cluster 6, that aims to reduce environmental degradation and tackle the biodiversity decline on land, waters and oceans, through transformative change including with digitalisation. It deals with food security, agriculture, food systems, circular economy, and sustainable bioeconomy, among others. Most of the Horizon Europe calls look for a multi actor approach, being our regional nodes a perfect network to find potential partners to build consortiums related to the objectives promoted in the different calls.

As you can see, lots of challenges come in the last quarter of the year. From the coordination of our Partnership, I encourage you to share your ideas to promote cross fertilization among our members, mainly being focused on creating interregional pilots, business cases and supporting the creation of consortiums of Traceability & Big Data members for proposals focused on the Horizon Europe calls. Additionally, I ask you to be involved in the co-creation of your new S4 regional strategies. Let’s do our best to promote the best opportunities for our regions and associated partners. Let’s move the agrifood value chain to the next level thanks to advances promoted on technologies and solutions based on traceability and big data.