SmartAgriHubs – The time of the harvest

#18 December 2021

George Beers

SmartAgriHubs Project Coordinator

SmartAgriHubsis now entering its final year. As we enjoy the fruits of our efforts andreflect on our accomplishments, we also need to prepare the legacy of ourproject.

Our community

The main focus of SmartAgriHubs is the establishment of connections between Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) across the European Union. Its  consortium brings together well over 164 partners in the European agri-food sector. Since 2018, we have both strengthen the relationships between our partners and welcome new organizations into our ecosystem.

As of July 2021, the PREPARE, EXPAND and RESTART open calls were already:

• Providing 1.7 million € as funding to the selected proposals

• Mobilising 8.2 million € by the teams to realise these activities from other sources

• Involving 181 partners in the selected proposals (i.e. not counting participants in the hackathon type of activities)

• Preparing or realising 35 Innovation Experiments

With our new SERVICE open call, we are looking to support the development of DIHs as service providers. Each open call helps us to expand our network.

We are confident that the SmartAgriHubs network will persist after the end of the project.

Through regular events, partnership opportunities and training session, we encouraged the members of our community to learn from each other.

Setting up and developing a DIH is an ambitious and engaging process. Becoming a self-sustaining entity in the long run is even more so. The DIH Innovation Services Maturity Model (IS MM) self-assessment was made available in March 2020. This self-assessment tool, complimented by a peer-review mechanism, help DIH to identify opportunities for growth. On the Innovation Portal, DIH across Europe can discuss challenges and solutions.

SmartAgriHubs is well inserted in the European ecosystem. Synergies with other H2020 projects help to leverage a wider network of stakeholders. Recently, SmartAgriHubs and DEMETER, leading Horizon2020 projects promoting the digital transformation of the European agrifood sector, came together to organise a webinar on October 15th to discuss the importance of Gender in agritech.

Our knowledge

In the last four years, 28 Flagship Innovation Experiments have developed, tested and demonstrated innovative solutions. Flagship Innovation Experiments serve as benchmarks for other Innovation Experiments to strive towards. This is where technology solutions are put into practice.

To better support our community, the SmartAgriHubs team has developed unique tools. Among them, the Agricultural Technology Navigator. As leader of Work Package 5, the university of Almeria has created a tool to better classify technology developed and used in the agri-food sector.

We are currently releasing the first episodes of our video series, each covering a different Flagship Innovation Experiment (FIE).

We hope that lessons learnt from our FIE can inspire many: to do so, we need to ensure that the knowledge of our project remains.

Our future

The SmartAgriHubs project might be ending next year, but our efforts to support the digitalization of European agriculture will continue.  In the final year of our project, we are looking into sustainable solutions for our Innovation Portal. It is a major component of the project’s legacy.

We are also looking to provide our ecosystem with more opportunities to meet and exchange on the lessons learnt. We are confident that the relationships that grew in the past four years can continue beyond the project.