European and global agriculture are faced with numerous challenges, including climate change, global food and biomass demands, and shrinking rural populations. Information and communications technology (ICT) and robotics hold great potential to solve these challenges, but research and innovation in this field is fragmented. The ICT-AGRI (Coordination of European research on ICT and robotics in agriculture and related environmental issues) project aimed to increase the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of national ICT and robotics research programmes. It specifically targeted programmes focused on competitive, sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. ICT-AGRI developed a novel research and mapping approach known as the ICT-AGRI Meta Knowledge Base (MKB). It contains profiles of all major research organisations within ICT and robotics in agriculture, as well as the profiles of many individual researchers. Researchers created and published a strategic research agenda in conjunction with various experts in the field. Further, the project established functional community networks of researchers, developers and service providers. ICT-AGRI completed three calls for project proposals across the European Research Area (ERA), in 2010, 2012 and 2014. These calls were integrated with the ICT-AGRI MKB to provide support for funded projects. The intended long-term impact of ICT-AGRI is the creation of a European network of mutually accessible and complementary research programmes. This will help scientists to respond to the rapidly developing needs of the European agricultural sector.
Agriculture, information and communications technology, ICT, robotics, environmental issues