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Coordination of European Research on ICT and Robotics in Agriculture and Related Environmental Issues

Periodic Report Summary 4 - ICT-AGRI (Coordination of European Research on ICT and Robotics in Agriculture and Related Environmental Issues)

Project Context and Objectives:
European agriculture is facing conflicting future challenges: Global needs for food and bio-energy; consumer demands for food quality and security; animal welfare; reduction of the environmental footprint; diminishing rural populations; and international competition. Advancements in ICT and robotics are needed to facilitate the implementation of a green bio-production. Common solutions are required, but European research and innovation remains fragmented. The objective of ICT-AGRI is to contribute to a coordinated European research and innovation in this important area. This will be achieved by five overall goals for ICT-AGRI:
- A comprehensive publicly accessible knowledge base concerning R&D
- A widely accepted Strategic Research Agenda (SRA)
- Three successful calls for trans-national projects
- Viable networks for funders as well as researchers and developers
- Supplementary support actions for coordinated Research and Development
Project Results:
Knowledge base: An Internet based database is created for mapping organisations, people and R&D projects of relevance for ICT and robotics in agriculture.
Strategic Research Agenda: The ICT-AGRI Strategic Research Agenda has since its publication in December 2012 been disseminated throughout the community.
Trans-national calls for projects: ICT-AGRI has launched three trans-national calls in 2010, 2012, and 2014, respectively.
Viable networks, Community network: ICT-AGRI has established a widely recognised network for researchers, developers and providers within ICT and robotics for agriculture.
Viable networks, Funder network: ICT-AGRI has developed in the Meta Knowledge Base new tools for efficient management of the ERA-NET with regard to communication with the community, conduction of trans-national calls and internal project management and communication.
Support actions: The support actions have been targeted to establish contact with companies engaged in supplying ICT and robotics by 1) a public-private partnership action and 2) a survey among providers of ICT to farms.
Potential Impact:
The intended long-term impact of ICT-AGRI is to enable the creation a European network of mutually accessible and complementary research programmes, which are suited to respond to the
rapidly developing needs of common European policy drivers and also to an efficient implementation of new EU policies on mitigation and adaptation of climate changes, environmental regulations and legislation, traceability, food safety, agro-environmental and rural development.

The European dimension of ICT-AGRI is important in two aspects. Firstly, the quality of research and development within ICT and robotics in agriculture will increase as a consequence of improved collaboration and coordination. Secondly, common data exchange standards, common environmental regulation schemes and further harmonization, which are expected to grow out of the increased collaboration, will vastly improve the potentials for cross-border application of ICT and robotics solutions. The activities in ICT-AGRI to stimulate cross-border networks embracing science, industry, practice and public are expected to have a lasting impact towards the establishment of a common European market for solutions and applications related to ICT and robotics in agriculture and environment.

ICT-AGRI supports the initiatives from the Commission concerning a greener agriculture through coordination and focus on the research and its potential impact within the agricultural sector and the related environmental issues. The maintenance or expansion of the agricultural production depends on the balance between the production and the environmental standard of the society and an improvement of the environmental image of the agricultural sector. Therefore, there is an increased interest from agriculture and society to use environmentally efficient technologies that reduces the effects of the agricultural productions on the surrounding environment. The Strategic research Agenda developed by ICT-AGRI as well as the cross-border projects funded by ICT-AGRI partners will support the development of a greener agriculture.

The outcomes of ICT-AGRI will be extended and consolidated by the follow-up ERA-NET ICT.AGRI-2.
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