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Boosting innovative DIgitech Value chains for Agrofood, forestry and environment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIVA (Boosting innovative DIgitech Value chains for Agrofood, forestry and environment)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

The agrifood sector (AgTech and FoodTech) is currently showing a growing interest in new digital technology as an option for improving existing services at farm level (water monitoring, fertilization modulation, risk assessment, farm management and traceability, etc.) or in the food industries (process improvement, quality monitoring, logistic chain, transport, etc.) and creating new services through a global concept of “smart agriculture” or “smart food systems”.
DIVA is a collaborative project coordinated by Agri Sud Ouest Innovation with nine partners coming from 6 countries in Europe. Its main aim is to boost the development and use of digital technologies in the agrifood sector and more particularly to support the emergence and development of new industrial digitech value chains with applications to the agrifood sector and related ones like forestry and environment.
The specific objectives of DIVA are the following:
- To foster cross-sectoral and cross-border innovation between the agrifood and ICT sectors.
- To select 100 solutions proposed by SMEs and to support their feasibility and/or maturation towards new digitech value chain building.
- To support the development of a network of large-scale demonstrators as beta-tests of a minimum of 15 innovative digitech value-added chains for the agrifood, forestry and environment sectors in real conditions and to enhance the SME solutions maturity from 5-6 to 6-7 if not 8 Technology Readiness Levels (TRL).
- To offer to the most successful demonstrated value chains projects, the opportunity to raise international visibility and to extend their markets worldwide.
- To assess the supported projects (both at the value-chain scale and at the level of each contributing SME) and to evaluate the more macroeconomic outputs of the DIVA project.
- To prepare policy recommendations to the EC and DIVA exploitation plan after the end of the project.
- To facilitate the breakthrough of digital technologies in and outside Europe in relation with the agrifood market opportunities and through active dissemination and communication activities, to have enhanced the DIVA Inspiration framework and DIVA supported SME innovativeness to a wider audience.
From the beginning of the DIVA project, the consortium has implemented different tools to foster cross-sectoral and cross-border innovation between the agrifood and ICT sectors and to stimulate innovation and creativity. First, through national and european events, as almost 50 events were organised by the DIVA partners, then through the creation of a Digital Value Chain Inspiration Framework which gives key-propositions and highlights key opportunities for the European community to instigate and help accelerate the emergence and development of agrifood digitech value chains. Finally, through the launch of a “Call for Challenges” where stakeholders are solicited to express their needs and the “Call for Demonstration sites” where the objectives is to identify and to make available a set of platforms and tools that allow SMEs to test the functionalities of their technological solutions.
To answer the challenges identified by DIVA, innovation proposals have been selected during the First DIVA Open call which was launch on the 29th of November 2018 until the 1st of February 2019. After the selection process, 143 proposals have been received and 66 projects worth 1,32 M€ have been selected. They gather 99 SMEs that have received a direct financial support (vouchers) and a strong support of expertise from the DIVA partners to carry out their project.
Among the overall 66 proposals funded, 44 will receive € 10,000 to carry out either technological maturation of their solutions or a validation of their business model (Maturation voucher), 19 proposals will receive € 25,000 or € 60,000 (Demonstration vouchers) to perform demonstration activities in real environments., and 3 will receive €30,000 to carry out consultancy reports and studies for internationalizing their business (Internationalization voucher).
Moreover, a network of 26 demonstration facilities (farms and industrial sites) has been set-up to host demonstration projects.
In addition to the vouchers, the companies also receive a support in the implementation of their project. An initial diagnosis was carried out with each of the SMEs involved in selected projects in order to define results and performance indicators. Data collected will be used to provide recommendations on how to facilitate the breakthrough of digital technologies in and outside Europe in relation with the agrifood.
The initial objectives of DIVA will certainly be exceeded in terms of number of beneficiary SMEs as more than half have already been reached with the first open DIVA call.
Among the selected projects, a majority concern precision agriculture issues for crop production. Irrigation monitoring, nitrogen status of plants or plant protection are for example addressed through new low-cost sensors or sensor networks. New satellite images from the sentinel family also give the opportunity of more affordable services for agriculture. Besides, new ideas of projects have emerged around the concepts of data economy (data valorisation along the value-chain, traceability, security, incentizing and shared added-value) and sharing economy (share of time, equipment, knowledge at farm level). DIVA will certainly help fostering the emergence of digital solutions that were not imagined so far in relationship with the very fast development of the digital sector.
The support provided under the form of vouchers constitutes a real boost to SMEs. It allows to test ideas that would not be done otherwise, or that would require more time. The European label of the project also provides visibility, and credibility when it comes to attract investors.
Finally, DIVA contributes to creating dynamics that find an echo at regional levels and European level. At regional level, the Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) initiative will typically build on some of the DIVA regional actions and partners in Spain, Italy and France. Some connexions have been made with other European projects such as the INNOSUP project VIDA, or other EU projects such as Smart Agri Hubs.
Consortium DIVA