Irish institute named the first regional cluster for smart farming
The first of the nine regional clusters which will act as a one-stop-shop for two million farmers across the EU and the agri-food industry to access agri-tech research and supports was opened this week in Ireland at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), in the presence of EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan.
The €20m SmartAgriHubs project aims to build a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and Centres of Competence in all 28 European Member States co-ordinated through nine regional clusters. The SmartAgriHubs project is a new way for farmers, advisors and ag-tech SME's to engage with research centres and research-active higher education institutions. As part of the project, 80 new solutions will be introduced into the market. €6m has been set aside for open calls during the lifetime of the project., informs Teagasc.
€10 billion budget for Food and Agriculture
WIT will connect the farmers in Ireland and UK through its Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) research centre, which will be the central point of contact for farmers, advisors, ag tech and agri-food companies who want to avail of technology solutions from across Europe to farming and business problems.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan said: "The European Commission has recognised that we need to ramp up our efforts in relation to agri-innovation if we want to maintain our competitive advantage in this century. Agriculture needs to become smarter, leaner and cleaner while maintaining our trademark EU commitment to high quality and safety standards. Projects such as SmartAgriHubs will lead the way, and I commend WIT for its central involvement.
The Commission recently published its proposal for the next European budget 2021-2027, and it includes the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. The Commission is proposing €100 billion for Horizon Europe – of which €10 billion is dedicated to the Food and Agriculture space: a breakthrough. I encourage Irish operators to keep a close eye on the calls for projects as they open. There will be enormous potential to do even more in the coming years".
As the lead institute for research and innovation in agri-food in Ireland, Teagasc will play a central role in SmartAgriHubs.
According to Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, “this is an exciting opportunity for Ireland, Teagasc and the other partners to step up our role in the application of digital technologies in Irish and European agriculture". The others 8 regional clusters that are to be launched in Europe are not yet known as location.
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