Some of the foremost Agri-Food companies and ICT industry experts in Northern Ireland recently attended a highly successful scoping workshop in the area of ‘Precision Technology’ organised by scientists at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough.
N. Ireland has an extremely active ICT (Information & Communications Technology) sector, which is at the forefront of many developing technologies, and a very productive agri-food sector which needs to ensure its production and processing systems are internationally competitive.
The workshop promoted collaboration between the local ICT and digital sectors and our food producing industry and explored opportunities where technological innovation deliver increased efficiencies throughout of the N. Ireland food supply chain. Over 30 participants engaged in lively discussions, facilitated by AFBI, on how technologies including automated sensors, robotics, predictive analytics and genomics could be used to improve the competitiveness of Northern Ireland agriculture and also produce new exportable solutions.
Dr Elaine Groom (Horizon 2020 NI Contact Point Agri-Food) outlined the numerous funding opportunities in the area of ‘agri-food precision technology’ and encouraged attendees to explore the funding avenues available, specifically the Horizon 2020 program. Calls in the ICT and Agri-food thematic areas could provide valuable funding support for increased collaboration between the sectors, and AFBI’s instrumented research farm facilities at AFBI Hillsborough can play a key role in bridging the gap by underpinning strong collaborations between its scientists, ICT and digital innovators and food industry leaders.