Waterford Institute of Technology is to have a central role in a €20 million Euro EU project to help improve access to new technologies in the agri-food sector.
The SmartAgriHubs project aims to build a network of ‘Digital Innovation Hubs’ in all 28 European Member States co-ordinated through nine regional clusters.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, Phil Hogan, announced the creation of the first of those clusters on Monday morning: “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 WIT’s TSSG research centre has been announced as the project lead for the UK and Ireland.
WIT President, Prof Willie Donnelly, founder of TSSG welcomed the announcement. “The designation of WIT as a regional cluster lead is significant for Ireland. It puts us at the centre of agtech in Europe. WIT has been at the forefront of smart agri through our research centre TSSG. We are honoured to bring our twenty years expertise into becoming a one stop shop which will put agricultural technology into the hands of farmers, SMEs and agri-food organisations. We look forward to working in consultation with them on tech solutions available both locally and across the EU.”