Project Newsletter #20

February 2022

Project Manager
Business Development Manager
Wageningen University & Research
natalie.hotrum@wur.nl

What did you find personally the most challenging about joining the project?

Good question. To put it in perspective, agROBOfood is a large and complex project that is full swing in the productive phase right now. To use a metaphor, it’s a bit like boarding a high speed train. Luckily, it’s a great team and everyone has been very welcoming and helpful with getting me on board.

What is your first impression of the current network?

Having recently joined the project in November 2021, I think it is fair to say that I have a newcomer’s perspective. My first impression is that the agROBOfood network has shown strong growth in the two and a half years since the start of the project. Moreover, the network has been quite successful in connecting businesses with Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and Competence Centres (CCs). One sign of this is the number and balance of memberships. Right now, we have over 200 members. Of these, about 50% have a DIH or CC status, with the other 50% being business members. Furthermore, there is member representation across the 7 European regions covering more than 30 countries. In summary, agROBOfood is well on its way to achieve its ambition to build a European ecosystem for the adoption of robotic technologies in the agri-food sector.

What challenges do you see for further development of the ecosystem?

We are at an important cross-roads in the project. Where our initial focus was to grow the network, we now face the challenge to strengthen the ecosystem and ultimately, to sustain the network beyond the life of the project. Networking events are key to strengthening the network. For example, the agROBOfood event from April 6-8, 2022 will bring together the pan-European network. The event will consist of panels, workshops and demonstrations on the theme “From Vision to Action: Robotics Innovations in Agri-Food” as well as the “Pitch your Robot II” parallel event. In addition, we expect a number of regional events to take place this year, check out our events page to stay updated. Furthermore, on the topic of sustaining the network for the future, we are looking at different scenarios, but it’s too early to report on the details.

How can agROBOfood members contribute?

There will be a number of opportunities to engage with the network this year. For example, the yearly and regional events mentioned earlier. Also, feel free to spread the word about agROBOfood and increase awareness. In addition, if you have ideas for events or long term needs of the network, please contact us. We would be glad to hear from you!

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