Home 9 CODECS News 9 CODECS Living Labs ready to demonstrate digital technologies! 

CODECS Living Labs ready to demonstrate digital technologies! 

Jun 7, 2024 | CODECS News

Author: Livia Ortolani, UNIPI 

The Horizon Europe project, CODECS, embraces a transdisciplinary method to theory building, with the aim to create a shared vision for a digital future in agriculture. Central to this initiative are CODECS’ Living Labs, which are based on networks of actors that already experimented with some digital technologies at local level and are exploring possibilities to use digital solutions in their context. Researchers involved in CODECS use different theoretical approaches to assess cost and benefits of digitalisation in agriculture, and use these mutual learning to embed theoretical discussions into practice. 

A network of innovation: CODECS Living Labs 

Spread across 17 European countries, the 20 CODECS Living Labs cover a diverse range of agricultural sectors and focus on specific rural development issues.  

Two Living Labs in France and Italy are working on Dairy sheep for PDO cheese production, collaborating on the possibility to integrate digital technologies into their sector. Meat production is also seeing innovation: a French Living Lab is working on pig meat production and two Living Labs in Latvia focusing on organic beef production on semi-natural grassland. Orchards are present in the Living Lab in Czech Republic and Italy’s Puglia Region, particularly in organic table grape production. The management of the vineyards, which is among the most digitalised agricultural sectors, is covered by three different Living Labs in Greece, Slovenia and France. Finally, vegetable productions cover both arable crops, in two Living Labs in Belgium and Hungary and greenhouse production in Spain, Serbia and Slovakia.   

In addition, some Living Labs are addressing broader, cross-sector challenges and related to mixed productions, such as  the development of advisory services based on digital technologies and the support to small scale farmers with the development of local markets.   

Advancing digital solutions across the data chain 

The 20 Living Labs cover all phases of the data chain, from data sources to data access to end users.  Although some labs do not engage in data analysis, most of the Living Labs use an online platform to ensure effective data management. In some cases, digital technologies are only used to support the exchange of knowledge among different actors, without a specific elaboration of data. However, the opportunity to elaborate data in different ways can be considered as a desirable option in some case or not necessary in other cases. The level of digitalisation is hence tailored to the needs and goals of each Living Lab, with stakeholders continuously discussing and determining their optimal digitalisation levels. 

Mutual learning and stakeholder engagement 

The setting up of the 20 CODECS Living Labs was based on an iterative process of mutual learning, based on reaching a clear description of the technology and of the relevant stakeholders to involve at local level in order to assess cost and benefits of digitalisation.  

As researchers start working on the theoretical part of the project, the coordination team worked with the Living Labs in order to facilitate the interaction among them and the alignment of the activities to be carried out in the framework of the project.  

Not all Living Labs were at the same stage of development; while some are more advanced in networking and AKIS management, others excel in technology development but primarily work under experimental conditions.  

Looking ahead: Demonstration and assessment of digital technologies 

In Autum 2023, the 20 Annual LL Workshops took place in all the 20 locations across Europe in order to discuss about the current perception of cost and benefits of digital technologies and mapping the digital ecosystem of each technology that will be demonstrated and assessed in the 20 living labs. Now, after 18 months of project, they are ready to demonstrate and assess the digital technologies they are experimenting at local level. Stay tuned for all the news on our website! 

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