The Ecosystem

Robotics Community for agricultural growth

Building a community of interconnected experts in agrobots requires strategic planning, resources and determination. The mission of agROBOfood is to boost the uptake of robotic technologies, by providing services in 3 different levels depending on the user and its needs. The introduction of agri-food robotics will accelerate the transition to a sustainable and competitive European agricultural sector.

Ecosystem Support:

To ensure its sustainability and future growth, the agROBOfood ecosystem provides a wide array of services to its members, primarily the Digital Innovation Hubs. agROBOfood Ecosystem Support offering enables DIHs to stand as a strong reference point in the network and includes:

  • Core business strengthening: Ecosystem partners can provide products or services (complements) that add value to the Digital Innovation Hubs’ work, resulting in the provision of higher quality services from their end. For example, agROBOfood can support DIHs to enhance their knowledge, which will, in turn, be used to support SMEs and start-ups in the line of business.

  • Market access expansion: agROBOfood ecosystem can open new channels for existing products or services.

  • New ventures launching: Ecosystems can present new opportunities for launching new ventures separate from the core business, for learning, financial returns or diversification.

All the offerings come together under the website/ innovation portal. It is the place where all stakeholders connect to share knowledge, drive innovation and create value.

Scale Up / Acceleration Services

Built around a community of highly trained experts who make up the Hubs, this cutting edge robotic-centric and niche service provides infrastructure, advice and training on trending agri-business and robotics technology matters to SMEs embarking on their digitalisation journey. Scaling-up the results of agricultural robotics solutions is at the heart of this service portfolio and includes:

Skills and training
Skills and training
Ecosystem and Networking opportunities
Ecosystem and Networking opportunities
Test before invest
Test before invest
Support to find investments
Support to find investments
Skills & Training Services:

Business mentoring & start-up support: This service concerns the support from a mentor or coach with deep knowledge in specific Business sectors and/or technologies, processes etc. The service is directed to both established SMEs, as well as start-ups and can help strengthen both business and individual entrepreneurial skills. The service can incorporate a range of offerings such as business establishment, business development, business strategy, human resource management, or others as agreed between the service provider and your organisation.

Business model innovation booster: This service involves a series of working sessions to analyse the current business model of the company and scope potential new business opportunities that can drive growth and competitiveness. Several business innovation methodologies such as the Business Model Canvas (BMC), Lean start-up, Value Proposition Canvas, customer journey, or similar can be applied to analyse the current and future business model. The end result will be a personalised strategy for business growth.

Business plan development support: This service consists of expert support in developing a particular part of a your organisation’s business plan. Potential areas to be covered by this service include: investment plan, sales & financial plan, marketing strategy, commercial plan, and operations & HR. The concrete aspect to be covered will be agreed prior the start of the service between your organisation and the service provider.

Defining your digitalisation strategy: This service consists of an analysis of the current level of digitalisation of your organisation focusing on products, processes, data sources and IT infrastructure. From this analysis the service provider will define a customised digital strategy aligned with the current business strategy for your organisation.

Potential analysis: In close collaboration with your organisation, the service provider will identify the robotics automation potential for each step of the target process.

Proof of concept: In an initial workshop, your organisation and the service provider will discuss the developed concept and identify the tests that need to be executed. The service provider will the test the concept in the discussed scenarios either by simulation or in reality. In a final workshop, the service provider will present the results of the executed tests to you and also give an assessment whether the concept works as planned.

Specific R&D: The service provider will co-operate with your organisation in order to solve the specific development challenge based on an existing technology concept. This could be the development of certain functionalities or general technical support during the development process. The service will involve at least an initial and a final workshop. The initial workshop will be used to define and understand the problem that needs to be solved. The final workshop will used to present the results of the service.

Innovation ecosystem & networking Services:

Access to specialist expertise to support R&D&I activities: The service provider will take care of finding the right expert for your problem as well as organising an initial meeting between your organisation and the expert to discuss your problem. The service provider will use the agROBOfood network to identify the right expert and initiate contact as well as setup an initial meeting.

Dissemination package plus: This service offers possibilities to share “Innovation Demonstrators” and “New Products” in the field of agri-food-robotics through the agROBOfood network to increase product outreach. Innovation Demonstrators are pre-market concepts, whereas New Products are commercially available. Showcases, linked to a specific agROBOfood member, can be shown publicly and searchable by keywords on the agROBOfood website in the appropriate catalogue (Innovation Demonstrator or Business Directory). Showcases can also be mentioned in the agROBOfood newsletter under the item “New Show Cases” or “Innovation Experimental Results”. Getting your business, brand, products and messaging out in front of influential sources who are connected to your target market and promoting you to their followers will increase chances of finding customers.

Joint, precompetitive R&D: The service provider and your company discuss the technical challenge at hand. The service provider will then evaluate whether consortia exist that can provide help or advise if creating a new working group makes sense. If there is no existing group that can cater to your needs, as a follow-up service you may wish to identify potential organisations that could be interested in a collaborative R&D project, see service “Support in creating consortia for follow-up projects”.

Market assessments: This service will deliver a market assessment for a new product or service. It may include desk-based research (market size, trends, segmentation, entry barriers, competition, risks) and/or field research (surveys, interviews with potential customers, distributors). The focus can be on European/Global market or a particular country.

Matchmaking & Brokerage: Tailored competence and skills brokerage, partner search, and recruitment for which the service provider will make use of the agROBOfood network, search tools, ecosystem catalogue, website, show cases, and list of network-members. Match-making requests can be handled in an active and non-public way, or could be passive and public in the form of match-making requests spread through the website (database), newsletters or the eco-system e-mails. A local DIH will communicate with the SME and deliver the targeted search request text.

Project Management for R& D&I projects: The service provider choses an experienced project manager whose profile fits to your needs. The project manager will use state-of-the-art project management methods as well as technical experience to ensure smooth operation of the research, development and/or innovation project.

Test Before Invest Services:

Access to laboratory facilities: The service provider has facilities to experiment with a certain type of product required by your organisation for development, experimentation, testing or evaluation purposes. The service provider offers support to setup the requested trials and corresponding access to these facilities.

Access to test sites: The service provider has facilities that enable your organisation to test your product in a relevant environment. The service provider offers support to setup the requested trials and corresponding access to the test site.

Benchmarking analysis: Customised market research that compares the performance of your product with similar products available in the market. You and the service provider agree upon which capabilities should be compared. The service provider will then research products that are available and compare their performance with the performance of your product (from specification). Practical testing is not included (see services “access to laboratory facilities” and “concept validation”).

Concept validation: The service provider supports your organisation to define the and carry out tests and demonstrations to validate the functionality of the your (semi-)integrated prototype in a relevant environment.

Functional safety assessment: The service provider will execute a safety check for your product. The service provider will check the customers product development process and can also execute a number of tests with a product prototype to check the compliance of some functionalities with existing standards. Product certification is not included (see service “Product certification”).

Product demonstration: The service provider has facilities, that provide the operational or relevant environment for the customer’s product. The customer and the service provider agree on a demonstration that shall be created by the service provider. The customer provides the product or protype, which shall be demonstrated.

Product qualification: The service provider has the facilities and capabilities of executing a product qualification which includes long term tests and demonstrations in an operational environment. The service provider and customer will agree on a number of tests that are needed to validate the product. The service provider will execute the tests and create a validation report.

Prototyping: The service provider will based on the customer’s concept design build a prototype. Based on the customer’s needs functionality tests are executed on the prototype.

Provision of tech infrastructure: The service provider grants the customer organisation access to a type of equipment. Depending on the characteristics of the equipment either access to it is granted or a renting agreement between service provider and customer is established.

Product certification: The service provider has the facilities, expertise and accreditation to provide the type of certification required by the customer. The customer provides the product for evaluation and certification.

Support to find investments Services:

Finding public funding opportunities: The service incorporates a number of activities related to The identification of public cross-sectoral funding opportunities at National, EU and global level. The first activity includes a “Funding needs assessment” where the funding needs of the your organisation are identified. The second activity includes the identification and presentation of public funding opportunities based on these needs, including rules of participation. The third activity includes a brief introduction to the application process. Examples of funding opportunities include public grants, endowments, local funds, as well as national and regional initiatives.

Finding private funding opportunities: The service incorporates a number of activities related to the identification of private cross-sectoral funding opportunities at National, EU and global level. The first activity includes a “Funding needs screening” where the funding needs of your organisation are identified. The second activity includes the identification and presentation of private funding opportunities based on the customer needs, including rules of participation. The third activity includes a brief introduction to the application process. Examples of funding opportunities include both traditional funding sources (bank financing, lines of credit, VCs/business angels) and other private sources (crowdfunding, individual networks of investors, alternative lending platforms).

Support in creating consortia for follow-up projects: This service concerns the developing of consortia for the implementation of large or small-scale R&I Projects. The first step of the service includes Project need analysis in order to identify potential partners based on specific project needs (e.g. research partners, industrial partners) and based on the potential funding mechanism requirements. The second step includes potential partners identification and presentation, while the third part includes communication and engagement with potential partners.

Support in IPR management: This service concerns the basic support of SMEs in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues such as IP filing (patents, trademarks and registered designs), IP prosecution (from filing to grant of IP), Trademark, design right and patent renewals, dealing with all aspects of IP infringement, specialised IP issues (e.g. plant breeders' rights), advice on IP portfolio management and commercialization, IP licensing. *This service includes basic introductory support for IPR issues and does not substitute necessary legal advice*

Digital Agronomy Solutions:

Robotics are an integral part of the new era of agriculture, and this change is impacting the whole value chain, including our network’s end-users; the farmers.

Today farmers and growers need training in order to get acquainted with commercially ready robotic solutions that revolutionise the industry and can increase their profitability and productivity. SMEs that belong to the agROBOfood network provide advice, support and specialised services regarding automation and the new ways of organising agricultural work.

Ensuring that farmers keep up with the technology that is impacting agriculture and its value chain and stay informed about the latest innovations and solutions for the development of agricultural robots (AI, drones, sensors, etc.) is at the heart of this level of services.