The conference held in Prague from 4 to 6 March 2019 marked the first official meeting of the SmartAgriHubs consortium, bringing together representatives of digital innovation centers, innovation experts and centers of expertise from all over Europe.

Over 164 partners had the opportunity to connect online, share their knowledge and common challenges for the first time in an interactive and dynamic event, also served as an introduction to the structure and purpose of SmartAgriHubs.

The SmartAgriHub kick-off event aimed to favor the digitization of the European agri-food sector. To this end, the program included a “Synergy” day, which included seminars and a field trip to visit a farm near Prague, where IoT technologies are applied.

The conference hosted a diverse range of high-level speakers including Tom Tynan from DG AGRI and other representatives of the European Commission, the US IoT specialist Wilhelmina Jewell Sparks, and Vit Simral of the innovation department of the Prague municipality.

SMILE-DIH is part of the SmartAgriHubs network. But let’s discover the initiative together.

The SmartAgriHubs project aims to contribute to a broad digital transformation of the European agricultural and food sector. With a budget of € 20 million co-financed by the European Union, the project aims to build a vast pan-European network of digital innovation centers (DIH).

With 140 Digital Innovation Hubs, 9 regional clusters and 28 flagship innovation experiments currently envisaged in the project, Smartagrihus has the potential to be a real turning point in the adoption of digital solutions by the agricultural sector.

Recent initiatives have shown the enthusiasm of the sector to seize the opportunities offered by ICT technologies, the network and data. However, the current applications available are still fragmented and used mainly by a small group of early adopters. SmartAgriHubs will leverage, strengthen and connect the local DIHs and 20,000 competence centers (CC) across Europe, bringing out and making available the different skills needed to contribute to the digital transformation of the agricultural sector in Europe.

All numbers and some key information:

  • Financing instrument: Horizon 2020, DT-RUR-12-2-18: ICT Innovation for agriculture
  • Contribution of the European Union: 20 million euros
  • Duration: 4 years, 2018-2022
  • Consortium: 108 initial partners, possibility to extend them through open call
  • 140 digital innovation centers, 9 regional clusters and 28 leading innovation experiments included in the project
  • Strong focus on creating a DIH network with sustainable business models and investment funds

Expected results

  • Building a network of Digital Innovation Hubs, covering all regions in Europe, guaranteeing a wide coverage in terms of technological, commercial and sectorial skills and relevant actors
  • Support and finance a critical mass of dedicated pan-European “Innovation Experiments” that connect the agricultural sector and technology providers, providing funded support to third parties through open cals planned during the project
  • Ensure long-term sustainability of the network, including a business plan for digital innovation centers, to attract investors and meet the needs of the agricultural sector
  • Enable and promote DIH expansion by including new DIH / CC in the network and through capacity building measures, finally ensuring that DIHs reach their full potential for accelerating innovation.

Contacts at European level

Project coordinator: Dr. George Beers
Wageningen University & Research Wageningen, Netherlands
+31 70 335 8337 –

Project communication: M.Sc. Edwin Hecker Schuttelaar & Partners Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 502 2008 –

Contacts at Italian level

Contact person: Dr. Sofia Miceli
ASTER S. Cons. p. A., Bologna, Italy
Working group: Cristina Boccafogli | Alain Marenghi | Daniele Sangiorgi
+39 051 6398099 –

Contact person: Roberto Buratti
SMILE-DIH, Parma, Italy
+39 0521 226772 –

Visit the SmartAgriHubs website

SmartAgriHubs will not only increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the European agri-food sector. It will become the 4th industrial revolution. – Dr. Ir. George Beers, coordinator of the SmartAgriHubs project