With a budget of around 3.5 million euros and 50% co-funded under the Digital Europe programme, the project ‘Digital agriculture for sustainable development’ (AGRITECH EU) is about to start.
Coordinated by Prof. Gianluca Brunori of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Agro-Environmental Sciences with the collaboration of the Computer Engineering and Computer Science Departments, the project involves the QUINN university consortium, CNR-ISTI, the University of Macerata, the Universities of Ghent, Athens, Almería and Montpellier, and several AgriTech companies
The aim of the project is to devise teaching modules aimed at developing high-level skills in the area of digitalization for sustainable agriculture, with an emphasis on the principles of agroecology and responsible innovation. Among others, the topics of precision agriculture, the use of drones for monitoring purposes, farm data management, the application of artificial intelligence, the automation of agricultural operations, and the digitalization of supply chain traceability will be addressed. Socio-economic (including risks and unintended consequences) and legal implications will also be dealt with for each of these themes. The courses will be based on interdisciplinary programmes that combine technological, agronomic, and socio-economic skills.
The modules will be aimed mainly at graduates with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences, computer science, or computer engineering. The project aims to build a European catalogue of blended learning activities, focussing on innovative experience-based teaching and on the use of online tools. The project will also involve student and lecturer mobility as well as the award of joint degrees.
From an educational point of view, the project aims to make the most of the experience gained in various European projects and in the postgraduate course activated by DISAAA in collaboration with DI, DII, CNR, QUINN, and to create synergies with the initiatives launched within the Contamination Lab. For the University of Pisa, which will oversee the scientific and administrative coordination, the project represents a valuable opportunity to present itself as one of the universities of excellence in Europe in the field of digital agriculture.