£150k awarded to agri-food research projects

New projects have been launched to showcase cutting edge agri-food research in the UK
New projects have been launched to showcase cutting edge agri-food research in the UK

Three pilot projects designed to drive Internet of Things (IoT) innovation in agri-food production have receive a major funding boost.

A total of £150,000 has been awarded to the University of Aberdeen, the University of Stirling and the University of Nottingham.

The funds are for projects related to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the agri-food industry.

The projects will last for six months. Prof Simon Pearson, Director of Agri-Food Tech at University of Lincoln, said food production is a 'significant and critical' sector.

“These three diverse projects take forward the vision of the network to harness the benefits of cross-cutting research for the benefit of the UK’s agri-food industries,” he said.

The University of Aberdeen was successful in their application for funding with their project “PROoFD IT!: Provenance of Food Delivery through IoT” which will explore the potential of IoT devices to enhance food safety in B2B and B2C food delivery contexts.

Principal Investigator Prof Peter Edwards said: “IoT technologies have real potential to transform the food industry; but we need to be careful about what data we collect, how we represent it, and where we store it in order to maximise its potential.

“In this pilot project, we are bringing together bleeding edge technologies for IoT sensing, semantic data representation and blockchain business networks to explore future possibilities for safer and trusted food deliveries.”

The University of Stirling was also successful with their project “Use of sensors to improve pig productivity” which will seek to identify ways in which data can be used to enhance efficient and sustainable pig farming.

Principal Investigator Prof Rachel Norman, Chair in Food Security, said: “The University of Stirling is delighted to be involved in this project, which provides us with the opportunity to use data science to gain an invaluable insight into pig productivity.

“Ultimately, it will allow us to explore how we can transform this data - currently used purely as a monitoring tool - into a management tool,” he said.

The University of Nottingham was also chosen to receive funding for their project “IoT enhanced Factory Cleaning” which will investigate how data and IoT technologies can be used to detect the presence of allergens and enhance the cleaning of food factories.

Principal Investigator Dr Nicholas Watson stated: “The IoFT feasibility project will enable the University of Nottingham to investigate some of the opportunities and challenges of using data, machine learning and other digital manufacturing technologies in the critical area of food and drink factory cleaning.

“We will be working closely with manufacturers ranging from SME to multinational to discover the role these technologies will play in future cleaning operations.”

The three pilot projects will be presenting their preliminary findings at the Internet of Food Things Network Plus Conference in September in Lincoln which is being held from the 17 to the 19 of September.

Topics will include data trusts, digital technologies and new economic models for the digitalised food production supply chain.

The next funding call for up to £50,000 per project will also be announced.