Open Innovation Workshop a success in Shandong
2nd August 2018
New projects receive Network+ funding
During our Open Innovation Workshop in Shandong Province in July 2018, three new projects were approved for funding:
- Scaling up agricultural developments from village to county/province level to support the STB (Science and Technology Backyard) programme - led by the University of Strathclyde;
- Developing a roadmap to improve precise soil management by linking crop modelling and remote sensing images – led by Rothamsted Research;
- Developing a mobile app to provide farmers in STBs and Yangxin County with information and advice on their production efficiency and a farm level measure of sustainable intensification – led by the University of Reading.
Shaping plans for the future
Our Shandong Workshop helped us shape plans for the next phase of the Network+ which is focussing on two areas:
- Developing a prototype Agri-Tech Integration Platform
- Scaling up agri-tech innovation from small farms to much larger scales.
The Shandong Workshop was aimed at the latter of these two areas.
Scaling up agri-tech innovation
The Network+ is working closely with the China Agricultural University (CAU) and the Science and Technology Backyard (STB) programme, which has established demonstration farms across 20 provinces and 85 villages in China where researchers work with farmers to apply the latest agricultural research at the farm level.
Though successful in increasing the yield and improving food security, the migration of the improvements at STBs to higher county/province level is constrained, due mainly to the low-level of automation and the amount of labour required. Our Network+ projects are working to improve productivity and reduce the environmental footprint of farms in China and the Shandong workshop aimed to develop new projects to further accelerate this progress.
Developing innovative ideas
At the workshop, 24 UK and Chinese academics and entrepreneurs met in Janin, in Shandong Province to develop innovative ideas to help farmers in the region become more efficient.
The group was shown the challenges facing farmers first hand when they visited Laoling and Yangxin county Science and Technology Backyard programmes and field stations with experts and extension officers from the Chinese Agricultural University.
They then returned to Janin City and developed their ideas into short novel projects over the course of the next two days. The proposals were guided and reviewed by an expert panel and at the end of the workshop three new projects were approved for funding.