Open Source Seed Initiative: Sharing Seeds Without Borders

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I have to admit that I feel really happy about this specific interview; I was informed about the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) several months ago, when a colleague of mine pointed me to the website of this really special initiative. I personally considered the concept of open source seeds as an obvious need for people who do not want to feel depended on patented seeds and on top of that I made a connection with the open access and open data in agriculture that I have been working on for the last years. However, it seems that openness to me focused on the secondary products of agricultural research activities and I never thought of the possibility of restricted access to plant germplasm and the options of keeping plant genetic material open – I guess I took this for granted (which unfortunately is not always the case, as you will see later on in this post).… Click to read the full post

Data infrastructures in the service of the agricultural community

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On the 2nd of September 2014, it was the first major deadline of the European Research Infrastructures of the H2020. Following up on the previous and current work of Agro-Know in data infrastructures, we participated in a number of different project proposals, trying to exploit the different activities to continue on building infrastructure services for the agricultural community, partnering with major research organisations like the EGI, APARSEN and ATHENA R.C. Some of these proposals are EGI-ENGAGE, DPInfra and OpenMinTed – we hope that we’ll soon be able to present them in more details.

 

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But why communities as the agricultural, the food safety or the biodiversity are interested in such projects and what do they have to earn?Click to read the full post

Book Review: Blue Ocean Strategy

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As promised some three weeks ago, another book was read and will not be reviewed! This time I had the pleasure of reading the “Blue Ocean Strategy” that as its subtitle promises, will help its readers “create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant“! This was quite a promise and an eye-opener for me when I first came across this book and I have to say that for sure the book delivers on its promise!

First of all, allow me to copy part of the dedicated wiki page so that you know what this book is about at a glance. … Click to read the full post

Takeaways from a meeting with a visionary

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In July 2014, I visited Washington DC for a Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) meeting at the World Bank headquarters. I could spend a whole week at the United States so I took the opportunity in order to organise some further meetings in order to explore synergies and collaborations in the context of our SemaGrow project activities. I was trying to understand better the data problems and needs that organisations like the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) have, when they are trying to put together large amounts of heterogeneous information in order to help their researchers do their job.… Click to read the full post

The iMarine project: Open access, blue growth and infrastructure

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According to the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, Blue Growth is defined as “the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth. It is the maritime contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth“. The importance of the Blue Growth is obvious, taking into consideration that “the ‘blue’ economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year“.… Click to read the full post

Book Review: Disciplined Entrepreneurship

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One of the habits I have developed over the years is related to my summer reading! Each summer, before my holidays I select three books, one related to work, one remotely-related and one completely irrelevant. I won’t bore you with the other two, which were The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and Emotional Intelligence but I would like to spend some time letting you know about the work-related one which was Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet.

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Having read quite some other books on startups, I must admit that this book came as a surprise for me. It was definitely worth reading as it explained lots and lots of things that I was struggling with when applying some other methodologies in practice.… Click to read the full post

Opening up data for agriculture and nutrition: The GODAN initiative

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agINFRA_logo_newOne of the hottest topics during the last years have been Open Data. Open Data is a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development by improving the economic opportunities for farmers and the health of all consumers. There have been and still there are are numerous efforts in several sectors, which aim to open up existing data and ensure that future data will be published in an open and interoperable way.

There are several cases for the agricultural sector as well and the one that comes to my mind right now are the agINFRA and SemaGrow projects; the former aims to design the grid- and cloud-based infrastructure for facilitating the management and access to agricultural data of various types, as well as propose a linked open agricultural data framework for the publication of agricultural data as linked data (including data types such as bibliographic, educational, germplasm, soil data, etc.).… Click to read the full post

Open data on what people eat?

An example of an indicator: % of households in a country consuming iodised salt. Not much data there...

I received an interesting question from some good colleagues in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative: can we have access to data about what people eat? The question originally focused on whether there exists a central database and/or very large dataset (including multiple years/countries) capturing what people eat.  This means not just caloric consumption per person, but what they actually consume.  For example – today I have consumed a small apple, half small melon, 5 pieces bacon. This got me into a little bit of thinking: do we have access to such data? And from what type of sources?… Click to read the full post

Open Access Button: Tearing down barriers to accessing research

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One of the hottest topics in the context of research is Open Access; there are numerous events taking place each year all over the world, focusing on open access to scientific research and their data, highlighting issues, proposing solutions and approaches that can fit most purposes related to open access. Publications describing the issue are published every now and then, providing the status Terms like Gold & Green Open Access, self-archiving, institutional repositories, metadata, linked and open data, are really frequently discussed in related opportunities and alternative processes for review and publication of research papers are presented, usually as parts of processes integrated in open access journals.… Click to read the full post

A “Lean” War Room in AK

The importance of war rooms in times of warfare is proven for many many years now! The term “war room” is also used within the startup community and more specifically introduced in various approaches for customer and product development. Looking at a formal definition in Wikipedia, we see that:

command center or command centre (often called a war room) is any place that is used to provide centralized command for some purpose. While frequently considered to be a military facility, these can be used in many other cases by governments or businesses. A command center enables an organization to function as designed, to perform day-to-day operations regardless of what is happening around it, in a manner in which no one realizes it is there but everyone knows who is in charge when there is trouble.Click to read the full post