agINFRA: the successful end of a project & the vision for an EU agri-food research hub

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agINFRA_logoFollowing the successful path of our previous ICT-PSP projects Natural Europe and Organic.Lingua, our flagship agINFRA project received excellent remarks during its final review meeting for its overall outcomes and is now successfully over with a green card – that’s three-in-a-row! The consolidated report, sent by the Project Officer Darko Karacic and circulated among the consortium by the project’s coordinator Prof. Miguel-Angel Sicilia was received a couple of days ago and put a smile to our faces 🙂

Indeed, by February 2015, the agINFRA project came to its end. The project, which started in October 2011, was a 3-year research project co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7 Programme). The project aimed to introduce agricultural scientific communities to the vision of open and participatory data-intensive science. Working on enhancing the interoperability between heterogeneous data sources, the agINFRA project has left a set of grid- and cloud- based services that can be reused by future initiatives and adopted by existing ones, in order to facilitate the dissemination of agricultural research, educational and other types of data. On top of that, agINFRA provided a set of domain-specific recommendations for the publication of agri-food research outcomes (both publications and research data).

After all, the agINFRA project was included in the European Commission Action Plan for the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture (on April 29-30, 2013) as part of its commitment to deliver open access to publicly funded agriculturally relevant data for users in Africa and around the world.

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This is what we mean by a green card!

 

Apart from its brand-new developments, agINFRA supported a number of key services that are already available and serve the agri-food research community, such as FAO AGRIS, CIARD RING and FAO AIMS, among others.

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There is an interesting story behind the preparation of the project’s proposal (but I hope that it will be shared in another dedicated blog post by those who have actually worked on that – for whom the bell tolls?). Throughout the lifetime of the project, Agro-Know team members served multiple roles, including the management, implementation of technical solutions, methodology and metadata management, among others; we have put so much time and effort on this project that we were really glad to see that rewarded with an excellent set of remarks during and after the 3rd (and final) project review meeting.

So what happens next?

One of the issues of the EU funded projects is that their outcomes is usually not sustainable and not sustained by the project partners after the end of the project (which leads to the related end of funding); thousand-euro portals are left unattended, digital repositories disappear, publications are scattered everywhere and the last to suspend into dusk is the project website.

However, this seems not to be the case with agINFRA; through a well-studied sustainability plan, agINFRA aims to make use of the project’s outcomes and become the EU hub for agricultural research outcomes (both publications and data). The publication of the agINFRA open access recommendations for the agri-food research community is a nice start in this direction.

Even though it is still early to show some actual progress, the Agro-Know team is working on the implementation of the sustainability plan and we expect to have some good news to share with you within the next months; this will be supported by projects that are currently running. In the meantime, just stay tuned for more info!

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