Living Lab Agrifood Technology is an initiative spearheaded by ILVO or the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. We work in close cooperation with a vast network of stakeholders. In Europe, the term ‘Living Lab’ denotes innovation ecosystems that advance practical innovation in diverse sectors through user co-creation and the integration of research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings. Living Lab Agrifood Technology focuses on developing state-of-the-art technology to improve the efficiency of agrifood processes in Flanders. However, our goal is also to reduce their impact on environmental sustainability.
This living lab is a certified member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). We have developed our approach in line with their framework.
The Living Lab Agrifood Technology advances hands-on innovation and makes sustainable solutions available to all actors in the agrifood sector. In practice, this means that the lab promotes the exchange of know-how between end-users (farmers, agricultural contractors and food processing companies) and suppliers such as technology companies. This unique and diverse network of stakeholders allows for co-creation through pilot experiments, for example. This multi-stakeholder approach allows participants to develop and improve their own ideas.
The goals of the living lab are:
- To facilitate and sustain the interaction between diverse actors in the agrifood sector through the co-creation of state-of-the-art and data-driven solutions
- To increase the adoption rate of sustainable technology and digitalization through demonstrations involving both suppliers and end-users and to map the needs and challenges in the field, which will allow us to improve processes used in agriculture, animal husbandry, and the food industry
- To spread the acquired expertise on state-of-the-art and sustainable technology and offer advice tailored to end-users
The Living Lab is part of the ILVO organisation, which means that we can count on the advanced and multidisciplinary knowledge of over 600 employees with expertise in agriculture and food science. Subsequently, we have access to the extensive ILVO infrastructure. It encompasses over 2000 hectares of fields, 15.000 square meters of greenhouses and 20.000 square meters of stables used for trial runs, a workshop for prototype building, over 40 accredited labs and the Food Pilot. This infrastructure is used for the design, development, evaluation and demonstration of new, data-driven technology.
Agrifood Technology can rely on a vast network of stakeholders. This network consists of farmers, food factories, practice and research centers, knowledge institutions, innovation hubs and policy makers, but also includes technology companies and manufacturing industries. Our close collaboration with Flanders Food (the platform for innovation and sustainability in the agrifood sector) and the Food Pilot provides us with valuable connections within the extensive network of food processing companies. The living lab is also embedded in the Flemish and European network for digital innovation. Our goal is to stimulate digital innovation in the Flemish agricultural sector, which corresponds with the mission of our trustee partner Smart Digital Farming.
Combine our expertise and infrastructure with an extensive network of stakeholders from the agrifood sector and you get a high quality and multidisdisciplinary approach as a result. This specialized approach enables Living Lab Agrifood Technology to push forward the use of state-of-the-art and sustainable technology in the Flemish agrifood sector. With your help, we can elevate the Flemish agrifood sector to the next level!
Did you know about the other unique ILVO Living Labs that we often collaborate with? We already mentioned Food Pilot, a lab that promotes innovation of recipe and process development in the food sector, but ILVO also has specialized living labs in the Animal Sciences Unit (poultry, cattle and pigs husbandry), and the Living Lab Plant, and Living Lab Agroecology and Organic Agriculture (LLAEBIO).