The Mediterranean Agri-Food Competence Center (MACC) is a new member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).
The Mediterranean Agri-Food Competence Center (MACC) is the newest member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), an organization supporting the concept of living innovation labs across Europe.
The aim of living innovation labs is to create synergies among various entities - academic, business, public, and private - to co-create, test, evaluate, and optimize new technologies, innovative products, and services in real-life conditions.
It is an ecosystem prioritizing functioning as an open mechanism for innovation production centered around the user - recipient. The success of the method lies in incorporating research into the real application environment through interaction with end-users from the early stages of its design.
The goal of ENoLL is to exchange knowledge through joint actions and collaborations among its members. The network consists of 480 members both in Europe and globally. The dissemination of the idea of living innovation labs at a global level through the implementation of relevant European Union policies is also among ENoLL's objectives.
Collaboration for Innovation
The network was established in 2006 as a non-profit organization and has since supported a range of innovation actions, serving as a collaboration platform among its stakeholders. By providing a range of services and privileges, it contributes to the development and implementation of innovative solutions, involving end-users from the beginning of the development process. This process provides valuable information to the research team concerning the identification of needs, preferences, and behaviors. Thus, it increases the likelihood of creating products and services that directly respond to the needs of the real economy and end-users.
Moreover, through interactions among involved parties, different perspectives are encouraged, leading to more effective solutions.
From Research and Development to Technology Transfer
Through research and development processes, market evaluation and needs assessment are simultaneously conducted concerning the planned innovation. The result is a saving of time and valuable material and immaterial resources. Alongside economies of scale, the method contributes to sustainability by promoting solutions compatible with environmental, social challenges, and sustainability goals.
In contrast to closed and traditional laboratories conducting research and producing innovation, another advantage of the Network's Labs is the direct transfer and exchange of technology and best practices among involved parties, thus reinforcing the concept of community, participation, and inclusivity.
The benefit of the living innovation labs is their ability to create a collaborative and dynamic environment that promotes innovative solutions that respond to the real needs of end-users and address social challenges.
MACC - SOIL: An Innovative Initiative
In this valuable effort, the Mediterranean Agri-Food Competence Center (MACC) will actively act on all levels concerning land and people.
As part of the Living Lab, already an innovative initiative of MACC for the Mediterranean region is MACC-SOIL. It is a holistic and collaborative approach to finding solutions and addressing soil degradation problems.
In the Region of Crete alone, 2,755,000 hectares are agricultural land. These areas, as well as the corresponding areas in the Southeastern Mediterranean in total, face significant environmental challenges such as climate change, drought, and pollution, which negatively affect soil quality.
The MACC-SOIL initiative represents a revolution in soil management practices with the aim of a comprehensive approach leading to sustainable health, resilience, and ultimately, the preservation of the environment in the region of Crete and the Southeastern Mediterranean in general.
MACC-SOIL, Holistic Approach to Precision Agriculture
The holistic approach includes the utilization of knowledge in the fields of agriculture, environment, materials science, informatics, as well as marketing, economics, and other scientific areas. Through the Quadruple Helix collaboration model involving entities from universities, businesses, local government, and society itself, the Living Labs - MACC Soil acts as a catalyst that triggers a series of initiatives.
Starting from extensive soil assessments, continuing with the development of predictive models, and ending with policy support and the implementation of technologies in primary sector activities, such as Precision Agriculture and Organic Farming, the Living Lab organizes a series of actions with significant social impact, emphasizing community awareness and hosting training programs.
Through strategic planning, MACC's Living Lab assesses the soil throughout Crete, conducts predictive analyses for its degradation trends, collaborates with local farmers for the pilot implementation of advanced management technologies. Moreover, it promotes research and development collaborations with local universities, raises public awareness, and actively seeks funding to support its initiatives.
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