New project “AgriDataSpace” to create European data space for agriculture
Launched in Paris, on October 4, AgriDataSpace will coordinate a preparatory action to pave the way for the European data space for agriculture. The project, coordinated by Agdatahub, aims to facilitate data exchange, processing, and analysis in a secured, trusted, transparent and responsible manner to create new opportunities for monitoring and optimising natural resource use, stimulating data-driven innovations. Fraunhofer IESE is taking on the role of Technical Manager for the overall project. A particular focus will be on the coordination and harmonization of the technical architecture of data spaces for agriculture. In addition, IESE will be in charge of creating the “Technology Canvas”, a public report on data, models, and interoperability solutions as technological enablers for the implementation of data spaces for agriculture.
Agri systems are transforming into a food data economy grounded in data spaces
Data-driven innovations and data platforms are transforming the economy and society. They reshape the way we produce, consume, and share food. Changes are fast and profound. Benefits of data-driven agri-food innovations are expected in every aspect of our lives, ranging from more personalized and healthy diets to more transparency about the food we are offered and more customized, local, and sustainable food production.
While these changes are promising, the digital transformation of agri-food systems does not concur in Europe as quickly as expected. Whether this happens and to what extent, will depend on encompassing technological and socio-economic developments, which are closely intertwined. There is a need for design principles and a clear roadmap towards fair, inclusive data spaces which support sustainable food systems in Europe.
The European Agricultural Data Space
The European Agricultural Data Space is of great importance for the increased availability and interoperability of data, not only within the sector, but also across multiple sectors, providing opportunities in terms of added value creation and services potentially resulting from the utilisation of the data. In this regard, AgriDataSpace will prepare the future implementation of a common European agricultural data space aiming to bring together all relevant stakeholders and Member States, define clear governance structures and business models and achieve consensus in a broad network.
Need for sustainable governance and business models
Data sharing initiatives are emerging in the agri-food system, but all of them are struggling to find a sustainable business model. Moreover, when connecting data sharing platforms in a federation, new federated business models are necessary, involving the whole chain from farm to fork: When thinking of governance of agricultural data spaces, technical, legal, ethical, socio-economic, and business aspects need to be considered. But also, from the farmers’ point of view, to fully deploy the possibilities of data sharing, it is important to connect with the rest of the agri-food system. Reaching out to the consumer offers great potential for farmers to communicate not only the quality of their products, but also their commitment to sustainability.
In that sense, AgriDataSpace is focused on engaging all key stakeholders and together co-design the roadmap, governance, and business models of the European Agriculture Data Space to tackle the key challenges of sharing data in agriculture, such as the reluctance to share data, dominance of large platforms and fragmentation.
Building trust through farmers’ consent
An important aspect of the Data Space is the enforcement of data sovereignty for the farmer as data originator according to the EU Code of Conduct on agricultural data sharing. For this purpose, AgriDataSpace will provide the farmer with the necessary tools to give consent on the use of the data by a network of data intermediaries and to stay in full control of their data and, if desirable, also add independent, federated storage solutions for the farmers.
The AgriDataSpace consortium brings together an excellent team of experts from leading research institutes, agriculture data intermediaries and industry associations representing 10 countries that are rooted in the EU data space ecosystem. In close interaction with a vast stakeholder community, representing all Member States and relevant ecosystem players, the project aspires to explore and compare a series of Code of Conducts on agriculture data sharing (EU, Australia, USA, New Zealand) to provide solid mechanisms that can take care of possible power imbalances and will guarantee fair compensation to all involved actors and a trustful environment that incentivises participation.
Building a European framework for the secure and trusted data space for agriculture
To increase the competitiveness of all the relevant Data Space stakeholders, AgriDataSpace will work on providing:
- a framework for effective and efficient data exchange, supporting the decoupling of data producers and data consumers;
- a reference conceptual architecture and technology canvas ensuring compatibility and interoperability;
- a governance scheme for defining and enforcing agreements on the use of data (including potential monetization of both data provision and data use);
- facilitated access to the digital single market supported by the right regulatory conditions;
- a structure for trustworthiness, in which data consumers and data providers can share their business interests on the basis of common ethical values; and
- business models that could include data as a service, insight as a service, and analytics-enabled as a service.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.