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"'Innovation Brokers', mediators between research and businesses"

A stimulating afternoon at the Innovation Farm Pavilion, at the Madonnino Fair, featured the conference "Innovation in Agritech - A Research Perspective". Academics and industry experts offered an in-depth view of the future of technological agriculture, shedding light on the new frontiers of agricultural innovation.

Organized by Beeco, an Italian innovation ecosystem, the event was led by Prof. Angelo Riccaboni, President of the PRIMA Foundation, Barcelona, and Santa Chiara Lab, UniSi, Co-Chair UN SDSN Europe, Paris.

Riccaboni highlighted the growing interconnection between the academic and business worlds, a significant evolution compared to twenty years ago. He also emphasized the inherent complexities of the interaction between academia and industry, particularly regarding the precision of corporate expectations for innovation. These meetings, often complex, underscore the need to concretely apply innovations even after the conclusion of funded projects.

To overcome these challenges, "we are trying to introduce new professional figures, the 'Innovation Brokers', mediators between research and businesses who facilitate constructive dialogue to solve farmers' concrete problems through applicable innovation. This solution represents an essential paradigm shift: instead of imposing solutions from above, it is suggested to establish horizontal collaboration that aims to solve specific problems through applicable and concrete innovation," specifies Professor Riccaboni.

During the event, distinguished academics discussed the future of agricultural technology. Alessandro Parenti, from the University of Florence, examined the potential of the oil mill system, underlining the importance of improving transformation processes. Alberto Pardossi, from the University of Pisa, discussed innovations in protected crops such as vertical farming, highlighting the benefits in terms of water use and environmental impacts.

Claudio Cantini, researcher at the CNR, illustrated how technology transfer must be oriented towards the real needs of companies. Marco Mancini, from the University of Florence, emphasized the importance of precision agriculture in company operations.

Danilo Monarca, from the University of Tuscia, discussed the need for innovation for resilience to climate change.

Finally, Stefano Giordano, from the University of Pisa, analyzed the role of agritech verticals in the transformation of telecommunications.

This conference represented a significant turning point, demonstrating the joint commitment of academics and professionals towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced agricultural future. Constructive dialogue, innovative solutions, and continuous exchange between research and practice promise to lead agriculture towards a new era of efficiency and environmental responsibility.


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