Panel Discussion Explores Space-enabled Technologies for Innovation in Agriculture

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23 May 2024, UK: The Embassy of Switzerland in the UK in collaboration with CABI has organised a panel discussion and networking reception to explore how space-enabled technologies can be used to boost innovation in agriculture and improve food security.

On behalf of His Excellency Mr Markus Leitner, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK, Dr Lutz-Peter Berg, Head of Science and Innovation, Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, and former Chair of the CABI Executive Council welcomed over 50 guests to the event in London.

Among invited guests were H.E. Mr Vishnu Dhanpaul, High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago and Chair of CABI Executive Council, and representatives from CABI’s Member Countries, researchers, policy makers and partner organisations of both the Swiss Embassy and CABI.

Earth observation satellites

The panel discussion, held at the Swiss Embassy, focussed on the use of earth observation data in agricultural production and environmental protection and highlighted the importance of convening multi-sector, multi partner consortia to create impactful outcomes using these data.

It featured Dr Bryony Taylor, CABI’s Head of Data Sciences and Modelling, Kristian Doolan, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at Farmer Connect, and Andy Shaw, Director, and Principal Consultant at Assimila Ltd.

Dr Hugh Mortimer, Associate Director of the National Laboratories, Science and Technology Facilities Council, moderated the panel discussion.

Dr Mortimer posed questions to the panellists that included asking how agriculture and the environment benefit from the use of space-enabled technologies and earth observation data.

Promote the sustainability of projects

Furthermore, Dr Mortimer asked how partnerships – for example, between countries, public and private sectors – help to promote the sustainability of projects using these technologies and earth observation data.

The panel was also asked to consider what feasible business models exist for earth observation applications as well as who pays, who benefits and how are benefits for farmers ensured.

They also discussed what type of intermediaries might be required to manage the application of such technologies.

Finally, Dr Mortimer took questions from the floor focussing on how these data can be linked to soil health, the importance of funding long term experiments providing ground validation data and how AI can be applied in the sector before the networking reception.

Innovation and collaborative partnerships

Dr Daniel Elger, CABI CEO, said, “This event provided a great opportunity to explore the increasing role of space-enabled technologies in agriculture worldwide and ways to ensure that the benefits of this innovation are widely shared.”

“I’m grateful to the Embassy of Switzerland for hosting and co-organising the event and pleased that many of CABI’s Member Countries were able to join the discussion.”

Dr Berg, said, “Hosting such an event aligns well with Switzerland’s science and innovation strengths, and the chosen topic is of strategic importance to future innovation in agriculture.

“Our Embassy was therefore pleased to host, and co-organise this event with CABI, promoting scientific exchange and networking among CABI Member Countries, and our partners.”

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