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Coordinator (Networked, cluster organization)
via Piero Gobetti, 101, 40129, Bologna (Italy)
ASTER-DIH is a non-profit consortium made up of the Regional Emilia-Romagna Government and the most relevant innovation players on Emilia-Romagna territory (Universities, RTO's, formation centers, industrial associations). The nature of ASTER-DIH let it operate as a Digital Innovation Hub at a regional level in Emilia-Romagna Region, also being a point of contact for innovation-oriented actions from other Italian and European regions. ASTER-DIH offers the connection of its shareholders and the integration of initiatives, services and opportunities to exploit infrastructures, knowledge, experiences for the sake of both companies and providers (of facilities, services, training, etc.). ASTER-DIH connects actors and services in order to cover a number of digital technologies domains and provide the right services according to meet client needs (business and public administration). It gets to a specialised offer based on the qualified technical competencies of its partners, complemented by services provided by other actors, with a special focus on TRL from 3 to 8. This role is positively supported by ASTER’s shareholders.
ASTER-DIH supports the Digital Innovation in Emilia-Romagna actong as a coordinator of his shareholder’s initiatives. More in details, ASTER-DIH:
- supports Regional Authority in the definition of the Data Economy Regional Strategic Programme;
- coordinates, supports, and is founding member of the High Technology Network ( https://www.retealtatecnologia.it/en/ )
- coordinates the Clust-ER activity (https://www.retealtatecnologia.it/clust-er);
- is responsible of the training of PIDs (Digital Entreprise Points- https://www.puntoimpresadigitale.camcom.it/) in Emilia-Romagna, part of the National Plan for Industry 4.0;
- acts in its role of founder and Board of Directors Member of Associazione Big Data;
- acts as founder and strategic board member of BI-REX (National Competence Centre);
- leads the Artificial Intelligence and Human-Machine Interface TSSP Industrial Modernisation Thematic Area;
- acts as member of the Strategic Forum for Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) established by DG Grow ;
- organizes R2B events aimed at linking SMEs to scientific and technical research from the local universities and RTO’s, the most relevant being the annual R2B event (https://www.rdueb.it/rdueb19/pages/home/)
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
National Strategic Plan for promoting 4.0 technologies in enterprises (Impresa 4.0) launched in 2016 is one of the most important initiatives that is being carried on by the Italian government to support industry digitization. The Plan offers a set of opportunities to companies that are investing in Industry 4.0 (from incentives to investments to funds for skills adaptation), mainly on the following enabling technologies: Advanced Manufacturing Solution, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality, Simulation, Horizontal/Vertical Integration, Industrial Internet, Cloud, Cyber-security and Big Data Analytics. The Impresa 4.0 plan also addresses the creation of networks of entities (Competence Centres and Digital Innovation Hubs) that are offering services for digitalisation at different TRL levels, coherently with the actions promoted at European level.
In Emilia-Romagna the National initiative is integrated with several regional complementary initiatives and measures aiming at meeting a whole set of needs and widening the feasibility and effectiveness of interventions, including:
● Important computational infrastructures used by companies for simulation (new materials, digital twins, etc): 1 Tier1 Datacenter at INFN-CNAF, 3 HPC center at CINECA, hosting the Tier0 cluster MARCONI, a Tier1 cluster GALILEO and an experimental cluster DAVIDE, dedicated to Big Data processing and Artificial Intelligence application testing by academic and industrial research;
● The Big Data Technopole, located in Bologna, that thanks to regional and national investments, is going to host the data centre of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF);
● The Big Data Association, recently established in order to integrate the big data and artificial intelligence facilities and skills for the interest of local and national organizations.
● BI-REX, the National Competence Centre based in Bologna, focusing on Big Data application for Manufacturing;
● The networks of the DIH and PID (Punti Impresa Digitale - Digital Entreprise Points) established by the local entrepreneurial association and chambers of commerce in the framework of Impresa 4.0 plan;
● The infrastructure programme of the regional Digital Agenda facilitating the actions foreseen by the National UltraBroadband Plan with local interventions devoted to cover areas with limited economic potential, so as to decrease the digital-divide. Currently (AGCOM, 2018) 97% of the population is reached by broadband (33% coverage up to 30 Mbps) and/or ultralarge (35% of the population has coverage from 30 to 100 Mbps and the remaining 29% exceeds 100 Mbps). The regional population in digital divide is 3%, which rises to 8% in mountain municipalities;
● The Smart Specialization Strategy that addresses digitalization - with specific funds - in the most important (in terms of economic and social value and potential) thematic areas, namely: Mechatronics, Agrifood, Constructions, Life Science and Cultural and Creative Industries;
The High Technology Network, set up with the support of 2007-2013 ERDF, consisting of 96 facilities of which 82 industrial research laboratories and 14 innovation centres: 58 industrial research labs offer digitalization solutions based on research results;
● The Clust-ER initiative, that foresaw the creation of associations of public and private bodies - companies, research centres and training institutions – aiming at supporting the competitiveness of regional industries in the S3 priority areas plus two transversal areas (Energy and Sustainable Development and Service Innovation), includes Clust-ERs operating on a value chains and related strategic objectives among which digital manufacturing and artificial intelligence, digital platforms for innovation, cybersecurity;
● The Emilia-Romagna High Skills Plan, using ESF funds for PhD courses, research fellowships and Masters,Together with 86 Graduate Courses, 37 Doctoral Courses and 26 Master Programmes related to digitalisation;
● The Cyber Academy in Modena, the Industry 4.0 Executive Programmes of the Bologna Business School, the Doctoral School in Data Science and Computation, promoted by the University of Bologna (UNIBO) and the Golinelli Foundation and the Master course in Supply Chain Management and Digital Innovation of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza branch;
● SMILE, the Digital Innovation Hub supported by I4MS initiative;
● CINECA, tutor of I4MS and member of the Fortissimo consortium;
Then, in Emilia-Romagna (and in Italy) there are several different initiatives aiming at supporting the digitalization, deriving from local, national and European programmes and plans. Such initiatives are in general complementary but sometimes overlap, requiring support to potential users enabling a correct usage of the different tools and, in general terms, a guide to make more effective the whole system.
Within this framework operates also ASTER, the Consortium for innovation and technology transfer of Emilia-Romagna, whose shareholders are: the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government, the six Universities and the National Research Centres located in the region (the National Research Council-CNR, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development-ENEA, the National Institute for Nuclear Physics-INFN), the Regional Union of Chambers of Commerce, working in collaboration with regional Business Associations and Innovation Centres.
ASTER-DIH is based on the experience and capacities of ASTER, and the ones of the regional stakeholders, aiming at expanding the positive effects of the variety of existing assets and tools. Integrated services are organised based on the existing actions implemented by local and national organizations.
Market and Services
- Agriculture, hunting and forestry
- Public administration and defence
- Manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco
- Manufacture of textiles and textile products
- Manufacture of rubber and plastic products
- Manufacture of machinery and equipment
- Manufacture of transport equipment
- Other markets
- TRL4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
- TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
- TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
- TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- TRL8 - Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration
- Awareness creation
- Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
- Visioning and Strategy Development for Businesses
- Collaborative Researchs
- Digital Maturity Assessment
- Incubator/accelerator support
- Access to Funding and Investor Readiness Services
- Education and skills development
Support to SMEs in R&D projects
Clients profiles: Start-ups and SMEs with core competence in ICT and 3D solutions
Clients needs: Seek financial resources and specific knowledge for developing prototypes, R&D projects, new products and services in the field of ICT and 3D solutions
Support to SMEs in:
- finding grants for financing of prototypes and development of R&D projects in ICT sector, with focus in ICT disruptive/advanced technologies and 3D solutions in healthcare sector
- understanding participating rules
- preparing the applications for SME Instrument
- grant management
SMEs needs and research facilities matching
Following some of the successful cases of innovation cases started from a matching of needs and facilities/expertise/knowledge offers.
You can find more detailed information on www.aster.it/en/aster-dih
Case 1: biomedical sector
Clients: Medica SpA (SME - www.quix.it) and MIST E-R (laboratory - http://www.laboratoriomister.it/en/)
Client needs: development of a new dialyses machine
Medica SpA (500 employees) operates in the biomedical sector, with special focus on digital contents, enhanced-automation and high-precision assembly machines for the biomedical sector. MIST E-R lab produces multi-purpose micro- and nano-sensors, is partner of Medica for many research projects. In the framework of High Technology Network they usually cooperate. One of the most relevant projects is about the development and deployment of an innovative dialysis machine, able to perform its function providing less impact on the patient, making use of innovative membranes for more selective blood analysis and on data-driven adaptive behavior of the machine looking and the patient conditions.
Case 2: energy efficiency
Clients: Pieri SRL (www.pieri.it/) and Rinnova Lab (Laboratory - https://www.rinnova-er.it/)
Clients needs: Pieri SRL needed to enhance the energy efficiency at shop-floor and to realize new products to satisfy customer's objectives addressed to environmental issues.
Pieri SRL is a SME from Cesena, and is one of the leaders in the packaging sector in Emilia-Romagna Region. They exploit the knowledge coming from academic research to anticipate the market changes and then develop new products just in time for the market needs. Rinnova is acknowledged as a laboratory of the High Technology Network, and its main focus is the improvement of energetic efficiency in many fields. The need to improve their production chain energy efficiency by Pieri SRL and the availability of knowledge and facilities by Rinnova met thank to the High Tecnology Network related initiatives. They created a service to meter, to manage in order to reduce environmental impact of packaging, in every stage of the value-chain, starting from raw material and ending to final user. Their collaboration has been promoted, fostered and supported by ASTER.
Case 3: ICT solutions
Clients: QUIX (SME - www.quix.it/) and Datariver (Innovation ICT Lab - www.datariver.it/en/)
Client need: QUIX needed to develop new, innovative products for their market
Quix is a SME from Modena, activne in ICT consuklting and innovative software development. Datariver is a software Lab belonging to the High Technology Network, spin-off of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, focused on exploitation of big data to enhance productivity and safety in many industrial sectors. Their collaboration started from the need by QUIX to develop new software solutions. They developed two prototypes for two different products, Qery and Qform, now on the market, developing and testing them at the Datariver Lab. They met in the framework of High Technology Network initiatives, and their collaboration project has been supported and fostered by ASTER.
Case 4: Agri-food
Clients: OPEN FIELDS (SME - http://www.openfields.it/en/) and SITEIA (inter-departmental academic lab - http://www.centritecnopolo.unipr.it/siteiaparma/)
Client needs: creating innovative ingredients, healthy and environmentally sustainability.
OPEN FIELDS is a SME leader in Technology Transfer in Agri-food sector in Emilia-Romagna. OPEN FIELDS met the SITEIA laboratory via the High Technology Network initiatives. Thanks to SITEIA’s facilities and OpenFields market knowledge, they were allowed to develop innovative ingredients for food sector industries, caring of strong environmental and customer’s health constraints, obtaining amazing results also thanks to the digitalisation of the production chain.
Here is a library of videointerview to SMEs representatives regarding their experience wit the High Technology Network and ASTER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg01sS4hM5s&list=PLE_AMewKQF1yfEZBh7z17sngH95bTNNBVMore details: https://www.aster.it/en/aster-dih/cases-success
Supporting industrial exploitation of INCLUSIVE (Smart and adaptive interfaces for INCLUSIVE work environment) H2020 project results
Clients profiles: 3 local companies operating in different production sectors.
Clients needs: introduce smart elements for INCLUSIVE work environment in their industrial process, applying the results of the INCLUSIVE project
Support to companies in:
ASTER is a partner of the INCLUSIVE project, funded under H2020-FoF framework, which aims to develop a new concept of interaction between the user and a manufacturing system in which the behavior of the automation system adapts to human operator capabilities. ASTER is in charge of innovation related activities, supporting the industrial exploitation of project results applied to 3 use cases in 3 companies working in different sectors:
- production of woodworking machines for small companies and artisan shops;
- development and production of robotic cells for panel bending;
- development and production of automated guided vehicles for logistics and automatic material handling in production and storage environment.
Setup of Technopoles and High Technology Network in Emilia-Romagna
Clients profiles: Regional industrial and academic ecosystem, SMEs and startups
Clients needs: Easy connection between academic/industrial research, public/private research facilities, testing labs, industrial testers, companies interested in innovation, newly born startups.
Setup of the High Technology Network in E-R
Boasting both a national and international dimension but firmly rooted in the region and its economic system, the Emilia-Romagna High-Technology Network is already capable of effectively and professionally addressing business sector needs. The Network is composed of 82 Industrial research laboratories and 14 Innovation centres operating in the following fields: agri-food, construction, energy and environment, ICT and design, life science, mechanics and materials. The laboratories are hosted within the Technopoles: 10 infrastructures located throughout the territory that stem from an initiative of the Region in collaboration with ASTER, universities, research centres and local authorities. They organize activities and services for industrial research, technology transfer and for the development of high skills and careers on innovation.
Technopoles have been recognized by the European Commission as best practice of European Funds use in the programming period 2007-2013.More details: https://www.aster.it/en/aster-dih/support-digital-innovation-emilia-romagna
(part of) Public organization (part of RTO, or university)
Number of employees
- Horizon 2020
- European Social Fund
- European Regional Development Fund
- National specific innovation funding
- Regional funding
Number of customers annually
Type of customers
- Start-up companies
- SMEs (<250 employees)
- MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
- Large companies, multi-nationals
- Research organisations
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI MODENA E REGGIO EMILIA
CINECA CONSORZIO INTERUNIVERSITARIO
Research & Technology organization
Università di Bologna
Università degli studi di Ferrara
Università degli studi di Parma
Emilia-Romagna Regional Government
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
Research & Technology organization
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Research & Technology organization
Chamber of Commerce
Associazione Big Data
Laboratorio Nazionale di Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems
Research & Technology organization
Research & Technology organization
- Robotics and autonomous systems
- Internet of Things (e.g. connected devices, sensors and actuators networks)
- Artificial Intelligence and cognitive systems
- Interaction technologies (e.g. human-machine Interaction, motion recognition and language technologies)
- Advanced or High performance computing
- Data mining, big data, database management
- Augmented and virtual reality, visualization
- Simulation and modelling
- Cloud computing
- Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
- ICT management, logistics and business systems
Factories of the Future Resources, Technology, Infrastructure and Services for Simulation and Modelling 2Factories of the Future Resources, Technology, Infrastructure and Services for Simulation and Modelling 2
Fortissimo 2 will drive the uptake of advanced modelling, simulation and data analytics by European engineering and manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps. Such an uptake will deliver improved design processes, better products and services, and improved competitiveness. For the European Union as a whole this means improved employment opportunities and economic growth.
The importance of advanced ICT to the competitiveness of both large and small companies in the engineering and manufacturing domain is well established. Despite early successes in this area, there are still many barriers to the uptake of such solutions, not least of which are the initial cost and complexity of adoption, particularly in the context of challenging trading conditions. This proposal targets the ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS) action line (Phase 2) and builds on Phase 1 of that initiative.
Phase 2 addresses the adoption of next generation ICT advances in the manufacturing domain. At the core of Fortissimo 2 are three tranches of Application Experiments (~35 in total). An initial set is included in this proposal and two further sets will be obtained through Open Calls for proposals. These experiments will be driven by the requirements of first-time users (predominately SMEs) and will bring together actors from across the value chain, from cycle providers to domain experts via the Fortissimo Marketplace. This will enable innovative solutions to manufacturing challenges, leading to new and improved design processes, products and services. A key feature of Fortissimo 2 will be the adaption of the Marketplace to meet the needs of end-users. It will offer a responsive and reliable service to companies which want to access HPC and Big resources and expertise.
Fortissimo 2 initially involves 732 months of effort, a total cost of €11.1m and EC funding of €10m over a duration of three years, commensurate with achieving its ambitious goals.
Empowering Photonics through Regional Innovation Strategies in EuropeEmpowering Photonics through Regional Innovation Strategies in Europe
EPRISE project aims to promote and support Photonics as a KET with focus on Life Science applications in 4 target markets where Europe holds a leading position – Medical Technologies, Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture and Food. Companies developing photonics-based products for these markets face highly specific Go-to-Market challenges such as long time to market adoption, complex regulatory frameworks and high barriers to market entry to name but a few.
They are often in need of support from public funding to help them cross the “Valley of death” between innovation ready phase (TRL 4), and investment ready phase (TRL 7). During this time, they are also in need of advice from market specific experts who can guide them on non-technological (business) topics.
EPRISE consortium will organise a “European Photonics Roadshow”, a series of 7 major events hosted by European regions, with the aim of providing SMEs with concrete solutions from market experts on how to overcome market barriers and boosting collaboration along the complete value chain via pre-arranged B2B meetings.
Photonics clusters involved in EPRISE have both local connections and technology understanding to set-up, together with Regional Authorities, an efficient framework that will encourage creation of funding synergies between regional and European funds in order to better exploit potential of European Photonics industry. The project aims to provide regional policy makers with an overview of funding synergies to be considered in the current or following Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
Furthermore, the project aims to establish a formal collaboration with the ongoing European Photonics projects offering technology support (ActPhast, Pix4Life) that can address potential technology issues linked to SMEs access to market.
ACceleraTing PHotonics innovAtion for SME’s: a one STop-shop-incubatorACceleraTing PHotonics innovAtion for SME’s: a one STop-shop-incubator
ACTPHAST 4.0 (ACceleraTing PHotonics innovAtion for SMEs: a one STop-shop-incubator) is a unique photonics innovation incubator for Europe which is perfectly aligned with the needs of SMEs in overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities afforded by the new digital revolution of Industry 4.0 in which photonics technologies are a key enabler. ACTPHAST 4.0 will directly support the broader and faster take-up of photonics by a critical mass of SMEs by providing action-oriented solutions on two complementary levels, driven by the business needs of the companies: (i) ready-made access to rapid prototyping services using the top photonics technologies and expert know-how of Europe’s leading photonics competence centers covering the entire integrated supply chain of photonics technology platform capabilities to make deep interventions in the SMEs’ new product development through focused short-duration co-innovation projects; combined with (ii) professional coaching on the technical, business and financial aspects of the innovation process, from concept feasibility through to a mass-manufacturable marketable product. ACTPHAST 4.0 is designed to ensure that all of Europe’s SMEs, in particular first users and early adopters across a wide range of end user industries, have open access to the incubator for timely, efficient and cost-effective photonics innovation support. As a result, ACTPHAST 4.0 expects to boost photonics innovation in Europe at a scale and with a leveraging factor never seen before, delivering a substantial increase in the revenues, venture capital and jobs across all of the supported companies. In addition, through its tight links with the EU pilot lines, as well as its collaboration with smart “first mover” regions across the EU on best practices for co-funding on SME innovation, ACTPHAST 4.0 will act as a game-changer in revitalizing European manufacturing and as one of the vital catalysts to the successful digitization of European industry.
Being safe around collaborative and versatile robots in shared spacesBeing safe around collaborative and versatile robots in shared spaces
Increasing demand from the growing and aging population can be assuaged by ever closer safe human-robot collaboration (HRI): to improve productivity, reduce health limitations and provide services. HRI and safety are both major topics in the Work Programme. Safety regulations will be a barrier to cobot deployment unless they are easy to access, understand and apply. COVR collates existing safety regulations relating to cobots in e.g. manufacturing and fills in regulatory gaps for newer cobot fields e.g. rehabilitation to present detailed safety assessment instructions to coboteers. Making the safety assessment process clearer allows cobots to be used with more confidence in more situations, increasing the variety of cobots on the market and the variety of services cobots can offer to the general population.
TRYG provides a one-stop shop which uses a common approach to safety assessment and is valid across all fields and applications. TRYG will provide clear and simple online access to best-practice safety testing protocols via a user-friendly decision tree, guided by questions about the cobot and its intended behaviours. Resulting application-specific testing protocols specify how to assess safety and document compliance with regulations.
We support coboteers by providing safety-relevant services based in well-equipped facilities at each partner site. TRYG services cover all stages of cobot development from design through final system sign-off to safety in use and maintenance, provided through consultancy, risk analysis, actual testing, workshops, courses, demonstrations, etc. – all designed to inspire people to increase cobot safety.
All TRYG elements will be beta-tested by external cobot developers etc. financed by FSTP. By using project elements “live”, these FSTP beneficiaries not only develop their cobots further towards market, but also contribute their knowledge to the TRYG system and provide valuable feedback to both partners and standards developers.
Connecting the dots to unleash the innovation potential for digital transformation of the European agri-food sectorConnecting the dots to unleash the innovation potential for digital transformation of the European agri-food sector
SmartAgriHubs is dedicated to accelerate the digital transformation of the European agri-food sector. It will consolidate, activate and extend the current ecosystem by building a network of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) that will boost the uptake of digital solutions by the farming sector. This will be achieved by integrating technology and business support in a local one-stop-shop approach involving all regions and all relevant players in Europe. The heart of the project is formed by 28 flagship innovation experiments demonstrating digital innovations in agriculture, facilitated by DIHs from 9 Regional Clusters including all European member states. Concurrently, SmartAgriHubs will improve the maturity of innovation services of DIHs so that digital innovations will be replicated across Europe and widely adopted by European farmers. A lean multi-actor approach focusing on user acceptability, stakeholder engagement and sustainable business models will boost technology and market readiness levels and bring user adoption to the next level. This will be enhanced by synergetic effects between SmartAgriHubs and RIS3, since SmartAgriHubs will work in lock step with European regions to maximize the return of European investments, including regional structural funds and private capital. Open Calls with a total budget of ±6 M€ will expand the network and ensure that technological developments and emerging challenges of the agri-food sector are incorporated in the DIH service portfolio. SmartAgriHubs’ inclusive structure and ambitious targets will bring the entire European ecosystem together, connecting the dots to ensure global leadership for Europe in the AgTech market. The consortium, led by Wageningen Research and other partners of previous key projects such as IoF2020, FIWARE, S3P Agri-Food and I4MS, will leverage the existing ecosystem and guarantee a maximum ROI for European taxpayers and a vital agri-food sector producing adequate and safe food for future generations.
agROBOfood: Business-Oriented Support to the European Robotics and Agri-food Sector, towards a network of Digital Innovation Hubs in RoboticsagROBOfood: Business-Oriented Support to the European Robotics and Agri-food Sector, towards a network of Digital Innovation Hubs in Robotics
agROBOfood is dedicated to accelerate the digital transformation of the European agri-food sector through the adoption of robotic technologies. It will consolidate, extend and strengthen the current ecosystem by establishing a sustainable network of DIHs. This will boost the uptake of robotic solutions by the agri-food sector: a huge challenge requiring an inclusive approach involving all relevant European players. The agROBOfood consortium has 39 partners, led by Wageningen University & Research and other core partners of previous key projects such as IoF2020, ROBOTT-NET, PicknPack and I4MS, to leverage the ecosystem that was established in those projects. The heart of the project is formed by Innovation Experiments (IEs), organized and monitored by the DIHs. In each of the 7 Regional Clusters, an initial IE will demonstrate the robotics innovations in agri-food in a manner that ensures replicability across Europe, wide adoption and sustainability of the DIHs network. agROBOfood will work in lockstep with the European robotics community, ensuring synergetic effects with initiatives such as EU-Robotics. This will maximize the return of European, including private capital, investments in the digital transformation of agri-food. A key instrument to achieve this objective is the Industrial Advisory Board. They will provide strategic guidance and also define priorities for the selection of solutions to be funded. Open Calls of 8MEUR will attract additional Innovation Experiments (12) and Industrial Challenges (8). These will expand the network and ensure that vast technological developments and emerging challenges of the agri-food sector are incorporated in the service portfolio of DIHs. Through its inclusive structure and ambitious targets, agROBOfood aims to bring the entire European ecosystem together; connecting the dots in a way that ensures effective adoption of robotics technologies in the European agri-food sector.