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innovation support service
Innovation support services play a central part in stimulating innovation for agriculture and forestry. They can bring the right partners together to collaborate and help project results reach a wider audience. Agrifood Technology Park 3A-PTA gives innovation support to Operational Groups and other innovative projects in the Italian region of Umbria, connecting different players in the innovation chain for maximal impact.
The Umbria Agrifood Technology Park (3A-PTA) provides innovation support for the agricultural, food and forestry sectors in the “green heart” of Italy. The centre currently supports 13 EIP-AGRI Operational Groups and more than 40 other innovation projects in the region. 3A-PTA organises events to bring farmers, researchers and agrifood businesses together and let them share their innovation needs. “We look for suitable partnerships, help define project ideas, and assist partners in solving problems in all project phases”, says Dr. Luciano Concezzi, Head of the 3A-PTA Innovation and Research department. “We help spread project results more broadly at local, national and European level by putting the partnerships in contact with national rural networks and the EIP-AGRI network.”
The centre has extensive expertise in building partnerships and fostering networks involving farmers, agrifood companies, advisers and research centres. “Many of these connections became stable and helped form an innovation culture that allowed 3A-PTA to further support innovative collaboration in Umbrian agriculture”, Luciano continues. “We are now using this expertise to support the region in managing Measure 16.1 and regional Operational Groups in the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.”
One of the projects supported by 3A-PTA is Operational Group FiLO. Its partnership includes agrifood companies, farms and agricultural cooperatives, and research centres. The project is improving sustainability through organisational efficiency in agrifood supply chains, boosting the competitiveness of farmers. Umbrian melon producer TOP Melon has been a partner from the start, contributing with its expertise in supply chain management.
Carolina and Marco Spinetti are quality and processing managers at TOP Melon: “We help identify the logistic needs of the partners, carry out market surveys and directly test solutions in a business context to see what works”. We’ve also been collaborating with the University of Perugia to test software and hardware tools that can make logistics more efficient, for instance by locating our vehicles or analysing routes.”
3A-PTA has been nurturing the connections between these partners since before the start of the project. “The centre has been organising events and regular moments where we can share experiences, best practices and objectives with the other partners, but also with other Italian and international Operational Groups”, Carolina says.
While the partners strengthen the Operational Group with their expertise, TOP Melon itself also takes away new ideas and knowledge from the collaboration, Carolina explains. “Our involvement in the Operational Group has allowed us to introduce new management control systems that make our logistic activities more efficient and allow us to cut time and costs. This is where we can really make a difference.”
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