Prize for research proposal on farmer-driven decision support system

From left ro right: prof. Eric Davidson, Janet Molina, prof. Johan Rockström, Gònzalo Villa and prof. Johan Bouma (large view)

From left ro right: prof. Eric Davidson, Janet Molina, prof. Johan Rockström, Gònzalo Villa and prof. Johan Bouma

(26-03-2018) On March 22nd the project 'ICTs4Ag' has been selected as the best transdisciplinary research proposal on Sustainable Development Goals.

ICTs4Ag  is a co-designed and farmer-driven decision support system that aims to improve water-use efficiency and climate resilience in rural communities of México and Latin America.

It was developed by Janet Molina (department of Argicultural Economics), Fatemeh Taheri (Department of Telecommunications and information processing, faculty of Engineering and Architecture), Gónzalo Villa (department of Argicultural Economics), Wouter Vanhove (department of Plants and Crops) and Cristian Jordan (department of Argicultural Economics).

With ICTs4Ag, the researchers propose to implement a co-designed and farmer-driven frugal DSS (Decision Support System) tool to improve water efficiency and productivity. Such a tool could enable smallholders to make better decisions on crop selection, planting time, and volumes and timing of irrigation. In consequence, improvements in natural agro-biodiversity soil health can be expected by defining their own sustainability paths. Sensor networks can be used in agriculture to improve production and increase water productivity by measuring and monitoring biophysical parameters.

There are already many examples of research initiatives on low-cost, robust, user-friendly soil sensors (frugal innovation). However, the integration of such sensors with ICTs1 - such as DSS (Decision Support System) - is a relatively novel approach.

About the prize

On March 22 the faculty and the research platform organized a seminar and this research proposal contest, highlighting the importance of transdisciplinary research to address the global challenges, among others articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Johan Rockström’s ‘Planetary Boundaries’-concept.

23 proposals were submitted for the contest. Five of them were selected for the shortlist. They presented their proposal to prof. Johan Rockström (Stockholm Resilience Center), prof. Johan Bouma (Wageningen University) and prof. Eric Davidson (University of Maryland).

The winners receive a prize of 750 euros.

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