In the framework of REGIONS 4FOOD Project, Province Limburg organized, and still organize meetings with old and new stakeholders to check the feasibility for a DIH and enlarge the support for realizing a DIH specifically for the agrofood sector. In these meetings, focus on needed agri-digital solutions is done.
Likewise, different meetings have been taken place in which the network of stakeholders being part of the community to encourage digital innovation in the region was enlarged and strengthened.
Since Limburg is closely connected to Belgium and Germany, cross-border work is also on the agenda. In this setting the dialogue and awareness to support each other to connect and work together, was encouraged. Next to these developments, the focus in all the meetings that are organized, is to use innovation activities to strengthen the innovation climate. Specifically, the entrepreneurs are encouraged to take the lead.
Additionally, in the middle and northern part of the region 5 fieldlabs, with knowledge-centres in the lead were created. In these fieldlabs, the main purpose is to strengthen the cooperation between students and entrepreneurs and realize a better fit for future jobs.
A very important development is the fact that as a consequence of the REGIONS 4FOOD process, the region will have an active role in realizing an European Digital Innovation Hub South (EDIH-Zuid) in three provinces: Limburg, Brabant and Zeeland. This EDIH will have an important role in realizing an infrastructure to encourage cooperation, sharing knowledge and digital innovation
Next to the EDIH (in progress) also municipalities are recently joining the process to realize a more innovative climate (Crossroads & Keyport).
Also relevant to mention is the fact that in the southern part of our region an Artificial Intelligence-Hub (AI-DIH) started half a year ago. And it is in the process of realizing a cooperation for the whole region to enlarge this expertise.
In terms of Action Plan impact regarding the policy instrument, progress is also done. Being a participant in the REGIONS 4FOOD project, it has added much focus and interest for the topic of agriculture digitization. The team is preparing the upcoming ERDF Policy Instrument for the South of the Netherlands; the 2020 – 2027 South OP, has been involved during Phase 1 of REGIONS 4FOOD. The Action Plan itself was shared with and endorsed by this team. This has helped secure that there will be plenty opportunities to support agri-digi related projects in the Policy Instrument, mainly considering the needed infrastructure facilities, such as mentioned in priority actions. Thus, the agri-digitisation investment opportunities on farm level in the adjacent EARDF policy instrument and the CAP Natonal Strategic Plan of the Netherlands will also be executed by the Managing Authority Delegated Body Stimulus, under supervision of Limburg. In this way, a synergetic approach of both policy instrument is secured.