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NNA - Opening of Dbayeh Music Festival
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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Cross-border research project improves farm, food processes, products

Faro, May 20 (Lusa) – Cross-border cooperation in research and innovation to improve processes and design new products, especially in agriculture and food processing, are the aims of the Innoace project, in which institutions in Portugal’s Centro and Alentejo regions and Spain’s Extremadura province are taking part, according to its coordinator.
Speaking in Faro, Francisco Hinojal cited these as the main objectives of Innoace, which has a budget of €4,550,000, part-funded by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund Regional, via the INTERREG V-A Spain Portugal (POCTEP) programme for 2014 to 2020.
Innoace, Hinojal explained, "is a consequence", because it arose from existing cross-border cooperation in research and innovation that had been undertaken since 2008 between the regions in question.
"It all began with the creation of a cross-border research network, around 2008 …, which was, in a formal way, the first time a cooperation network was launched for research entities," said Hinojal, who is a researcher at the Centre for Scientific and Technological Research of Extremadura (CICYTEX).
The network initially also included the polytechnics of Portalegre, Castelo Branco and Beja as well as other institutions such as the Castelo Branco Centre for Agro-alimentary Technological Support (CATAA) and the University of Évora, which were involved in "very important” partnerships, but these were ultimately cancelled due to the economic crisis.
However, the work made it possible “to sharpen the relationship between researchers" on both sides of the border and to think of a new project, "focused on information technology and communication, but directed at companies".
The establishment of the POCTEP 2014-2020 programme made it possible to press ahead with the Innoace project, which relies on the same partners and "included some scientific and technological parks or incubators of companies, such as the Instituto Pedro Nunes, in Coimbra, the new Science and Technology Park at Évora", for a total of 14 institutions in the three regions.
It has thus been possible to continue with "the network of research and innovation, but looking at companies, most in the agro-alimentary sector", and to start a "process of entrepreneurship, based on technology" that is focused on "research and innovation" and with "activity for process improvement and the design of new products," Hinojal explained.
"We do intelligent management and precision farming, which uses satellite imagery and helps farmers interpret free images from the European Union's Sentinel satellite to have more information to make decisions about watering their crops or more efficient use of fertiliser and so to reduce costs," he said.
Examples on the product design side include "cheeses made from raw milk, but pasteurised" and new fruit drinks, developed through cooperation agreements that have already been established with 30 companies, according to Hinojal.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2019-05-21 09:48:12


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