The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is currently looking for agriculture economists, data scientists and smart platforms experts. More information is available at the jobs listings section of the OECD web-site.
Continuing the successful previous SSDC Springer series editions from the international RUC-APS network (RUC-APS Vol. 1), the main topic of the current edition is “Agri-Food Systems Networks Challenges in the Age of Uncertainty”.
- Abstract proposals: Aug. 30, 2020.
- Manuscript submission deadline: Sept. 30th, 2020.
- Notification of acceptance and reviewers’ comments: Nov. 16th, 2020.
- Submission of final revised manuscript due: Feb. 19th, 2021.
- Expected book publication date: 2nd, half 2021.
This book is the first volume in a collection of contributions arising from a multidisciplinary project developed in the field of agri-food value chain analysis. The respective papers combine a range of disciplines to analyse major agri-food challenges in Europe and South America, offering readers a practical understanding of how risk and uncertainties can be managed by means of validated data and results from agri-food systems analysis. Experts from agronomy, information communication and technology, operations and supply chain management share their findings and propose novel approaches. Given its scope, the book will be of interest to a broad readership who want to learn about current agri-food challenges and requirements, and to professionals whose work involves real-life industry requirements, food and/or farming.
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We invite you to participate in the 2020 ON-LINE Workshop of the RUC-APS project; with a very rich agenda of on-line presentations, demos, and panels.
Dr. Jorge Hernandez, Senior Lecturer in Operations & Supply Chain Management, presented some of his high-impact research outcomes under the title of Understanding and Gathering Decision-Making Challenges in EU Agri-Food Systems with Uncertain Regulations (summary available here). This work is in line with the RUC-APS and the Multi-Criteria Decision-Making models under development.
The research work was presented at the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Artificial Intelligence Cluster for H2020 impact & research panels, with more than 100 participants attending the event. The RUC-APS project was selected for this opportunity due to its current relevant results on decision-making in modelling based on international real-life agri-food value chain cases. In this particular case, and by considering inputs from more than 150 agri-food stakeholders from UK, Spain, Italy, Chile and Argentina, key agri-food value chain decision-making strategies were dimensioned to study and analyse new sets of national agri-food policies and regulations in each region. This work is aligned with the current RUC-APS IMPACT case under development which is also supporting the LAM IMPACT case in collaboration with Prof. Andy Lyons and Dr. Hossein Sharifi. It has revealed that agri-food regions prioritise different aspects due to their national regulations but similarities across regions are also depicted, especially in terms of introducing agri-food production to more stable markets and to promote reliable access to up-to-date agri-food information that, in practical terms, will enhance agri-food assessment services and the collaboration across agri-food stakeholders. The next RUC-APS project workshop will be held in May 2020 at the Britany Developing Innovation Agency in France, where main results and demonstrative outcomes will be presented to the International Agri-food Community.
In the context of her secondment to FEDACOVA, Dr. Cecilia Challiol conducted a teaching session on the use design thinking strategies to support innovation in a non traditional. In the teaching session, some general aspect of Design Thinking has been described and then how to be used in a not traditional way to obtain the best benefits of it. Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity” according to Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO). The Design Thinking Framework has been presented with real examples of the four phases (Discover, Define, Develop and Prototype). These examples have been oriented to innovation. Then, some examples of in-situ co-design mobile applications have been described to introduce another way to use Design Thinking. This generates a starting point to discuss and analyze the way to use this discipline when are located distributed teams.
In te context of his secondment to UNLP, Dr. Akshit Singh from the University of Liverpool, conducted a teaching session.
Abstract: The use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) have been predominantly found in manufacturing and service industries. However, in the last decade, the scope and scale of their application in food industries has significantly risen. Some of the most commonly deployed ICT in agri-food industries are: RFID, Cloud Computing Technology, IOT, Blockchain, etc. Given the nature of complex and global food supply chains, these ICT solutions virtually brings all the components of supply chains viz. farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers on a single platform thereby enhancing transparency, traceability and efficiency in the flow of product, information and finance across the food supply chain (from farm to fork). Traditionally, the ICT being expensive in nature was only limited to the wealthy and innovative stakeholders in food chain (retailers, processors, logistics and other components in downstream of food chain). Nevertheless, lately the upstream of food chains (farmers, producers) have overlooked their traditional practices to adopt ICT to raise their produce due to multitude of factors- decline in price of ICT implementation, advent of mobile web applications, pressure from government, consumers and other stakeholders to reduce carbon footprint, address bullwhip effect etc. Therefore, farmers realised that they can no longer work in isolation and ICT played active role in integrating them with downstream of supply chain.
The presentation used is available for download as pdf
On June 12th, a special session took place at the ModelIt 2019 conference. The session started with a keynote presentation by Dr. Jorge Hernandez, coordinator of RUC-APS
From the genetic design of the seed, till their planting and harvest processes, considering the Farmers desired productivity as well as the expected end-customer service level, RUC-APS aims to provide a knowledge advancing in agriculture based-decision making through the development of a high impact research in terms of integrating real-life based agriculture requirements, land management alternatives for a variety of scales, unexpected weather and environmental conditions.
Agrifood value chain modelling as a tool to face uncertainties
The agriculture value chain concept it is certainly not new. But, since new unpredictable environments (weather, economy, technology, etc.) has emerged, it has become more difficult to manage it, but also difficult to compare to similar cases from the past, since most of them does not exists. In addition to this, there is a lack on global agriculture value awareness and Knowledge Management, thus a lack on participative and collaborative ICT developments, which implies that there are no validated framework to manage risks in agribusiness, since managing high uncertainty and unexpected events is even more challenging. Therefore, the genetic design of the seed, till their planting and harvest processes at the end of the agriculture value chain, this is research use and implement a a variety of modelling languages to provide customised answers to each of the challenges and requirements in the agrifood value chain. Thus, and throughout the H2020 RUC-APS project, the variety of modelling approaches is used to integrate real-life based agriculture requirements, land management alternatives for a variety of scales, unexpected weather and environmental conditions as well as innovation for the development of agriculture production systems and their impact over the end users under participatory ICT developments. Key outcomes are measured in terms of usability and impact of these models in real-life agriculture domains.
RUC-APS was present at the International Conference on Decision Support System Technology (ICDSST2019), in Madeira, Portugal, May 27-29.
Three articles were presented, that disseminate some of the findings of RUC-APS. They were are published in proceedings published by Springer, Lecture Notes in Business Information Process (https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-18819-1).
Pascale Zaraté, Guy Camilleri IRIT, MME Alemany, Ana Esteso Alvarez, and Mariana del Pino. How to support group decision making in horticulture: An approach based on the combination of a centralized mathematical model and a Group Decision Support System.
Abstract: Decision making for farms is a complex task. Farmers have to fix the price of their production but several parameters have to be taken into account: harvesting, seeds, ground, season etc… This task is even more difficult when a group of farmers must make the decision. Generally, optimization models support the farmers to find no dominated solutions, but the problem remains difficult if they have to agree on one solution. In order to support the farmers for this complex decision we combine two approaches. We firstly generate a set of no dominated solutions thanks to a centralized optimization model. Based on this set of solution we then used a Group Decision Support System called GRUS for choosing the best solution for the group of farmers. The combined approach allows us to determine the best solution for the group in a consensual way. This combination of approaches is very innovative for the Agriculture domain.
Alejandro Fernandez, Gabriela Bosetti, Sergio Firmenich, and Pascale Zarate. Logikós: Augmenting the web with multi-criteria decision support
Abstract: There are activities that on-line customers daily perform, which involve a multi-criteria decision challenge. Choosing a destination for traveling, buying a book to read, or buying a mobile phone are some examples. Customers analyze and compare alternatives considering a set of shared characteristics, and under certain criteria. E-commerce websites frequently present the information of products without special support to compare them by one or many properties. Moreover support for decision making is limited to sorting, filtering, and side-by-side comparison tables. Consequently, customers may have the feeling that the merchants interests influence their choices, which are no longer grounded on the rational arguments they would like to put in practice. Moreover, the alternatives of interest for the customer are frequently scattered across various shops, with no support to collect and compare them in a consistent and customized manner. In this article, we propose empowering users with multi-criteria decision making support on any website, and across different websites. We also present Logikós, a toolbox supporting multi-criteria decision making depending on the presentation layer of any Web page.
Guoqing Zhao, Shaofeng Liu, Huilan Chen, Carmen Lopez, Jorge Hernandez, Cécile Guyon , Rina Iannacone, Nicola Calabrese, Hervé Panetto, Janusz Kacprzyk, MME Alemany. Value-Chain Wide Food Waste Management: A Systematic Literature Review
Abstract: The agriculture value chain, from farm to fork, has received enormous attention because of its key role in achieving United Nations Global Challenges Goals. Food waste occurs in many different forms and at all stages of the food value chain, it has become a worldwide issue that requires urgent actions. However, the management of food waste has been traditionally segmented and in an isolated manner. This paper reviews existing work that has been done on food waste management in literature by taking a holistic approach, in order to identify the causes of food waste, food waste prevention strategies, and elicit recommendations for future work. A five step systematic literature review has been adopted for a thorough examination of the existing research on the topic and new insights have been obtained. The findings suggest that the main sources of food waste include food overproduction and surplus, food waste caused by processing, logistical inconsistencies, and households. Main food waste prevention strategies have been revealed in this paper include policy solutions, packaging solutions, date-labelling solutions, logistics solutions, changing consumers’ behaviours, and reuse and redistribution solutions. Future research directions such as using value chain models to reduce food waste and forecasting food waste have been identified in this paper. This study makes a contribution to the extant literature in the field of food waste management by discovering main causes of food waste in the value chain and eliciting prevention strategies that can be used to reduce/eliminate relevant food waste.
Do not miss your chance to join the RUC-APS team at the next Model-It simposium in Italy!
Model-It (the International Symposium on Applications of Modelling as an Innovative Technology in the Horticultural Supply Chain) will be held in Molfetta, Italy from June 9 to 12 of 2019.
Deadline for abstract submission has been extended till February 22nd (full versions due on April 30th).
Do not miss the chance to joint the RUC-APS community at PRO-VE 2019 in Turin. Submit your article to the RUC-APS special session on Digital Transformation in Food and Agribusiness Value Chain
- Mareva Alemany – CIGIP- Universitat Politècnica de València – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Angel Ortiz – CIGIP- Universitat Politècnica de València – email@example.com
- Jorge Hernandez, University of Liverpool, UK, J.E.Hernandez@Liverpool.ac.uk
On April 26th, RUC-APS will summon multiple stakeholders from the horticultural belt of La Plata to a working session. The goal of the session will be to construct shared understanding in terms of the requirements and challenges in the desicion making processes of horticulture, with special focus in the region of La Plata and the Buenos Aires province.
This event will ocurr in coincidence with the visit to UNLP of representatives of University of Plymouth, University of Lorraine, and University of Liverpool.
The Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) in Chile has just released a new web-site with information about RUC-APS for the spanish speaking community. In addition, the site provides insight into INIA’s activities and results in the project.
The International Conference on Human Computer Interaction -Interacción 2018 – is the 19th edition of the International Conference promoted by the AIPO and it took place on September 12-14, 2018 at the Universitat de les Illes Balears in Palma (Mallorca, Spain). The conference aimed at providing a forum, both for academia and industry, to exchange ideas and discuss the latest in interactive technology with a multidisciplinary approach. In that context, RUC-APS hosted one special track: Advances and Challenges in HCI in Agriculture
The goal of this special session is to attract representatives of industry and academia that can provide insight into the challenges and advances of effectively bringing ICT to agriculture, from the perspective of HCI.
Four articles were presented:
- Designing ICT for Agriculture (ICT4A) Innovations for Smallholder. Farmers: The Case of Uganda. By Christopher G. Harris and Janet Cox Achora
- Beyond the GUI in agriculture: a bibliographic review, challenges and opportunities. By Andres Rodriguez, Alejandro Fernández and Jorge Hernández Hormazabal
- A Mixed Usability Evaluation on a Multi-Criteria Group Decision Support System in Agriculture. By Julián Grigera, Alejandra Garrido, Pascale Zaraté, Guy Camilleri and Alejandro Fernández
- Using Citizen Science Gamification in Agriculture Collaborative Knowledge Production. By Jonathan Martin, Diego Torres, Alejandro Fernandez, Santiago Pravisani and Guillaume Briend
The special track was organized by:
- Prof. Jorge Hernandez, RUC-APS project Coordinator, ULMS, University of Liverpool, UK, J.E.Hernandez@Liverpool.ac.uk
- Prof. Pascale Zarate, Université de Toulouse Capitole 1, Toulouse, France, Pascale.Zarate@ut-capitole.fr
- Prof. Janusz Kacprzyk, IIntelligent Systems Laboratory – System Research Institute, Poland, Janusz.Kacprzyk@ibspan.waw.pl
- Prof. Hervé Panetto, Research Centre for Automatic Control, University of Lorraine, CNRS, France, Herve.Panetto@univ-lorraine.fr
- Julián Grigera, LIFIA, Facultad de Informática, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina/CIC firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prof. Alejandro Fernández, LIFIA, Faculty of Informátics/CIC, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina email@example.com
As part of his secondment to UNLP (Argentina) Amir Sakka from UT1C (France) conducted a teaching session on Group Decision Support Systems. The session was aimed at academics, researchers, and students of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences and Forestry of the National University of La Plata. It is part of a series of activities that are central to work packages 10 and 12. The aim of these activities is to pilot UTC1 technology (the Grus system) in agriculture scenarios.
The material used in this session can be downloaded in pdf form from this link.
A video presenting an example session of the Grus system in agriculture was used for demonstration purposes. The demonstrator video is available on-line:
This teaching session will be followed by a hands on experiment to be conducted in the following days.
The European Conference on Operational Research (Euro 2018) took place from July 8th to 11th in Valencia Spain. In the context of this conference, RUC-APS organized three special sessions.
- OR Advances in Agri-Food Systems
- Risk and Uncertainty in Agri-Food Systems
- Supply Chain Modelling and Optimization
In total, 12 articles were presented, some of which were submitted by researchers in the RUC-APS consortium. The detailed program is provided below.
This sessions contributed to the consolidation and expansión of the RUC-APS network, towards risk and uncertainty in agriculture and agri-food systems.
The Group Decision and Negotiation (GDN) section of the International Federation of Operational Research and Management Science Society (INFORMS) awarded Pascale Zaraté, ADRIA team, on June 12th2018 at the University of d’Aeronotics et Astraunotics, Nanjing, China during the annual international conference GDN organized under the authority of the GDN-INFORMS section. Since 2004, this award is yearly assigned to one researcher for his/her whole activity and his/her involvement in the GDN community. Since 2004, only three women have been awarded: Prof. Katia Sycara, Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, USA; Prof. Fran Ackerman, Curtin University, Australia and Prof. Pascale Zaraté, Université Toulouse 1 Capitole – IRIT, France.
On June 12th Constanza Jana Ayala from INIA (Chile) conducted a teaching session in the context of her secondment to CNR-ISPA (Italy). The session started with an overview of the activities of INIA, with special focus in the work conducted at the Intihuasi Research Regional Center . After a brief introduction of all participants, the session moved on to discuss artichoke production in Chile and Italy. Topics of the session included evolution of production in the region, production methods, breeding methods and main crop health challenges and approaches.
Presentations used during the session can be downloaded from the following links
During his secondment to IBSPAN (Poland), and as part of the dissemination activities of the RUC-APS project, Dr. Alejandro Fernández (from UNLP) travelled to Darmstadt, Germany. He visited the University of Darmstadt, and spent a few days of meetings and enriching discussion at KOM (the Multimedia Communications Lab).
On Thursday April 26 2018, Alejandro gave a formal presentation about the project to members of the KOM research lab. The director of KOM, Dr. Ralf Steinmetz, and the director of the research area for “Educational Media and Applications”, Dr. Christoph Rensing, attended the presentation, as well as various Ph.D students and researchers.
During the presentation, Alejandro provided an overview of the project (goals, consortium, and activities) and more details of the work-package 10, lead by UNLP. He specially asked the audience to provide feedback regarding their experience in innovation for domains such as agriculture, and product design. This resulted in a series of very interesting talks and meeting for the next day.
To conclude the presentation, Alejandro suggested attendees to consider Risk and Uncertainty in Agriculture as a potential domain for their innovations. We hope that future projects can count with the contribution of KOM.
RUC-APS thanks TUD, and KOM for their hospitality and insightful feedback during Alejandro’s visit.
PRODUCTION PLANNING & CONTROL JOURNAL SPECIAL ISSUE “Operations management and collaboration in Agri-Food Supply Chains”
Agri-Food supply chains can be seen as a complex network of large, medium and small producers (who grow and trade food commodities), processors (who process, manufacture and market primary and value added products), distributors (such as wholesalers and retailers that market and sell the food), consumers (who shop, purchase and consume food) and government/non-government organisations (who establish regulations that control the agri-food supply chain).
However, growing world population, dynamic market demands, high product variety, low understanding of regulations across countries as well as the need for maintaining high standards in food growing and production are sources of uncertainty which imply a management challenge for reducing cost and waste as well as for balancing food supply and demand. Thus, collaboration among stakeholders along the agri-food supply chain is more important than ever, and the right application of operations management concepts will help to oversee the key information flows across the entire agri-food supply chain, which will guarantee an efficient decision-making process for food growing and production with a view to meeting end-customers’ specifications and satisfaction.
From this, development and re-design of agri-food supply chains will emerge, by linking relevant inputs, outputs and processes to key agri-food supply chain aspects such as continuous improvement, cost reduction and minimized imbalance between supply and demand. This will lead to the creation of a more productive and sustainable agri-food supply chain system, able to mitigate risks and uncertainties. Therefore, the study and contribution on operations management and collaboration in Agri-Food Supply Chain Systems is presented as a multi-disciplinary theme of contemporary interest and useful for both the industry as well as the academic research area, with applications in several sectors, such as: agronomy, food manufacturing, transport and logistics, strategic planning, health, legislation, marketing, economy, supply chain management, knowledge management, risk and uncertainty, innovation and ICT-based decision support systems.
The objective of this special issue is to identify the operations management situations where decisions are made difficult by uncertainty in the agri-food domain, within the study and implementation of Operations Management based approaches in agri-food supply chains. Contributions to this special issue are expected to provide answers to managerial research questions such as (but not limited to):
- How are the variety of stakeholders in the agri-food supply chain affected by regulations, prices, business management and food-safety related issues?
- How can growers and producers collaborate to reduce costs and prices in the agri-food supply chain, whilst providing safe, nutritious, accessible and affordable food to consumers?
- In conditions of information uncertainty, how do management decisions affect food quality and waste? How can information systems mitigate the problem?
- How can operations management contribute to customer satisfaction in agri-food supply chains?
- What benefits can agri-food operations management deliver for sustainable food transport and logistic whilst reducing food waste?
Contributions are expected on research that stems from an industrial need and can guide the activities of managers and future researchers. Theoretical contributions without management implications, will normally not be considered.
This is an open call for full papers. High-quality papers from EURO2018 and PRO-VE 2018 will be selected by the Scientific Committee to be extended and submitted to this call, for review.
All contributions will be subjected to a single-blind review process. Manuscripts must be sent electronically to the guest editors and should be prepared according to the Production Planning & Control guidelines that can be found at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/journal.asp?issn=0953-7287&linktype=44
- Manuscript submission deadline, 1st November 2018
- The estimated publication, Autumn 2019
- Guest Editor: Jorge E Hernandez, Senior Lecturer in Operations & Supply Chain Management, Management School, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.(J.E.Hernandez@liverpool.ac.uk)
- Guest Editor: Herve Panetto, Professor of Enterprise Information Systems, Research Centre for Automatic Control, University of Lorraine, CNRS, France (Herve.Panetto@univ-lorraine.fr)
- Guest Editor: Martin Mortimer, Professor of Agricultura Ecology, Integrative Biology Institute, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Guest Editor: Nicola Calabrese, Food Production Innovation, CNR – Institute of Sciences of Food Production; Bari, Italy (email@example.com)
- Guest Editor: David Martinez, ICT Manager, Food safety systems and Value chain integration, AINIA Technological Centre, Valencia, Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today, April 24th 2018, a very interesting congress on olive oil from Basilicata organized by ALSIA. Best oils will get a prize. Very interesting the relation between consumption of extra vergin olive oil and health.
57 olive oils from the Bassilicata region participate in this event. They will compete for the prize of “best single-variety”, “best in biological production”, “best label”, “best among large producers”, and best among “emerging oils”.
On 19 March 2018, the RUC-APS team from University of Plymouth (Carmen Lopez, Guoqing Zhao & Huilan Chen) and from National University of La Plata (Susana Gamboa & Mariana del Pino) visited Serviverde, in La Plata, Argentina. Serviverde is a large producer of vegetables in the area of La Plata. The staff of Serviverde showed us a number of tomato, eggplant and broccoli greenhouses, and then the water system they used. After that, UoP team shared their experience based on their secondments in different countries: A detailed explanation of how to build relationships with agricultural research institutions and how to establish cooperative relationships with different farmers in some European countries. The CEO of Serviverde, Damián Simonetti, also shared their experience on how they exchange knowledge with different farmers and how they build collaborative relationships in the area of La Plata. Furthermore, a number of risks and uncertainties in the agricultural sector were also discussed during the meeting.
Palma, September 12-14, 2018
RUC-APS organizes a special track on “Advances and Challenges in HCI in Agriculture” at Interacción 2018, in Palma, Spain.
The goal of this special session is to attract representatives of industry and academia that can provide insight into the challenges and advances of effectively bringing ICT to agriculture, from the perspective of HCI. The session is organized by members of the H2020 RUC-APS project (www.ruc-aps.eu), whose goal is to enhance and implement knowledge based ICT solutions within high risk and uncertain conditions for agriculture production systems.
Cardiff, UK, 17-19 September 2018.
RUC-APS organizes a special session on “Cognitive Systems in Food and Agribusiness Value Chains” at PRO-VE’18.
This session is focused on papers addressing research and applications in the food value chain and in agribusiness. The objective is to present interesting research and practical developments to address the challenges in the sector and to present innovative approaches and new business models for the new scenarios on the coming years.
This session also addresses several aspects covered by H2020 RUC-APS project (www.ruc-aps.eu) a H2020 Rise project devoted to “Enhancing and implementing Knowledge based ICT solutions within high Risk and Uncertain Conditions for Agriculture Production Systems”.
Abstract submission is now open (till March 11th) .
Download the CFP.