Home > Profile Articles > S3FOOD brings agri-food SMEs up to “Industry 4.0” speed: €3.9 mio EU funding for smarter food production

S3FOOD brings agri-food SMEs up to “Industry 4.0” speed: €3.9 mio EU funding for smarter food production

The three-year project is funded by the Horizon 2020 initiative – the EU’s research and innovation framework program and partner contributions. The initial objective is to gain a full picture of food company needs and challenges and identify relevant research and technology providers that can support them. SMEs will also be invited on study-visits to living labs and frontrunner companies, where they can see smart sensors in action and attend “matchmaking events” for finding relevant partners.

With “Industry 4.0,” or “the fourth industrial revolution, as it is known, in full swing, leading companies are increasingly opting for the automation and digitalization of their processes and production. Automation has made processes easier, more agile and faster. These are important factors that have led many industries, including the food industry, to gravitate towards implementing pioneering artifical intelligence (AI) systems. This includes benefiting from the related data generation, which opens the door to identify processing issues quicker and gives opportunities for continuous improvement.

S3FOOD targets the many SMEs in the agri-food industry in Europe that currently lack the awareness, partners and funds to start this same journey. “The goal of S3FOOD is to establish an innovation-friendly, cross-border ecosystem to help SMEs start their Industry 4.0 transition. Companies that still rely on a few in-house specialists to register and interpret processing data are at risk of losing important knowledge and expertise. Using smart sensors, they can secure it all in automated systems and bring sustainable benefits to their business,” says Veerle De Graef, Innovation Manager at Flanders' FOOD and coordinator of S3FOOD..

The S3FOOD technology training and business coaching package will assist SMEs in developing their digitalisation plan. SMEs can then apply for funding up to €60,000 to bring their plan to life. S3FOOD is a €5 million project, where 79 percent, corresponding to €3.9 million, goes directly to SME support in the form of funding vouchers and training and business coaching.

The project partners are: Flanders’ FOOD, Belgium; INNOSKART, Hungary; AgriFood Capital BV, The Netherlands; Industry Association of Navarra, Spain; Asociacion De Investigacion De Industrias De La Carne Del Principado De Asturias, Spain; Bretagne Développement Innovation, France; Galicia Food Cluster, Spain; CORALLIA , Greece; Danish Food Cluster, Denmark; DSP Valley, Belgium; Food-Processing Initiative, Germany; Viameca Association, France; Wagralim, Belgium.

To sign up for the S3FOOD newsletter and learn more, visit s3food.eu.

S3FOOD has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 824769-S3FOOD