A self-sustaining, innovative thematic network on crop protection and the sustainable use of pesticides

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The UPC Agricultural Machinery Unit (UMA) coordinates the INNOSETA European project, whose aim is to establish an innovative thematic network on crop protection and the sustainable use of plant protection products. It also participates in the OPTIMA project, which is focused on developing smart equipment for the application of pesticides that ensures they are used safely. These two European research projects are funded by the H2020 programme.

The Agricultural Machinery Unit (UMA) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), attached to the Barcelona School of Agricultural Engineering (ESAB), is leading the project, which is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The UPC is participating along with 14 European partners: the University of Turin (Italy), the Agricultural University of Athens (Greece), the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Belgium), the French Vine and Wine Institute (France), European Agricultural Machinery (CEMA), European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (Spain), the General Confederation of Italian Agriculture (Italy), Agricultural & Environmental Solutions, (AGENSO) (Greece), the Southern Agriculture and Horticulture Organisation (ZLTO) (Netherlands), VISAVI (Sweden), the Zachodniopomorskie Agricultural Consultancy Centre (Poland) and the European Association of Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives (COPA-COGECA) (Belgium).

The main aim of the INNOSETA project is to establish a self-sustainable, innovative thematic network on crop protection and the sustainable use of plant protection products (spray equipment, training, and advice) to help close the gap between the numerous European research projects and the use that farmers make of all this. The project promotes the exchange of new ideas and information between industry, universities, research centres, and the agricultural community so that existing scientific and commercial solutions can be widely disseminated and applied, while identifying the needs of the sector. The aim is to eliminate the gap between the scientific world and the agricultural sector, in relation to the objectives set by the Commission of Agriculture of the European Commission.

Improve the quality of foodstuffs
The UMA is also participating in the European project Optimised Pest Integrated Management to precisely detect and control plant diseases in perennial crops and open-field vegetables (OPTIMA). The aim of this project is to develop smart equipment for the application of health protection products so that they can be used safely. The resulting new technology will contribute to achieving the right distribution of plant protection products to meet crop needs, reduce the quantities that are used, improve food quality, and reduce environmental contamination risks. 

This project is also funded by the H2020 European programme and involves the participation of a range of universities and European research centres, including Wageningen University (Germany), the University of Turin (Italy), and the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA) (France); associations such as European Agricultural Machinery (CEMA), the European Association of Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives (COPA-COGECA), and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA); and entities and companies such as the Association for the Promotion of Integrated Pest Management (APROGIP) of the Aragon region and Pulverizadores Fede, S.A.L.

The Agricultural Machinery Unit (UMA) is a research and technology transfer group focused on the area of agricultural machinery, with extensive experience in the technology of applying plant protection products. The group also undertakes teaching activities. The close relationship between the UMA and the main companies in the sector (machinery manufacturers, agricultural organisations, and agrochemical companies) makes it possible to organise teaching activities in which students can access the latest innovations in the sector, so that their education is perfectly adapted to current professional needs.

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