SmartCow: an integrated infrastructure for increased research capability and innovation in the European cattle sector
SmartCow integrates key European cattle research infrastructures to promote their coordinated use and development and thereby help the European cattle sector face the challenge of sustainable production. Covering all the relevant scientific fields and the diversity of cattle types and production systems, SmartCow will provide the academic and private research communities with easy access to 11 major research infrastructures from 7 countries (18 installations) of high quality services and resources. These are needed to develop innovative and ethical solutions for efficient use of animal and feed resources that promote animal welfare and healthy livestock, as well as sustainable competitiveness. SmartCow combines strong scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition (in vivo methods for nutrient utilization and emissions measurements), genetics (genotyped animals, phenotyping capabilities), health and welfare (sensors and automatic recordings of physiological and behavioural traits) and ethics in animal experimentation.
SmartCow will combine in a closely co-ordinated manner:
– Networking activities (NA) to inventory of all animals RIs and capabilities in European countries, harmonise measurements methods, ensure common standards, notably through improvement of the cattle phenotyping ontology, create a cloud-based data platform to store and share data and disseminate project outcomes and involve stakeholders;
– Transnational access activities (TNA) to provide efficient and easy access to a wide range of cattle types, husbandry and feeding systems, and to the most advanced animal science technologies applied to cattle;
– Joint research activities (JRA) to improve the quality and ethics of research services through advances in the capabilities to investigate feed efficiency and emissions in cattle at a large scale and to valorise data coming from sensors monitoring nutrition, health and behaviour.
Promotion of transnational access and dissemination of SmartCow outcomes and innovations for maximum impact will be supported by a Stakeholder Platform composed of pre- and post-farm gate industry, farmer organisations, NGOs, policy makers at national and EU levels.
SmartCow assembles 14 partners from 9 different countries and has received a funding from the European Commission (through the Horizon 2020 programme INFRAIA-2017-01 call) for a project period of 4 years (2018-22).