First SmartCow Annual Meeting in Dumfries, United Kingdom

Following the study tours organised by the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the first annual meeting was held in Dumfries from 6th to 8th March 2019. It brought together 34 people representing the 14 project partners. One year after the start of the project, this meeting aimed to take stock of the work done during the first year, discuss the first results obtained and plan the actions to be carried out for the coming year.

Among the highlights of the first year, we can mention:

  • The recruitment of 6 post-docs and engineers involved in the various work-packages;
  • The implementation of communication tools;
  • The setup of the stakeholder platform of the project that met for the first time in Brussels in June 2018;
  • The completion of the first phase of the mapping of research infrastructures for cattle in Europe;
  • The success of the first call for Transnational projects;
  • Several participations in international conferences to publicize the project:
    Ag-Research conference in Brussels (May 2018); EAAP Session in Dubrovnik (August 2018); ISNH Meeting in Clermont-Ferrand (Sept 2018)

During the meeting, workshops were held to discuss the next steps and the development of project activities with a particular focus on:

  • The organisation of the future Transnational Projects calls;
  • The extension of the mapping of cattle research infrastructures in Europe;
  • The utilisation and the development of the Animal Trait Ontology for Livestock;
  • The writing of a book of methods in cattle physiology;
  • The implementation of a cloud-based data platform for the project;
  • The involvement of the stakeholders and the organisation of the training activities proposed by SmartCow;
  • The ethical issues in the use of fistulated cow in cattle research;
  • The progress in the Joint Research Activities of SmartCow aimed at refining reference methods and developing proxies for measuring feed efficiency and emissions in cattle, and developing new phenotyping capabilities from activity sensor data.

We highly appreciated the help of Richard Dewhurst’s team in organizing the meeting and the peaceful atmosphere of the Crichton campus, which enabled the work to proceed in a relaxed and productive manner. The discussions continued in the evenings during convivial dinners, with the tasting of the famous Scottish haggis!

Stay tuned for more news on SmartCow, our next call for Transnational projects will open soon!