SmartCow Project linking European Research Infrastructures successfully
The SmartCow final conference took place on Wednesday, 6 April in Brussels, with the findings from the SmartCow consortium during the past four years presented.
SmartCow is a European infrastructure project, integrating key European cattle research infrastructures to promote their coordinated use and development and thereby helping the European cattle sector face the challenge of sustainable production.
Covering all relevant scientific fields and the diversity of cattle types and production systems, SmartCow provided academic and private research communities with easy access to 11 major research infrastructures from seven countries (18 installations) of high quality services and resources.
These were used 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 combined strong scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition i.e. methane emissions measurements, genetics, health and welfare and ethics in animal experimentation. See https://www.smartcow.eu/ for more detail.
SmartCow combined in a closely co-ordinated manner:
- Networking activities - creating an inventory of all animals research infrastructures (RIs) and capabilities in European countries, measurements methods, common standards, cattle phenotyping ontology, creating a cloud-based data platform to store and share data and disseminate project outcomes and involve stakeholders;
- Transnational access - activities provided 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 across the RIs;
- Joint research activities - improved the quality and ethics of research services through advances in capabilities to investigate feed efficiency and emissions in cattle at a large scale and to validate data coming from sensors monitoring nutrition, health and behaviour.
SmartCow in 2022 assembled a further 14 partners from 9 different countries and was funded by the European Commission, through the member European states Horizon 2020 programme, is starting another phase of the project, for a period of 4 years (2018-22). So, while the main project concludes in late April, the work will continue to promote joint research activities.
Teagasc continue to be heavily involved in the programme and Drs. Michael O’Donovan and Emer Kennedy were work package leaders in the project. Teagasc provided transnational access project activities to a number of other European organisations in Europe at their research centres in Teagasc Moorepark and Grange.