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AgriDISCRETE Project

Digitalisation in Agriculture and Forestry through Data Security


The AgriDISCRETE project was a 2 year project that explored good data governance practices in agriculture and forestry in Ireland. It addressed current challenges presented by data use and data sharing where digital technologies are employed in agriculture and forestry. The project considered current technical and business-oriented challenges as well as reflected on socio-economic and ethical issues that arise, and used project findings to inform the development of a multi-sided business platform approach, and created a technological proof-of-concept data exchange platform to operationalise this multi-sided business platform approach.

AgriDISCRETE looked at the multifaceted challenges related to data use, data security, data sharing and data ownership in the application of digital technologies in agricultural and forestry sectors in Ireland. Bringing together an interdisciplinary research team comprised of data scientists, business scholars, and social/behavioural scientists, the AgriDISCRETE project took a holistic approach to considering both the technical and the socio-economic and ethical challenges introduced by data usage and sharing in agriculture and forestry. Five integrated tasks facilitated the research team to map current technological challenges, identify diverse stakeholder concerns, and develop societally-acceptable technological solutions and social responses.

A series of co-design workshops were held with a wide variety of agricultural stakeholders in 2020-2021, in order to consider how social and ethical concerns with data governance and data sharing in agriculture can be addressed as technical solutions and new business models are formed. These co-designed workshops facilitated a range of stakeholders to share their opinions and concerns on the future of digitalisation in agriculture and forestry in Ireland, and to brainstorm solutions for good data governance practices for the future.

An output of these co-design workshops was the development of a farmer-friendly communications piece detailing the farm data journey. The project team worked together with agricultural stakeholders to continually refine and develop the communications piece content, in an iterative co-design process that directly involved stakeholders in the development of the material. The team members then worked with a graphic designer to produce an infographic flyer and animated video which outlines the data journey on and off the farm, with the goal of raising data awareness to empower farmers to learn more about how data is collected and shared on their farm, and to gain the most possible benefits from their farm data. These materials are available for viewing in the Project Outputs section below.

Additionally, the co-design workshop findings were utilised to inform the development of a multi-sided business platform approach, which envisions a fully operational open ecosystem within the dairy and forestry industry, adopting a participatory network concept which encourages and supports the interactions among all ecosystem participants to co-create value. A technological proof-of-concept data exchange platform was developed to operationalise the multi-sided business platform approach, which brings together the data provider and data consumer in a system of mutual exchange and multi-directional flow of information. This AgriDISCRETE proof-of-concept platform facilitates interactions between data providers and data consumers, and governance models are being designed to enable both sides to interact and extract value from each other.

Embedding a multi-actor approach, AgriDISCRETE informs good data governance practices within Irish agriculture and forestry so that the benefits of digitalisation for agriculture and forestry in Ireland can be realised in a trajectory which is responsible and societally acceptable.

Project Outputs

Further Resources

Project Partners


  • Áine Regan, Rural Economy & Development Programme, Mellows Campus, Athenry
  • Claire Brown, Rural Economy & Development Programme, Mellows Campus, Athenry

Walton Institute for Information and Communication Systems Science, WIT

  • Kieran Sullivan, Research Engineer
  • Paul Malone, Researcher
  • Hazel Williams, Senior Strategic Business Partner

RIKON Research Centre, WIT

  • Patrick Lynch, Director and Senior Researcher
  • Lorna Bailey, Applied Researcher


The AgriDISCRETE project has been funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Ireland under the 2019 Competitive Call for Research (Project no: 2019R539).