Agroknow (http://www.agroknow.com) is an outstanding SME that finds, connects and delivers agriculture and food information worldwide. It has been launched by three co-founders in 2008 and has grown into a multidisciplinary team of about twenty (20) people that combines the expertise of agronomists, food scientists, computer engineers, web designers, information scientists, and business administration experts. It currently has two offices, the operations and product development one in Athens (Greece) and the e-infrastructure and R&D one in Leuven (Belgium). It’s worth mentioning that the activities related to the e-ROSA project will be carried out by the Greek office in Athens. The work of Agroknow goes beyond the open and big data trends, into using data to solve real problems that may transform the way in which research, education and innovation is taking place in agriculture, food and the environment. It is organised in three main clusters of activities. Open data management and sharing infrastructure for agriculture and food (We Lead); the support and guidance of public sector and international organisations in improving access to information of relevance to their work (We Support); and the development of online applications and services for real-life market segments (We Make).
In the cluster of activities related to We Lead, Agroknow is among a core group of internationally recognised stakeholders that wish to align their strategic thinking and agendas in order to develop a global, open data management and sharing infrastructure for agriculture, food and the environment. This group of stakeholders includes (among others): the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the Alterra institute of the Wageningen University and Research Center, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). The envisaged data infrastructure will build upon services and components that have been initially developed as part of the FP7 EINFRA project AGINFRA, and will serve as an online hub of research & extension information related to agriculture and food security.
These main services will include, among others: a) an atlas of worldwide agricultural research and extension (including institutions, people, publications, data sets, projects, courses, OERs), b) a semantic layer of processing, enriching and interlinking research information from distributed, heterogeneous sources and formats, c) a catalogue of software components (open source software stack & APIs) that anyone may use to process research information, d) a help desk service to support institutions and projects that wish to publish their agricultural research information openly and e) a set of data-rich application demonstrators for specific case studies (food safety, viticulture etc.). The operation and evolution of the services of this data infrastructure is financially supported by various donors, such as the European Commission and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Furthermore, as part of its We Support professional services Agroknow is awarded consulting contracts from a variety of public sector and international organizations that wish to make better use of information related to agriculture and food. The portfolio of its clients includes organisations such as: FAO, DFID, the World Bank, UNESCO, the Global Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the CGIAR Consortium, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA, Jordan), Michigan State University (MSU), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Land Portal Foundation, and the Greek Agricultural Economics Institute (AGRERI).
Finally, through We Make Agroknow builds innovative online applications that use state-of-art technologies and combine multiple, heterogeneous information sources, in order to solve practical problems of specific market segments. Its first online application is called Foodakai and brings together information from multiple sources on foodborne disease outbreaks and food product recall, in order to serve the needs of the food industry. Agroknow has received seed funding from the European Commission to develop the business case of Foodakai and prepare the application for its initial market deployment.
Agroknow is a standing contributor and globally recognised advocate of Open Access and Open Data policies, actively participating and contributing to global networks that work towards opening up access to information. Some of its most prominent collaborations and networks include: the GODAN initiative, the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), and the Open Agricultural Data Alliance (OADA). Agroknow is a member of the Open Data Institute (ODI) and among the initial signatories of the Hague Declaration (on opening up scientific publications for text mining) and the Bouchout Declaration (on open biodiversity data). It is also an active member and contributor to the Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS) community of FAO.
Since 2010, Agroknow has been organising (and often hosting) events that bring together multiple stakeholders working in the wider agriculture, food and environmental sectors. Creative and participatory brainstorming and collaboration techniques have been engaged, leading to series of events like Green Ideas (http://greenideasproject.org), Green Hackathons (http://www.greenhackathon.com), as well as open data training events under the umbrella of the Open Data Institute (ODI). In 2016, we have decided to put together our extensive experience and networks in order to launch a series of unique, annual events: the Open Harvest ones. This event focuses on bringing together a select group of great thinkers and stakeholders that work on various aspects of open sharing and discovery of information related to agriculture, food and the environment.
It aims to kick off (starting with Open Harvest 2016, taking place in Crete on May 18-21, 2016) a series of annual gatherings of important and representative stakeholders that will represent and bring together strategic initiatives and players from various the agriculture and food data value chains.
The R&D portfolio of Agroknow includes multiple collaborations and projects that have been funded with support from the European Commission. Serving in multiple capacities (ranging from a project coordinator,
technical coordinator, or being responsible for user requirements elicitation and evaluation), the team of Agroknow has participated in more than thirty (30) European projects since 2009. Some of its most recent ones include: CIP PSP Organic.Lingua, FP7 agINFRA, FP7 SemaGrow, H2020 FREME, H2020 EGI-ENGAGE, H2020
OpenMinTed, H2020 BigDataEurope, and H2020 CAPSELLA.