Organizing a testbed – join the virtual meeting

Digitalisation plays a vital role in the rapid development of the Nordic and Baltic bioeconomy. Access to cutting edge platforms for development, so-called testbeds, where new digital knowledge and technology can be developed is fundamental.

Managing a testbed is however a complex task. To facilitate the development of new and existing testbeds, the Nordic Testbed Network aims to unite and strengthen testbeds aimed at supporting the digital transformation of the bioeconomy.

On November 18 (2021) the Nordic Testbed Network arranges a virtual meeting to help dig into the following topics:


Welcoming our new testbed members, Blaize Denfeld (SITES), Anda Ikauniece (LIAE), Andrius Sutnikas (AquaVIP), Jens Petter Wold (DigiFoods), Anta Sparinska (Latvian i-Garden)

Keynote lecture: An inspiring example – Nordic Proof, Siri Stabel Olsen, Advisor Norway Health Tech and coordinator of Nordic Proof

Panel discussion: Organising a testbed, Thordur Reynisson, Senior Adviser and Head of Program Nordic Innovation, Jonas Engström, researcher RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and coordinator of the testbed for digitalised agriculture, Carmen Galindo Rodriguez, project manager EIT Food

Interactive session: all participants are invited to discuss and mingle

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Please sign up before November 4 at the latest – it’s fre of charge!

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Join us in welcoming two new testbeds to the network!

We are happy to introduce you to the Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LIAE) and SITES, the Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science, as new members in Nordic Testbed Network.  


The Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LIAE) located in Riga, is a public research institute, an agency of Daugavpils University, making use of digital solutions such as smart buoys, satellites and drones to collect and analyse data about the blue bioeconomy.

SITES, the Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science is a national infrastructure for terrestrial and limnological field research, aiming to promote high-quality research through long-term field measurements and field experiments, and by making data from these activities openly available.

We got the chance to ask Anda Ikauniece (LIAE), as well as Stefan Bertilsson and Blaize Denfeld (SITES) some questions.

In the context of the digital bioeconomy, what issues do you see as the most important going forward?

Anda Ikauniece, LIAE:
– In the marine digital bioeconomy the resource extraction could be the most complicated part. Therefore, the development of a true digital twin of the sea would be a way forward. At the sea, the conditions are often harsh and even the most robust systems do suffer from nature’s strength. So, the other alternative could be securing truly reliable data transfers – both via software and deployed equipment.

Stefan Bertilsson, SITES:
– Broadly, the development of knowledge-based best practices in forestry, agriculture and aquacultures, require research, open sharing of data and technical advancements. Innovation and socioeconomic development which recognise the connectivity of systems and optimise their use and management are of central importance. Agricultural practices should for example go beyond merely supplying food to a growing population, but also consider climate change resilience, biodiversity and other key ecosystem services. Similar considerations need to be made in long-term sustainable forestry efforts.

What would you like to contribute to the network?

Anda Ikauniece, LIAE:
– At present we can provide information on themes relevant for marine (digital) bioeconomy – mostly on environmental challenges and perspectives. We would be happy to provide a possibility to test new methodologies in marine conditions or in related “terrestrial-aquatic” systems.

Blaize Denfeld, SITES:
– SITES research stations, which span agricultural land, forests and inland waters across Sweden, provide a testbed where new digital knowledge and technology can be developed. SITES is a forum and platform for integrative ecosystem science bringing together academia and various stakeholders by offering an infrastructure for field measurements and manipulation experiments and access to openly available ecosystem data.

Digital Forest Academy – an initiative to advance the digitalisation of Swedish forestry

Through the Digital Forest Academy, Mistra Digital Forest has designed five courses aimed at companies in the forest industry. Topics include Digital innovation, Digital transformation, Digital entrepreneurship, Business analysis and AI for companies.


All courses are conducted on demand and tailored to the organisation’s unique needs. The purpose of the training is to enable forestry companies to benefit from digitalisation in their daily operations.

We asked Erik Willén, who is working with the initiative, what are the biggest challenges for organisations in the forest industry aiming to take the next step in their digitalisation process?

– Digitalisation opens the opportunity for new ways of working and to involve new competencies. It may lead to new business opportunities and additional value chains. It is however a process that requires time and resources that might be hard to allocate.

Could you give examples of what companies learn from these courses, what could be some key takeaways?

– One important finding is how different a management team thinks about digitalisation and new opportunities. If not digitalisation in your company is set by the management, how should the rest of the organisation behave?

Do you have any questions? Contact Erik Willén or Jonny Holmström.




Join the virtual meeting on data access, reliability and security

How to approach issues related to data access, reliability and security?

One way to approach this is by putting the questions into a context, making them more concrete. Another is to learn from what others have done, looking at initiatives carried out for example at European level.

In this online meeting you will have the opportunity to listen to speakers with experience as well as take part in discussions and to share with others. Welcome to join!

WHEN: June 3, 10.00-12.00 CET

WHERE: Online via Zoom, link will be sent out a couple of days before the meeting

FOCUS: Highlighting opportunities and best practices, as well as challenges with regard to data management

SIGN UP by 21th May
Participating at the event is free of any charge


▪ Reflections from a testbed – Data challenges in practice, Kjersti Balke Hveem, head of NIBIO’s Centre for Precision Agriculture

▪ Keynote lecture – Data management, Suzanne Dumouchel, Head of European Cooperation TGIR Huma-Num (CNRS), Partnerships Coordinator of OPERAS AISBL & Member of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Association Board of Directors

▪ Panel discussion – Critical data management questions, Ohad Graber-Soudry, commercial lawyer (advokat) X-officio, Tomas Klingström (Gigacow testbed), PhD Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Erik Willén (Auto2 testbed), Process Manager at Skogforsk

▪ Interactive session, all participants are invited to discuss predefined questions

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New report: does digital transformation affect gender inequalities?

“Redefining digital bioeconomy” is a new report reviewing how the digital transformation affects gender inequalities in the Nordic bioeconomy.

The bioeconomy is largely male dominated. Moving towards a digital bioeconomy, the sector is married with the even more heavily male dominated tech industry. This imposes the question of how the gender balance in the sector will be affected as the digital transformation permeates the bioeconomy. The newly published report “Redefining digital bioeconomy” sets out to answer this question by reviewing existing literature on the topic.

While there are plenty of research within the areas of bioeconomy, digitalisation and gender, literature combining all three areas is sparse. This literature review therefore studies the three areas in pairs (gender–bioeconomy/ digitalisation–bioeconomy/gender–digitalisation), with the aim of identifying and presenting the most frequent themes within these pairs. The findings show that:

1) The gender–bioeconomy literature focuses on understanding how the bioeconomy became a field with masculine connotations, symbolically as well as in practice;

2) Within the digitalisation–bioeconomy literature, the most prominent discussions include the use of data analytics, social sustainability, and challenges in adapting to the technologies;

3) The literature on gender–digitalisation raises stereotypes and the masculine construction of technology, education and labour market issues as well as gender equality.

By looking at the intersection of the three areas, analysing the commonalities in the identified themes, two major conclusions are drawn. Firstly, the momentum of the shift in workforce demand both in the bioeconomy and technology sectors could be used to actively redefine the stereotypical bioeconomy worker. Secondly, the need for female leadership, mentors and networks is widely emphasised as key to attract more women to the sectors.

With this as a backdrop, the report suggests and problematises five action points moving forward:

  • Increasing the number of female role models
  • Mentorship programs
  • Networks for young professionals and students
  • Further research in the intersection of digitalisation, bioeconomy, and gender
  • Tools and methods to incorporate this topic in bioeconomy-related education

The review constitutes the first step in the Bioequality project and will serve as a foundation for informed discussions and decisions for action. The project is funded by three organisations linked to the Nordic Council of Ministers, SNS, NKJ and NIKK, and runs until December 2021.

Finnish AgriHubi Network promotes farm business management and digitalisation

Farm Business Competence Network Finland is a new national initiative that brings together research, advice and education and builds interaction with other actors in the food system.


The aim of the collaborative network is to promote and facilitate scientific knowledge into the better use of farm enterprises. The AgriHubi Network promotes cooperation between actors and builds new connections thematically. Main themes are farm business management, knowledge management and smart farming. Here Sari Forsman-Hugg, head of the AgriHubi Network, and Liisa Personen talk more about the network.

Makes farm enterprises stronger
“AgriHubi helps farm enterprises develop their competitiveness, resilience and renewal in a chancing operational environment. We are currently building roadmaps on the themes of farm business management and smart farming. Roadmaps will be developed together with network representatives. The aim of the roadmaps is to make visible and concrete what changes and action points are needed to make the Finnish agriculture more profitable and competitive in 2030”, says Sari Forsman-Hugg, Head of the AgriHubi Network.

”AgriHubi is connected and willing to collaborate with other national and international networks within this field. Collaboration with European SmartAgriHubs network is important for us, as well as introducing testbeds among AgriHubi partners to the Nordic Testbed Network”, Liisa Pesonen emphasizes.

Actors on the area of ​​discomfort
“The strength and effectiveness of AgriHubi comes from working together. Real change arises from questioning established patterns of action. We must step into the zone of discomfort and experiment new ways of doing things. Farm entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in pilot projects”, Sari Forsman-Hugg emphasizes.

AgriHubi provides an interaction forum where farm enterprises can influence and participate in the reform of education in the field, especially in farm management and the digitalization and the development of advisory services. A web service will be built for AgriHubi, where network operators will compile the latest research data and solutions based on both research and development work.

Coordinated by LUKE
The AgriHubi network is coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). To support the network, a steering group has been set up, representing a wide range of actors and stakeholders in the sector: farm companies and producer organizations, educational institutions, advisory organizations, research institutes and companies in the food chain. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry supports the work.

For more information about the AgriHubi Network, contact Sari Forsman-Hugg, Head of the AgriHubi Network:

Nordic Testbed Network provides funding for two testbed initiatives

Due to minimal traveling caused by Covid-19, the Nordic Testbed Network used less of its 2020 budget than planned. We therefore invited all of our testbeds to provide ideas for relevant activities in line with the core of the network, which the network could fund.

We are happy to announce that AgroTech and Alovivum have been granted funding for their respective initiatives.


Digital tests for optimised spraying with minimal overlap

The Danish Technological Institute’s initiative lies within the area of precision agriculture – a key element in the digital transformation of the bioeconomy. The use of pesticides can be optimised by using GPS systems, drones, and camera technologies. However, also the precision of the field sprayers can be optimised using digital solutions, by new add-on technologies and computer control.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the quality of agricultural sprayers by measuring of the boom movements with/without a technology controlling the yaw movements.

– I think there are good possibilities for ensuring a more sustainable plant production, by using digital solutions both implemented on new sprayers and the farmers existing equipment. However the producers of digital solutions are often start-ups ag-tech and SME companies and the cost for proving the effect for the farmers can be relatively costly and difficult to finance. The funding from the Nordic Testbed Network gives the possibility to measure the estimated positive benefit for a more accurate spraying, says Birgitte Feld Mikkelsen, Danish Technological Institute.


An outreach for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration

Photo: Alovivum’s pilot site in Gödelöv, Genarp, Lund, Sweden.

Alovivum’s initiative involves an outreach of the testbed for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration to the local bioeconomy and food community, in order to interact with farmers to co-develop indoor farming applications, retrofit farm buildings and select plant species for local supply chains. The interaction may eventually be extended to consumers, retail and other stakeholders.

– We chose to apply for this project since we believe that sharing data and results from our testbed and pilot site for hydroculture cultivation and farming will help us and others to make this innovative way of indoor farming and its benefits and KPIs more visible and subject for further development, comparison and benchmarking, as well as mutual sharing of progress among the Nordic testbeds and other stakeholders, says Henrik Hedlund at Alovivum.

Contact: Henrik Hedlund, Alovivum

Smart Agtech Sweden – one of the EDIH candidates

Smart Agtech Sweden is one of Swedens 15 European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) candidates, competing of becoming one of the up to 6 EDIH in Sweden. The proposed hub aims to improve innovation rate of the Swedish agricultural sector by further integrating it with the ICT sector based on 3 pillars: Smart Farming (i.e. Precision Agriculture and Precision Livestock Farming), data analytics using AI, and IoT.

Read more further down

Illustration: Per Frankelius, Linköping University


Low rate of innovation

In line with the overall high levels of digital proficiency in the population, many Swedish farmers are early adopters in automation and monitoring systems to offset high input and labour costs. Despite this rapid transformation among farmers the rate of innovation is estimated to be lower in agriculture and food processing than elsewhere in the Swedish economy with research not being well connected with the needs of the agriculture and food sector (OECD Food and Agricultural Reviews: Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Sweden, 2018).


Network for stakeholders

Smart Agtech Sweden EDIH will bring together cutting-edge digital technologies with agricultural equipment manufacturers, food producers and advisory organisations to enable the further addition of value-added services to the agricultural sector in Sweden and support further innovation. It is a powerful initiative with the ambition of transforming the Swedish agri-food system into state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability and competitiveness through smart digital technology. The strategy is to disseminate and develop digital technology in agriculture and related ecosystems, focusing on SMEs and the public sector.


Several strong players

Smart Agtech Sweden is an initiative linking Sweden’s leading regional agtech digital innovation nodes and is coordinated by RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) in collaboration with strong agtech players: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and regional platforms in Eastern Central Sweden, Western Sweden and Southern Sweden, namely Agtech 2030 (c/o Linköping University), SmartAgri (c/o Agroväst), Region South (c/o Krinova) and Test bed for digitalized agriculture (c/o RISE). In addition, Visual Sweden (c/o Linköping University) and allied partners are included. Local SMEs will benefit from the hub’s partnership and be offered qualified support for e.g. testing and development of new products and processes.


Anna Rydberg:
Kristina Anderback:

New course focusing on the role of testbeds in a digital bioeconomy

Later this year, the new course Digitalisation and the bioeconomy starts – welcoming PhD students with an interest in the interplay between digitalisation, innovation and the bioeconomy. The course explores the interface between digitalisation and the bioeconomy with a particular focus on their development in testbeds and subsequent adoption to help achieve more sustainable bioeconomies.

The course is offered by the research school Social Science Perspectives on Sustainable Development, an umbrella organisation between the Department of Economics and the Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Please spread the word to people in your network that could be interested! More information about the course can be found here.