VistaMilk, a new SFI Research Centre, was launched in Teagasc Moorepark, at Fermoy, Co Cork, today, Friday, 12 October.
The VistaMilk SFI Research Centre, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), represents a unique collaboration between Agri-Food, ICT research institutes and leading Irish / multinational food and ICT companies.
The centre will be hosted by Teagasc, in partnership with Tyndall National Institute; the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology; the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF); and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics (at UCD, NUIG, DCU & UCC).
Launching VistaMilk, Minister Michael Creed said; “This €40 million centre will, for the first time, link the Irish Agri-Food industry with Ireland’s leading technology research institutes in a large-scale innovation ecosystem. I am confident that the opportunities that will arise from the interactions between Agri-Food and ICT will help to maintain and build the competitive advantage of the Irish dairy sector.”
The research programme in the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre will particularly address:
• Soil & Pasture: Knowledge and tools to sustainably grow a greater quantity of consistently higher quality herbage for consumption by grazing cows.
• Cow: Achieving a greater volume of consistently higher quality milk through scientifically-supported optimised management and breeding strategies.
• Food: Develop higher value-added dairy products for human consumption, optimised for the predicted milk supply and quality based on predicted grass growth profiles and cow performance from earlier Targeted Projects.
In addressing these areas, the centre will combine biological sciences with cutting edge information communications technology areas:
• Sensors: The development of robust highly sensitive sensor infrastructure based on (i) nano-electrochemical, (ii) spectroscopic and/or (iii) mechanical sensors integrated with control electronics, firmware, edge computing data analytics and data communications.
• Communications & Networks: The development of efficient and reliable end-to-end communication protocols for transporting information from various sensors all the way to the fog and cloud computing infrastructure.
• Data & Data Analytics: The development and application of machine learning and statistical modelling techniques, across the dairy supply chain, to predict optimal outcomes for pasture, for cows, and eventually for food production.
• Decision Support: Develop and deploy modular-based decision-support resources informed by the multilevel data and associated analytics for use by producers in the pursuit of consistently better performance.