The closing conference was held on 31th of January 2023 in the frame of REGIONal Strategies 4 FOOD 4.0 Revolution (R4F) project’s pilot action. The event was organised by the Hungarian Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE) with the cooperation of South Transdanubian Innovation Agency Non-profit Ltd. (STRIA) and located on the Gödöllő Campus.
In practice, the pilot action was a knowledge transfer, including a needs analysis and a policy recommendation, demonstrating the relevance of the action. The main activity of the action was the testing of the Master’s Degree in Digital Agriculture and Agri-Food Innovation in Higher Education in Agriculture, transferred from the University of Seville, at the MATE Kaposvár Campus, which included training and education of professionals. In addition, students were able to attend presentations given by agricultural professionals, such as AgroVIR Ltd.
The final event of the pilot action featured presentations by MATE, STRIA and the University of Seville among others. The results of the R4F project were presented by Natalia Ardila, project manager. Bernadett Horváthné Kovács Phd (MATE) spoke about the positive experiences of the pilot action and Zsolt Pálmai (STRIA) highlighted the policy recommendations made, while Péter Miklós Varga (Neumann Nonprofit Kft.), a permanent expert, spoke about the importance of the Digital Agricultural Strategy (DAS).
Summarizing the experience, the pilot action was successful and the policy recommendations should be taken into account for the future, especially with regard to the following points:
- in the higher education context:
- a new, complex and integrated MSc course should be introduced at MATE in addition to the existing agri-food subjects,
- Consideration should be given to transferring to the DAS the elements of the Spanish MSc programme that complement the Hungarian agro-university matrix,
- digitisation and precision farming,
- economic aspects:
- a reassessment of university-industry relations is needed,
- Tailored support for university-industry collaboration on digitalisation knowledge and skills,
- the role of model farms and agricultural enterprises in practical education and dual training,
- expert policy relevance:
- relevant inputs to be integrated into strategy when reviewing the DAS – consideration of the transfer of MSc training to Hungarian agricultural higher education (like the R4F pilot action just completed),
- regular and timely training of teachers in higher education institutions.
The success of the pilot action clearly shows that there is a demand for a Master’s programme in Digital Agriculture and Agri-Food Innovation in the Hungarian market. It would be worthwhile to integrate this Master’s programme partially or fully into the Hungarian higher education offer in the future.
The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.