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Coordinating a network of testbeds to support digital transformation in the Nordic bioeconomy

Project experience | Consulting


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The problem

Digitalisation plays a vital role in the rapid development of the Nordic bioeconomy. A fundamental part of this process is the need for access to cutting-edge platforms, so-called testbeds, where new digital knowledge and technology can be developed. There are multiple testbeds throughout the Nordic countries that aim to promote this bioeconomic development. There is a need to optimise resources through joint initiatives and inter-regional collaboration, but this is hampered by a lack of structured networks to link the testbeds.

In this context, Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and Nordic Agri Research (NKJ), partly funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic governments, commissioned Analysys Mason to initiate and coordinate a Nordic Testbed Network.

The solution

In the first phase of the project, we undertook interviews and desk research to map the current testbed landscape in the Nordic region. This analysis also served to deepen our understanding of the role of testbeds in driving the development of solutions for the digital bioeconomy, and the adaption and commercialisation of these solutions. To seek guidance on how to best form and establish a Nordic network of testbeds, we created a reference group of Nordic experts in the bioeconomy field.

Following the initial analysis, we formed a network of testbeds active in the intersection between digitalisation and bioeconomy. The areas of focus for testbeds range from the development of autonomous forestry machines to improved decision support systems for farmers. However, a common feature of all testbeds is that the solutions developed depend on digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as on connectivity solutions and effective data management.

To establish a common aim for the network, we organised a workshop to discuss the vision of the Nordic Testbed Network. Based on insights from the workshop, the following vision for 2023 was developed: to co-create solutions which support digital transformation in the Nordic bioeconomy. To enable the vision, a specific milestone for 2020 was created: to increase knowledge sharing between Nordic testbeds active in the intersection between digitalisation and bioeconomy. We then undertook various activities to promote achievement of the 2020 milestone, including:

  • organising a digital workshop with testbed presentations, discussions on joint initiatives under the Digital Europe Programme, and an inspirational talk on artificial intelligence (AI)
  • developing a best-practice report providing an outlook on policy initiatives related to testbeds, digitalisation and bioeconomy, as well as learnings from practice in this area
  • organising a webinar on usability of solutions developed at testbeds, looking at how to ensure that these solutions are user friendly and easily adopted by end users.

In addition to these network activities, we continue to support Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) by providing insights on potential policy implications associated with digital transformation of the Nordic bioeconomy.

Figure: Establishing a network in three steps

Illustration

The result

Today, the Nordic Testbed Network includes 11 testbeds active at the intersection between digitalisation and bioeconomy. In addition, the network connects various people from academia, businesses and public organisations engaged in this field.

Together, members aim to achieve the network’s vision for 2023: to co-create solutions which support digital transformation in the Nordic bioeconomy. By co-creating such solutions the network will increase general awareness of the role of testbeds and digitalisation in the development of the Nordic bioeconomy and facilitate knowledge and technology transfer between Nordic countries.

You can read more about the Nordic Testbed Network here.

We are currently coordinating a network of testbeds to support digital transformation in the Nordic bioeconomy