ask-Valerie smart tool boosts access to knowledge for innovation

A new knowledge and information platform for agriculture and forestry has just been launched.

A smart ‘virtual adviser’ tool will help practitioners and advisers access information that is directly relevant to their specific circumstances and challenges; giving them access to a large number of document collections selected by experts in agriculture and forestry that originate from European research projects, national and regional advisory services, levy boards, universities, journals, and selected other repositories. These include sustainable soil and water management, integrated pest management, recycling of biomass, supply chain optimisation, and ecosystem and social services from agriculture and forestry.

Screenshot of is the final outcome of the EU funded VALERIE project (“Valorising European Research for Innovation in Agriculture and Forestry”), which focused on six themes in sustainable agriculture and forestry. Ten case studies trialled a model for co-innovation involving practitioners (farmers, forestry managers etc.), advisers and VALERIE project researchers to access relevant information that addresses the key challenges identified by the case study participants. Document repositories indexed by in May 2018 are shown in the graphic below.

The tool can automatically find documents that contain agronomic or forestry terms used in the query, and enriches the query using related terms from a structured vocabulary developed by the VALERIE project, to enhance the user’s query.

The platform currently supports seven EU languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Finnish and Dutch). Users specify the languages they would like to work with and the portal will access documents in multiple languages from a search in a single language. The tool is also available on the European Innovation Partnership-AGRI (EIP-AGRI) website and it can also be launched from other platforms.

For the VALERIE project, a CCRI team developed and implemented the co-innovation methodology working with stakeholder communities using participatory methods in ten case studies across Europe. Talking to stakeholders we learned how they identify innovation needs and how they seek, interpret, and integrate (i.e. translate) new information from research. In the process, the project provided the case studies with information on innovations and gave them the opportunity to test selected innovations in trials. Case study stakeholders and partners also helped to build by iterative testing and evaluation. The outputs can be downloaded from the CCRI project page.