Successful digital matchmaking – in the time of corona

According to a study from Stanford University in 2017, 39% of all couples found their partners on the internet, and only 20% “through friends”. What works for people who search for love should also work for those looking for a research collaborator. And in an ongoing pandemic, the internet is more or less the only way of finding that partner. It was therefore natural for SNS and NKJ to make the 2020 Matchmaking Day digital.

Text and photo: Mats Hannerz, Silvinformation

 

Malin von Essen was facilitating our first matchmaking day online. It all ended really well and was promising for future online events.

Matchmaking Day is a forum where SNS (Nordic Forest Research) and NKJ (Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research) invite researchers and stakeholders from a broad spectrum of disciplines to identify possible partners and ideas for cooperation. The forum, which has been held almost annually since 2015, was switched this year to a digital platform instead of the usual mingling in person.

Focus on reindeer husbandry

The theme of the Matchmaking Day on August 25 was Reindeer husbandry in the arctic bioeconomy. The original intention was to gather potential delegates at a meeting in Inari, Finland in May 2020. But – the corona epidemic made it impossible.

– We talked a lot about a plan B, says SNS’ secretary Mimmi Blomquist, but we soon realised that the pandemic would continue for a long time, so simply postponing the physical meeting was not an option.

Instead, the meeting was held digitally, led by the facilitator Malin von Essen. Altogether 48 people were present for the full-day event.

Digital possibilities

The meeting was conducted using the Zoom platform, one of several online meeting tools. Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other services have seen an explosion in users since the pandemic forced people to work from home and avoid travelling. In just the first week from 11-18 March, Teams attracted 12 million new users, and Zoom use increased by 169% during the first months of the year.

– There are hundreds of thousands of people who are now learning how to use video conferencing services in an effective way. The changes we have been talking about for 20 years have now been implemented at record speed, says Malin von Essen.

A new reality

In her business, she moderates and organises meetings and workshops with the aim of inspiring people and taking the results back to their organisations. The meetings are normally physical, but in 2020 she had to rethink the situation.

– We carried out several digital workshops during the spring, and we have learnt a lot about the technique and how to use the potential of the services to engage participants, she says.

The Matchmaking Day was organised as a traditional meeting with lectures, but also with several shorter workshops in smaller groups. The digital platform Zoom facilitates flexible group meetings. In “break-out rooms”, participants with a common research interest could discuss cooperation in a group size allowing more intimate discussions, and the results could be presented later to the entire audience.

– Since we have chat functions and can also assemble suggestions using the menti.com tool, everyone can make their voice heard. And afterwards, other people can look at the recorded presentations and the results of the discussions, all being posted on the SNS’ website.

Content with the outcome

Mimmi Blomquist at SNS was impressed with how well the meeting worked out.

– Of course, we need to meet in person, but this is definitely an option that our research networks could use for many of their workshops. SNS and NKJ provide financial support to research networks with partners from all the Nordic countries, and also neighbouring countries. So, partners are often located thousands of kilometres apart, and we can save lots of travel costs and reduce climate impact by using these digital services, she says.

Advices for your coming digital meetings

It is easy to start a video conference, and most researchers and business people are already used to them, but to make the meetings effective, Malin von Essen has some advice:

  • Be clear about your aim and goal – why is the meeting needed and what output do you expect? Then start to think of the content.
  • Before the meeting is live, become familiar with all the functions in the digital platform. Conduct a test meeting with some friends.
  • Ensure that the meeting will function technically. Not all participants are equally comfortable, encourage them to test the technique in advance. Tell the participants to use a headset and web camera, and to avoid distracting surroundings or strong backlight.
  • Schedule breaks in the programme. It is better to have several short breaks than one long one.

Nordic funding opportunities in reindeer research:

The Nordic Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest Research (SNS) is calling for networks that will strengthen co-operation in reindeer husbandry research in the Nordic region. The applicant must be a researcher or communicator at a research institution. The network must include researchers from at least three Nordic countries.

SNS is calling for networks exploring forests and forestry in relation to reindeer husbandry. The application deadline is September 21, 2020. Apply here!

NKJ prioritises networks focusing on reindeer husbandry in relation to climate change and land-use change, but networks that focus on other aspects of reindeer husbandry are also encouraged to apply. The application deadline is November 20, 2020. Apply here!


SEE THE PRESENTATIONS:

Morten Tryland, professor in veterinary medicine, infection biology at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø

  • After a period of clinical veterinary practice, he transitioned to research and has spent most of his research career investigating infectious diseases in arctic wildlife and semi-domesticated reindeer, in close cooperation with Fennoscandian research groups and reindeer herders.
  • Morten told us about reindeer health and supplementary feeding, which is a quite complex issue.

Mortens presentation


Jouko Kumpula, senior scientist at Natural Resources Institute (LUKE), Finland. 

  • He is an animal ecologist and is interested in changes of pastures, reasons for change and how the changes effect reindeer hearding. 

Joukos Powerpoint presentation


Sirpa Rasmus, researcher at the University of Lapland, Arctic center, Finland.

  • She is  agefophysicist and is focused on climate impact studies.  
  • For the last ten years she has been involved in reindeer research, both climate impact research and more general research concerning reindeer. 
  • She works a lot with other researchers in interdicsplinary

Sirpas Powerpoint presentation


Åsa Larsson Blind, Chair of Sámiid Riikkasearvi and vice president of Saami Council.  

  • She lives in Kiruna in the Swedish part of Sápmi. 
  • She comes from a reindeer herding family in Ran reindeer herding community

She is going to speak about her vision of reindeer husbandry in the arctic bioeconomy. 

 


 

NordCAW symposium: antibiotic resistance, animal welfare and sustainability

Foods produced by animals with poor welfare pose a serious threat to human health. The purpose of the symposium is to increase awareness and knowledge of the One Health concept and to show that animal welfare is closely linked with the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance and thus human health.

Text: Margareta Stéen

 

Animal welfare and animal health affect the use of antibiotics in food production and thus the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Animals that live in poor conditions become stressed and can suffer from and spread infectious diseases. The use of antibiotics increases and the risk of antibiotic resistance arises.

The Nordic and Baltic Animal Welfare Centers (NordCAW) want to be a strong voice for animal welfare and work to reduce the use of antibiotics in food production. We work in the “One Health perspective” with the aim of protecting the health and well-being of animals, people and the environment.

With the symposium, NordCAW wants to share and disseminate knowledge about the consequences for poor animal welfare for the development of AMR in the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as in the rest of the EU.

When: Mars 24 2020,  10.30-17.10

Where: Audhumbla, VHC, Ultuna, Uppsala, Sweden

Program

Registration

Networking – crucial for bioeconomy? Conference in march!

Transforming the current economy into a “new” bioeconomy needs changed institutional frameworks at regional and national level, sensitive to and inclusive of place­based knowledge. The SNS-NKJ network BioWiseTrans arranges a conference seeks to better understand the role of people and networks in this transition. Welcome to Karlstad 27-28 of March 2019!

 

The name of the conference is “People and networks matter – enabling sustainable bioeconomy transition” and takes place in Karlstad in Sweden 27-28 March 2019.

Join the SNS-NKJ network symposium about biocontrol

The NKJ-SNS network Dialogue Biocontrol wants to bring together researchers, commercial actors and end users with interest in biocontrol solutions for North European conditions and to strengthen the dialogue between these groups. Therefore they invite you to a one-day symposium with the titel “Biocontrol in Agriculture and Forestry – research, innovations and markets”.

The venue is Alnarp, Sweden, and the date November 13th. Ramesh Vetukuri, Johanna Witzell, Jarkko Hantula, Lars Moelbak and Birgit Jensen will talk and there will be a lot of discussions to find a way forwards.

Register by e-mail to network coordinator: ramesh.vetukuri@slu.se. Deadline for registration: November 5th.

Find the program here!

Upcoming conference: Agriculture in civil defence

What mutual dependence does the society, total defense and agriculture have in a crisis situation? A conference is arranged on the subject in November, sponsored by NKJ.

Agriculture produces food, but can also add a lot of force in total defence. The machines, vehicles and knowledge in the sector can be of good use to for example extinguish fires or remove trees fallen over roads.

To do that, the agricultural sector needs fuel, water for the animals, electricity and so on in exchange.

The conference will discuss the needs on both sides to make cooperation possible and efficient.

NJF, Nordiska Jordbruksforskares förening, arranges the conference November 26-27 in Uppsala, Sweden. Here are some of the speakers:

Aud Sjökvist, the Swedish investigator of the efforts during the fire in Västmanland (Salabranden) in 2014. Former General Director of the Health services board of appeal.

Ivar Pettersen, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway.

Jyrki Hakola, director of the Dept of basic Supply and Industry, National Emergency Supply Agency, Finland

Björn Kjörlof, Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademin and former general director of Styrelsen för Psykologiskt Försvar och Pliktverket

 

There is a possibility to participate with a presentation or poster.

Contact:

Fredrik Fogelberg

+46 10 516 69 08

fredrik.fogelberg@ri.se

Website for registration and information:

http://www.njf.nu/seminars/ny-calendar-event-15/?date=2018-11-26

Don’t miss the IUFRO conference!

In september there will be a conference about Landscape Management in Prague.

The conference will be about new ways of gathering and processing data and remote sensing, the impact of climate change, modelling and how to bridge the gap between science and practice.

Kristina Blennow, professor of Landscape Analysis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden, is one of the keynote speakers. Another is Lluis M. Plà-Aragonès, associate professor, Department of Mathematics and a Senior Researcher at the Agrotecnio Research Center at University of Lleida, Spain and Pete Bettinger, professor, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources University of Georgia, USA, is also coming.

Deadline for abstract submission is June 30. Read more about that here!

Read all about registration and program here!

Digitization – conference as a melting pot

Filip Lundin, Macklean.

The NKJ and ICT-AGRIs conference ICT and Robotics for a Sustainable Agriculture showed the width and complexity in the process of digitization of agriculture.

 

Several speakers from a broad variety of companies, research and authorities was invited to the conference. The participants were presented to a variety of projects that aims to digitize agriculture in different ways.

– One of the most interesting sectors in the conference was the use of satellites and what an amazing infrastructure that has been built up in the EU. That anybody today can take part in high tech multispectral satellite data for free is a huge opportunity for European agriculture, says Filip Lundin, Macklean, one of the speakers in the conference.

Gather stakeholders
With the conference, NKJ and ICT-AGRI wanted to illustrate the development in the sector and to create a melting pot where different stakeholders in the process of the digitization could meet, interact and create synergies.

– Above all I think it is important to link private and official stakeholders. Both would have a lot to gain in an increased cooperation, says Filip Lundin about the main contributions in arranging the conference.

Unwilling to take all the risks
He says that private actors often hesitate to invest in new sectors, but with some cooperation and co-financing and sharing of risks with public actors, they would be more than happy to do the investments needed.

IoT, Internet of Things, is a broad term for placing sensors in for example machines, animals or land, sensors that will create data that can be used for developing farming or production of food. The Nordic countries are at the forefront of the development when it comes to research and technology suppliers. The Nordic farmers are generally positive to change and used to technology and can easily adopt to and learn about the new systems.

Denmark is ahead
Filip Lundin thinks that Denmark has a special position in Scandinavia.

– Above all I think that the Danish universities seem to have come a step further in research and in applying digital solutions, at the same time as the government and authorities put the issue of using digital solutions to increase their competitiveness on the top of the agenda.

A glimpse of the future
In the future, Filip Lundin believe that automation – that is discussed a lot – is more far away than a broader development of Farm Management Systems, that the farmer can control and manage the production with advanced systems

– It is important that stakeholders in the value chain think about the interoperability, that different digital systems can exchange data and cooperate.

New NKJ call soon launched
NKJ will launch a call this autumn with focus on digitization of agriculture. Networking is crucial between countries and stakeholders to spread knowledge and build new knowledge.

– Innovation isn’t only about inventing new things, but to copy and rebuild innovations from other countries and organisations, says Filip Lundin.

– Precision agriculture should be a bigger part of the activity of the universities I think, and in that process this kind of money could be a good start.

 

See the program and participants here!

Take part of the Macklean report Insikter

Digitizing agriculture: join NKJ conference at home

ICT-AGRI Conference on ICT and Robotics for a Sustainable Agriculture will be sent live!

You can have all the presentations right at your desk, just click here! It starts on friday 9.30 and ends 16.30.

With the help of digitzing we can improve, streamline and optimize food production to make it grow with decreased loss of resources. This conference in Copenhagen gathers experts from all over the world to engage in the subject.

The conference is arranged by NKJ and ICT-AGRI ERA-NET.

Follow the day here: http://ict-agri.eu/node/38778”