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Large European project will make forestry data available

Thanks to the technological development, large quantities of data can be collected from the forestry and agricultural industry. But how can forest holders, society, and companies make use of all data so that all parties benefit from it? This is the focus of the new European research project EnTrust with a budget of Euro 2.7 million and Linnaeus University and Södra as main Swedish partners.

16 universities and companies from five European countries, among them Linnaeus University and Södra, collaborate on a new, major project called EnTrust. The project will focus on demonstrating how data from the forestry and agricultural industry can be made available, governed, and exploited, and how the benefits of this can be divided in a fair way between forest holders, society, and companies. The project will also promote biodiversity.

“Large quantities of data are being collected within the forestry industry, throughout the chain, from forest production via sawmills to after-sales. We want this data to be exploited and believe that this can help forest holders broaden their operations”, explains Arianit Kurti, associate professor at Linnaeus University and project manager for the Swedish part of the project.

Eleven doctoral students

An important part of EnTrust are the eleven doctoral students who are to be appointed. Their research will focus on the intersection between computer science, information systems, and social sciences.

“The objective is to train them into becoming the data executives of the future, with focus on analysis and availability of data, with creativity and innovative ways of thinking as evident characteristics”, Kurti continues.

Two of the doctoral students will be placed in Småland: one at Linnaeus University and one at Södra. The doctoral student at Södra will develop business models for the exploitation of forestry data from a societal perspective as well as from a sustainability perspective.

The university’s doctoral student will develop a protocol for assessment of immaterial assets. This will give farmers and forest holders the opportunity to exploit data to measure and drive performance towards the EU’s Green Deal; becoming the world’s first climate-neutral region.

Design and test data-driven business models

Södra looks forward to the EnTrust collaboration and the work that is to be conducted by the externally employed doctoral student.

“Our goal is to have the best IT solutions and digital offers in the forestry industry. Together with the externally employed doctoral student, we will design and test data-driven business models”, says Torbjörn Karlsson, head of digital at Södra IT.

“We see the project as an additional way to increase the value of our members’ forest farms, and to increase our own digital maturity linked to the global goals for sustainable development. It’s a great opportunity for Södra to be able to do this together with Linnaeus University within the EnTrust network”, Karlsson continues.

SEK 30 million in EU funding

EnTrust is funded by the European Commission through the programme Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks. The total budget is Euro 2.7 million.

For Linnaeus University and Södra this means Euro 300 000 each. The companies Interior Cluster Sweden and HL Design are also participants in the Swedish part. They will contribute with, among other things, guest lectures and practical support to doctoral students.

“Linnaeus University will coordinate the part of the project that deals with developing new types of viable business models that create a fair division of the value of the data provided by forest holders. In this way, it can be guaranteed that the forest holders benefit from the value they create”, Kurti concludes.

More information

Maynooth University in Ireland is coordinator for EnTrust. The start-up meeting took place in Dublin on 8 March and the project will run until December 2026.