FRC to combat climate change impact on agriculture with innovative tech solutions

Frederick Research Center (FRC) is advancing in the development of software and technological tools for effective plant evaluation, contributing to mitigating the impacts of climate change on Cypriot agriculture.

These tools are being developed by two FRC research units, the Mobile Devices Laboratory (MDL), coordinated by Dr. Andreas Konstantinidis, and the Computational Intelligence Research Lab (COIN), led by Dr. Charis Papadopoulos, as part of the Phenotypos research project. The project, which is coordinated by the University of Cyprus, has recently secured funding of €2.2 million from the Research and Innovation Foundation under a Call for Strategic Research Infrastructures.

The project aims to establish a state-of-the-art infrastructure for a plant phenotyping Center of Excellence in Cyprus, named PHENOTYPOS. Plant phenotyping is the process of quantifying the physiological and biochemical traits of plants under defined conditions and used to evaluate plant growth, development, quality, and plant responses to various environmental conditions and treatments. Collaborators on the project include the University of Cyprus (coordinator), the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Frederick Research Center, the Cyprus University of Technology, Atlantis Environment and Innovation company, Alion Vegetable & Fruits Company, and the Cyprus Research and Innovation Center (CY.R.I.C).

Dr. Harris Papadopoulos, lead researcher of COIN and Assistant Professor at Frederick University's Department of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Informatics, stated: "For the implementation of Phenotypos, COIN will design and develop machine learning and computer vision techniques. Specifically, the developed techniques will extract appropriate features from plant images, which will then be used in combination with a large volume of high-throughput sensor data to predict plant growth under extreme conditions, ensuring the accuracy of these predictions."

Dr. Andreas Constantinides, lead researcher at MDL and Associate Professor at the University's same department, explained that "MDL will develop the main software infrastructure which will connect various systems, collect, store and manage the large volume of data from sensors and an autonomous ground vehicle, offer data visualization and analysis, statistical analyses, advanced image data processing and labeling tools, and will host the machine learning techniques."

A plant phenotyping Center in Cyprus would enable the evaluation of plant cultivars that are best suited for local environmental conditions, provide a tool for plant breeders to select improved crop varieties, enable the testing of specific agricultural chemicals, accelerate research and development in plant and environmental research, and serve as a platform for building additional smart agricultural technologies. Moreover, it will aid in genetic improvement and selection of optimal varieties/genotypes, accelerate research and development in plant and environmental sciences, and serve as a platform for developing smart agricultural technology.

The Phenotypos project is co-financed by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Union's European Regional Development Fund.


Previous article icon-grid View all articles Next article