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02-06 October 2023 Study visit to university of Valladolid (Spain)

The first day was devoted to the Agrifood cluster, IT technologies in Agriculture in Palencia city. The participants were warmly welcomed over coffee reception, introducing the UniClad projects coordinator in Spain and the collaborator team. This welcome was followed by an introduction to the activities planned for the coming days, providing a formal and informative overview of what the participants could expect during their stay. Furthermore, A warm welcome from the school director and the campus vice-rector formally opens the visit, advising participants to maximise this opportunity to learned and grasp ideas and concepts that can be further developed in their home countries.

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GIR researchers shared their entrepreneurial experience in the agricultural sector: success stories and technological companies that were created within the framework of this project. The participants of the visit also had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Center for Agricultural and Agri-Food Technologies (Itagra), the facilities of the center such as the experimental greenhouse and the phytopathology greenhouse, to get an idea of the various projects, trials and experiments that the center is developing. Itagra aims to help companies improve their competitiveness through a culture of innovation.

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Participants received the presentation of an expert winery guide offers an in-depth visit to the experimental winery and food technology laboratories, where the production of quality wine is studied using different materials and techniques.

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The last visit of the day was the Cereal Technology Centre of Castilla (CETECE),a non-profit organisation, originally focused on training in cereal processing, but has since broadened its scope to include research, technological development and quality improvement in the agri-food sector.

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The second day was devoted to the Agrifood cluster, IT technologies in Agriculture in Valladolid. Study tour participant learned more about the services they provide, the university community, the starts up of companies, and legal matters The competitive research group learned about the preliminary steps before bringing products to the market and technology companies associated with the university in Valladolid.

The group has visited the Lucia Building at the University of Valladolid (built in 2013). It has been certified as the most sustainable building in Europe, the entire northern hemisphere and the second most sustainable in the world. The main purpose of this eco-friendly building is to house laboratories and scientific research centres. The Lucia Building reduces its impact on climate change by more than 90% and has no negative impact on aquatic life and freshwater resources. Furthermore, participants were able to visit the "Arboretum", which is a botanical garden focusing on woody plants.

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The participants of the program knew about the University of Valladolid Science Park, which was created to promote innovation, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship within the university community and society at large. It acts as a link between the university and entities, companies and institutions in need of research, development and innovation services, offering technical support and resources to facilitate innovation in companies' production processes and the university's research lines. The University of Valladolid's commitment to promoting entrepreneurship is carried out through the Park's Business Creation Unit. This support is made possible thanks to two entrepreneurship programmes: the T-CUE project (Knowledge Transfer University-Company), promoted by the Government of Castilla y León, and the EXPLORER programme, aimed at people under the age of 31 who want to work on their business ideas, supported by the Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre.

The General Foundation of the University of Valladolid (Funge), created in 1996, manages various university departments and infrastructures in order to effectively promote relations between the university, society and local businesses. Furthermore, the University of Valladolid's Fablab is a space for co-creation and knowledge exchange using cutting-edge technology.

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The Laboratory of Instrumental Techniques (LTI) of the University of Valladolid is a central service attached to the Research and Scientific Policy Vicerectorate of the University of Valladolid. Most of the facilities are located on the Valladolid campus, with a smaller part on the Palencia campus. The laboratory is available to the scientific community and the business world, offering scientific and technological services in various scientific and technological fields, using the equipment and resources of the University of Valladolid. The mission of the Science Park of the University of Valladolid is to promote innovation within the university community of the four campuses of the University of Valladolid (Palencia, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid), as well as within the business fabric of Castilla y León.

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The final activity on the second day was a guided tour of the city of Valladolid. This tour was designed to enhance the participants' understanding of the city, its culture, customs and development, embedded in the operational and transformative way the city has developed the agribusiness sector. During the excursion, participants had the opportunity to explore Valladolid's most iconic landmarks, such as the Plaza Mayor, located in the heart of the city.

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On the third day, the participants of the program visitedTechnological Park Agrifood cluster Valladolid. CARTIF is a private and non-profit applied research centre born from the University of Valladolid, offers a glimpse into its mission of providing innovative solutions to businesses. CARTIF focuses on enhancing their processes, systems, and products, ultimately boosting competitiveness and creating new business opportunities. The centre engages in a wide range of multidisciplinary research projects, spanning sectors such as energy, food, industry, construction, health, and the environment.

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Moreover, the centre operates accredited laboratories that offer a broad spectrum of testing services, serving both its own needs and external clients. These laboratories cover areas such as Energy, Agri-food, Materials Manufacturing, and 3D Digitalization. They maintain rigorous qual, exemplified by accredited labs like Solid Biofuels and Materials.

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The study tour visit Vitartis, an organisation dedicated to the sustainability of the food industry in Castilla y León and the region's economic and social development. Vitartis promotes innovation in all aspects, representing the sector to both public and private organizations. It consists of socially responsible agri-food companies in Castilla y León, committed to sustainable practices and delivering high-quality products. Universities, regional technological centres engaged in agri-food research, and service companies to the sector also participate as members. Vitartis acts as a bridge between the business world, science, and research, serving as a crucial connector and advocate for the industry.

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The 4-th day was devoted to technological milk production and processing in Palencia. The Milk Technological Station of the Agrarian Technological Institute of Castilla y (ITACyL) serves as the gateway to the technological aspects of the agricultural and agri-food sectors in Castilla y León, focusing on applied research and infrastructure development. It collaborates closely with various operators and entities to promote the region's agri-food products. Created under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Castilla y León Regional Government, the institute aims to enhance the competitiveness of strategic agricultural and agri-food sectors and their processing industries. Its mission is to foster innovative capacity in agriculture and agri-food in Castilla y León and ensure that its activities continue to benefit the citizens. ITACyL's plans are designed to deepen agricultural research, innovation, technology development, and satellite-based services, promoting the regional agri-food industry.


During this day participants of the study visit were in the Interprofessional Dairy Laboratory of Castilla y León. It is a non-profit private entity, established with the support of the Autonomous Administration of Castilla y León. Its primary purpose is to provide analytical services to livestock farmers and dairy sector companies in the region, facilitating the continuous improvement of the quality of milk and dairy products. It operates as a Joint-Stock Company, with 50% of the capital belonging to the livestock sector and 50% shared equally between the Castilian-Leonese Federation of Dairy Industries and the agricultural organizations UCCL, UPA, and ASAJA.

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During the 5-th day of the visit was trip to Tordesillas and a traditional local family winery in the Eno Tourism area. The last day of the study tour focuses on a tourism visit, with a special emphasis on enotourism. The visit begins in Tordesillas, a town of historical significance due to its strategic highway connections, becoming a major transit hub. The local economy thrives on services, particularly in the tourism sector, as well as agricultural production from the surrounding area, where wheat has been a traditional agricultural product. TheThe tour continues with a visit to a family winery that has preserved the legacy and passion of winemaking for five generations. tour continues with a visit to a family winery that has preserved the legacy and passion of winemaking for five generations. The tour continues with a visit to a family winery that has preserved the legacy and passion of winemaking for five generations. Bodega Muelas' winemaking history dates back to 1886 when the family's involvement in winemaking began.

Bodega Muelas specializes in traditional, high-quality wines, using the traditional Rueda grape varieties, Tempranillo and Verdejo. Their underground cellars, where the wines are aged in various types of barrels, including American Oak, Spanish Oak, French Oak, and Acacia wood, give the wines their distinct aroma, finesse, and flavour preservation

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The study tour in the city of Valladolid and Palencia was a valuable and informative experience for all participants. The tour successfully achieved its objectives, which centred on providing an in-depth knowledge of the essential prerequisites for establishing thriving clusters in the field of sustainable agriculture and agri-food systems developmen