Reducing the use of antibiotics to improve animal health

    20 juillet 2021
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Doctoral student Alessio Buscemi from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg together with international students have recently won the Innovation 4 Change (I4C) contest for their project Farmelody, a platform to match farmers with companies capable of providing tailored recommendations to improve animal health.

Farmelody, an innovative platform

The goal of Farmelody is to collect and aggregate data from various existing sources (e.g. precision livestock farming sensors) and correlate them with the sequencing and analysis of the animal microbiome. By having a deep and almost real time understanding of the current health status of the herd, the farmers will be able to react promptly and, possibly, with a limited usage of antibiotics. 

“The main differences between current solutions and ours is first of all that each supplier provides a limited number of sensors and its recommendations are based on those. By contrast, our integration will be done at data level, so that a higher number of sources can be exploited. Then, by correlating this data with the microbiome analysis, we will get more accurate insights. In addition, we do not want to implement a stand-alone solution. Instead, we want to create an ecosystem that will allow farmers to join a virtual community and get updates about the latest farming technologies with a simple and clear language”, explains Alessio Buscemi who is doing his PhD within the Security and Networking Lab (Secan-Lab), headed by Prof. Thomas Engel at the University of Luxembourg. 

Innovation 4 Change (I4C) 

In parallel to his PhD, Alessio started the programme Science and Management at Collège des Ingénieurs Italia to develop his managerial and entrepreneurial skills. In the scope of this MBA, he had the opportunity to participate in the Innovation 4 Change (I4C), the leading Italian innovation project. 

I4C consists in a five-month programme during which the participants develop innovative and scalable business ideas and practical solutions to answer the important challenges related to social, economic and environmental problems of today. 

“Our challenge was proposed by the international company Royal DSM to exploit the analysis of gut microbiome to improve animal health. It is interesting to notice that our team was the one with the highest percentage of PhD students (50%). This is an encouraging sign that academic researchers are fit for bringing innovation in the startup environment as well. We used our hard and, especially, soft skills developed through our PhD to come up with the winning solution”, comments Alessio. 

The international winning team is now looking for partnerships with both industry and academia and will continue to apply for early-stage startup competitions in Europe.