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Take part in the Organic Ecosystem Innovation Program

about the program

Founded in 1962, CIHEAM is the International Center for Advanced Agronomic Studies of the Mediterranean, an intergovernmental organization composed of 13 member countries and with 4 offices, one of which is in Bari. With the objective of fostering the knowledge exchange and promoting technological innovation, CIHEAM Bari in collaboration with the innovation hub Almacube organizes the Organic Ecosystem Innovation Program, an innovation program that supports collaboration between small and medium-sized enterprises in the area and national and international innovation players.
CIHEAM Bari is looking for innovation players (start-ups, spin-offs, innovative organizations but also project ideas promoted by individuals, research groups and networks of professionals) interested in participating in the Innovation Program, developing solutions able to meet the Innovation Challenges proposed by some companies of the CIHEAM Bari community. The selected innovation players will have the opportunity to get in touch with local businesses, receive training and mentoring for product development, develop innovative Solution Concepts responding to the Innovation Challenges and potentially activate collaboration contracts aimed at the realization of a Proof of Concept at the end of the program.


  • Validate your solution by applying the technology to new agricultural sectors.
  • Develop specific solutions in collaboration with the small and medium enterprises that are part of CIHEAM Bari’s network.
  • Acquire new customers and position your company as an innovative technology provider in a new business ecosystem.
  • Apply the methodology of design thinking to your product development with the contribution of Almacube expert coaches.
  • Contribute to innovation in the agrifood field, making a real impact on the territory and on crops.

*Candidates admitted to the acceleration and co-design program (maximum 5), will receive a sum of 2,000 Euros


It is possible to participate in the program as Innovation Player (start-ups, spin-offs, companies and legal entities, however established, with registered office in Italy or abroad), and also individuals of age, who participate individually or as a “project team” representing universities, research centers, associations, NGOs, institutes, etc. To participate it is necessary to read in full and accept the Regulations available at this link.

The only way to apply to the program is the completion of the online application form available by clicking on the “Apply” button, to be completed no later than Sunday, June 22nd 2022 at 23.59 (CEST).


Phase 1 – Application & Selection

From 09/05/2022 to 22/06/2022 – Innovation players can apply by filling in the online form.
From 28/06/2022 to 12/07/2022 – Pre-selected innovation players attend dedicated networking and knowledge exchange meetings with the SMEs from CIHEAM Bari’s network. Following these meetings, up to 5 projects will be selected to join the Phase 2 of the program.

Phase 2 – Acceleration & Co-Design

From 01/09/2022 to 10/10/2022 – In this phase, hybrid work teams are set up, made up of representatives of the SMEs and the innovation players; each team is assigned an innovation coach who facilitates meetings and guides in the use of Design Thinking methodology. The weekly commitment foreseen for the participants is 2-4 hours. Phase 2 ends with the drafting of a technical / commercial proposal for the adoption of the innovative technology along the SME’s supply chain. The solutions developed by the 5 teams are presented during the final event “Innovation Day” (November 2022).
*Candidates admitted to the acceleration and co-design program (maximum 5), will receive a sum of 2,000 Euros

Phase 3 – Proof of concept

From November 2022 – At the end of the Program, the small and medium-sized enterprises involved by CIHEAM Bari will evaluate the solutions that have emerged. CIHEAM Bari reserves the right to propose collaboration contracts for the realization of a Proof of Concept to one or more of the Innovation Players involved.


Upcycling: Valorization of byproducts and waste

Crops such as Lemon and Almond have various production wastes as well as products that are totally edible but have little value for sales to customers.

We are looking for projects that explore new ways of using under-cut or waste products (shells, leaves, hulls, etc…), which can generate high value in different business sectors (e.g. health, nutrition and leisure) ensuring long-term profitability and supply chain sustainability.

Circular Economy: Clean Energy for the manufacturing cultivation process

Currently, companies that are particularly focused on the environment and sustainability face technological limitations in the processing/cultivation phase due to energy-intensive processes that are often powered by non-green energy.

We are looking for projects that explore new processes and technologies for the production of renewable energy and / or energy efficiency in agriculture, with particular attention to new trends such as Agro-photovoltaic, micro-wind, accumulators, etc.

Circular Economy: Sustainable Packaging

Packaging plays an important role in companies that are particularly attentive to the environment and sustainability and that are faced with technological limitations in the packaging phase, finding themselves forced to use plastic or non-recyclable packaging.

We are looking for projects that explore new ways and technologies of packaging, through the use of organic and compostable packaging (ideal if made from production waste), extremely recyclable or reusable.

Digital Agriculture:
Smart farming

The cultivation and care of plantations/crops can be significantly improved through automation and the collection of timely, real-time data.

We are looking for innovative farming decision support tools and / or solutions to automate field interventions, with a particular focus on data collection through IoT sensors and tools that can be easily installed and connected with the existing agricultural machinery.

Business: New product lines, new processing processes

Companies operating in the cultivation of fruit/seeds often find themselves having to tie their business to the single sale of the unprocessed product (almonds, lemons, etc.).

We are looking for projects that explore new uses of the production of crops (from fruits/seeds to waste) for the design and sale of new edible product lines (eg. from almonds to almond cream) and non-edible ones (knitwear, paper or other).


The challenge of the Società Agricola Semplice Arcadia’s almond orchard is to create a product capable of arousing interest not only for its quality, but also for its history and natural beauty. Arcadia has begun a poetic union between tradition and modernity by creating an almond grove with traditional planting and local cultivars, conducting it with cutting-edge agronomic techniques and sustainable, organic farming.
The Utile Buono e Bio network combines the development of organic production, mostly local, with the sale and home delivery of certified products, all while promoting and supporting the creation of training opportunities and social and labor inclusion for people belonging to the area of disadvantage (physical, mental, social and economic).
Naturalmentethe company is specializing in the production and marketing of sustainable and genuine products made according to the dictates of organic farming. The company wants to offer products that best describe the characteristics of authenticity and taste of Puglia. The activity is born from an agricultural tradition handed down from generation to generation, where at the base of the work there is a lot of passion combined with the desire to bring to your table only first quality products, with a unique taste.
PisMar Agricola is an agricultural company and an innovative start-up, which deals with research and development in the agricultural and agri-food field with the aim of studying and patenting new plant varieties with great nutraceutical potential for the production of semolina and enriched flours ensuring the survival of local varietal accessions.
Polvanera winery was born from a long family tradition which decided to focus on a pure wine making, exalting the autochthonous and the territorial recognizability of Apulia. The winery has an unusual cellar, it is dug for 8 meters in the limestone rock, which allows wines to age at a constant temperature.

#Energy #Cleantech #IoT #Agritech #Datacollection #AugmentedReality #Automation #CircularEconomy #DigitalAgriculture #Drones #Forecast #GHGemission #ImageRecognition #Recycling #RemoteControl #RemoteTraining #RenewableResources #Robotics #Sensors #SmartFarming #WasteReduction #Agrophotovoltaic #Microeolic #Windenergy #Packaging #SustainablePackaging

about us

CIHEAM Bari is a center for post-graduate training, applied scientific research and design of interventions in partnership on the territory in the context of research programs and international cooperation. Cooperation and research actions concern important issues such as food security, poverty reduction, institutional capacity building, more efficient use of natural resources, enhancement of agricultural production and productivity, promotion of organic farming, development of sustainable food systems.

Almacube is an innovation hub and incubator certified by the Ministry of Economic Development. Founded in 1999, Almacube is composed of two strategic units, Open Innovation Unit and Start-up & Spin-off Unit, and thanks to the support of its partners, the University of Bologna and Confindustria Emilia Area Centro, it promotes innovation and economic development of the territory by bridging the industrial world and the research world. We target Startups & Spin-offs, SMEs & Corporates, and Communities of Innovators. We support startups and spin-offs in business development and go-to-market. We help small and large established companies to innovate through customized programs involving students, young professionals, researchers, professors and startups using the approach of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Human Centered Innovation.


Individuals and legal entities who provide services and / or products and / or technologies, however denominated, applicable to the agriculture, sustainability and circular economy sectors. As an example, startups, spinoffs, small and medium-sized enterprises, consultants, experts, researchers, laboratories, etc. can all take part in the Innovation Program.

It is necessary to carefully read and accept the regulations and then submit the application form online through the IT procedure accessible from the website (click on the "Apply" button and follow the instructions contained therein and fill in the Application).

The Innovation Program is divided into two main phases. In the first phase, the participants submit their applications presenting their projects and, if selected, will be able to participate in the in-depth meetings with the small and medium-sized enterprises involved by CIHEAM Bari. At the end of such meetings, a maximum of nr. 5 projects will be selected to join the acceleration and co-design program that will take place in September and October 2022.

No, the Innovation Program is completely free of charge and equity-free. In addition, the projects selected to participate in the acceleration and co-design program will receive a sum of € 2,000.

The intellectual property of the projects belongs to the participants who developed and presented them. Each participant assumes the duty and full responsibility of protecting the inventive and / or original elements through the most suitable IP means.

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