“No sector has a greater impact on climate change and biodiversity than agriculture”

How UM computer scientists are developing software for farmers

For the series "The societal impact of UM research", Professor Christopher Brewster was interviewed by Observant's Dennis Vaendel. This edition is entitled "How UM computer scientists are developing software for farmers".

In the interview, Christopher explains how his work aims to use data, technology, and AI to make agriculture more efficient, and therefore more environmentally friendly: “The IT world claims that computers are the solution [to mitigate the considerable impact of agriculture on biodiversity loss and climate change]. They can help reduce the use of fertiliser, pesticides or water, for example", he says. He remains realistic, however: “I’m aware of the danger of technological utopianism, the idea that technology will solve all our problems. People have been quick to hype smart farming, but so far, there’s little evidence that it’s actually more efficient or environmentally friendly. Much research still needs to be done on that".

At UM, Christopher Brewster is currently involved in and leading several projects: EU-FarmBook, OpenAgri, BioFin, and DiTECT, which is in its final stages. 

Professor Christopher Brewster holds an endowed chair in the Application of Emerging Technologies at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and is a Senior Scientist of the Data Science group at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).