News & Events

The Horizon Europe THEROS Project Kicks Off

On February 23rd and 24th, the THEROS project “An integrated toolbox for improved verification and prevention of adulterations and non-compliances in organic and geographical indications food supply chain” held its face-to-face kick-off meeting (KoM) in Athens, Greece. THEROS is a 36-month EU-funded Innovation Action project funded under the Horizon Europe programme, which officially started on the 1st of January 2023.

Our colleagues Dr. Charalambos Klitis, R&D Technical Project Manager, and Dr. Konstantina Panagiotou, R&D Programme Manager/Researcher, participated in the KoM, which was chaired by Valantis Tsiakos, representing the Institute of Communications & Computer Systems (ICCS), as the project Coordinator. The 17 consortium partners attended the KoM presenting project vision, objectives, and a plan of the next period. An overview of the overall project along with expectations and guidelines by the European Commission has been presented by the Project Coordinator.

During the meeting, it was highlighted that consumers’ trust can be enhanced by ensuring traceability and transparency in the respective supply chains. This will ensure a clear overview of the operators that are involved in the production, distribution and marketing of organic products in the EU. Existing traceability and control systems can contribute to this goal; yet the heterogeneity of current practices, the use of manual processes and the advent of new business models, lead to a lack of service continuity towards the quality labelled food products verification. In addition, the digitalisation of the inspection processes in order to alleviate the administrative burden and strengthen organic certification through innovative technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, constitute emerging requirements and promoted actions for sustainable organic production in the coming years. The same applies to protected geographical indications and designation of origin products that link production to territories, aiming to protect them against misuse or imitation in the free trade of goods.

THEROS will implement an integrated toolbox capable of modernising the process of verifying organic and geographical indications of food products and preventing adulterations and non-compliances. It will also demonstrate enhanced traceability, security and transparency in the supply chain, through the use of various technologies and innovations that leverage Earth Observation, photonics, internet of things, DNA metabarcoding, blockchain, digital interfaces and product passport, advance analytics, AI/ML and business models. At the same time, efficient mechanisms will be employed in order to ensure interoperability with existing control systems, as well as improved accessibility and sharing of data through harmonized and standardized means, whilst also demonstrating their uptake by relevant stakeholders for improved decision-making.

eBOS will design, develop and integrate the graphical Human Machine Interface (HMI) of THEROS toolbox. The HMI will allow the efficient monitoring of activities taking place in the organic and geographic indications supply chain for improved decision-making by policymakers and supply chain actors.

Furthermore, eBOS will implement AI/ML techniques for verifying the origin and quality of food products based on their DNA footprint.

eBOS will also act as the project’s Quality Assurance and Risk Manager, implementing quality assurance procedures and ensuring that proactive measures are taken to mitigate risks.

Finally, eBOS will also lead the project’s exploitation activities by developing the market-entry preparation plans and the post-project sustainability strategy. Tailored business model(s) will also be developed, aiming to carry forward the commercialisation of the Key Exploitable Results and their market entry.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.