BD.20.013 – The future of digital agrifood: building ethical, business enabled, legal, and socially responsible data architectures for sustainable, collaborative practices along the value-chain

Route: Creating Value through responsible access to and use of big data

Cluster question: 112 Can we use Big Data and Big Data collection to define values, generate insights, and get answers?

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) outline a need to secure food sources for growing populations, while reducing environmental impact and supporting democratic governance processes. In an attempt to realise these goals, big data technologies are rapidly being developed to support better decision-making and efficient use of resources in agri-food value chains. Yet, research has shown that many stakeholders are hesitant to share their data due to a lack of trust in agri-businesses, opaque data management processes, and lack of incentives for sharing. The design of IT platforms for the ecosystems that surround production and consumption of food must, but so far rarely do, resonate with the emerging sense of what is considered as fair and beneficial by the stakeholders involved. In short, there is huge value potential that could be realised through new big data technologies for all parties involved, if their data architectures are tailored to the needs and values of users and are supported by appropriate governance mechanisms that attend to the conditions that enable stakeholders to confidently share and use data. In this research we will take a transdisciplinary approach to not only develop ethical and legal frameworks and inclusive business models to support data use in a way that is appropriate for agrifood, but we will expand data governance capacities through a participatory research process and develop usable data sharing architectures that embody our findings. In doing so, we will address the question: What are the social, economic and legal requirements and consequences of responsible data use in agriculture for sustainable food systems, and how can requirements be realised and consequences addressed through new virtual infrastructures?


agriculture, data architecture, data sharing, ethics, Governance, inclusive business, legal frameworks, sustainable food systems

Other organisations

WEcR (Wageningen Economic Research)


Organisation Wageningen University and Research (WUR)
Name Dr. K.A. (Katharine) Legun