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Why is it Important to Have Experiments and Pilots in a Project?

According to the esteemed Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that embrace project management practices consistently report higher success rates in meeting objectives and delivering value to stakeholders. This substantiates the pivotal role of robust project management strategies in achieving desired outcomes.

Experiments and Pilots Unveiled

Experiments and pilots are often used interchangeably, yet they possess their own unique attributes. Furthermore, they are also known as proofs of concept and constitue invaluable tools within project management. Through experimental activities, while testing specific ideas, processes, or devices on a smaller scale, thus enabling assessment of viability and efficacy before committing to full-scale implementation. Additionally, this type of early verification provides a platform for evaluating feasibility, effeciveness, and potential challenges inherenet in a project.

On the other side, pilots are structured and controlled endeavors that validate and test project feasibility prior to full-scale execution. Pilots encompass a comprehensive exploration of technical and operational aspects, involving end-user feedback and real-world insights for refining project plans.

Experiments, as crucial elements of project management, yield following benefits:

• Risk Reduction: By conducting experiments, organizations identify potential pitfalls early on, enabling proactive mitigation and minimizing chances of substantial setbacks during full-scale deployment.
• Refinement of Strategies: Experiments pave the path for fine-tuning project strategies based on real-world testing and feedback. This optimization of approaches ensures alignment with objectives and enhanced project readiness.
• Informed Decision-Making: The gathering of valuable stakeholder feedback during trials empowers organizations to make well-informed decisions concerning full-scale implementation. This aligns projects with end-user preferences and optimizes project design.

Effective project management holds significant importance, where experiments and pilots play essential roles as invaluable tools, such as EMDESK, within this context. Experiments focus on assessing the feasibility of particular concepts, whereas pilots serve to verify and enhance solutions before their complete implementation. Nevertheless, both approaches actively contribute to mitigating risks, engaging stakeholders, and facilitating well-informed decision-making. The example of CrackSense demonstrates that combining pilot initiatives with experimental activities increases the likelihood of successfully delivering innovative and influential solutions.

CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production

CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days: Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production

In the first week of October, HELEXPO in Thessaloniki has been the stage for the shared synergies of CrackSense and 27 other participating projects, in a collaborative space designed to foster connections, engagement, and growth.

CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production 1
Photo credit: Smart Agri Hubs

During the first day CrackSense was presented by the coordinator from Volcani InstituteVictor Alchanatis, in a captivating PechaKucha format, reaching over 200 participants and sharing the project’s mission, vision, and goals.

CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production 3

Victor Alchanatis and Avi Sadka also conducted a compelling workshop titled “Data-driven management of fruit cracking intensity in trees”, where recent insights from CrackSense field experiments have been shared and discussed with the audience. Highlights from the field recordings, notably from Greece and Israel, made by an advanced TOMMY system comprised of several types of sensing systems, were presented, so the participants were able to see vineyards and orchards through TOMMY’s eyes.

CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production 4
CrackSense booth was a lively place for discussion and engagement with the interested audience, ranging from farmers, software and hardware engineers to synergistic project representatives. Opportunities for joint project activities were explored and insights shared. Notably, informal discussions sparked an interest in addressing potential solutions for fruit cracking mitigation measures, optimizing data collection methods across the entire fruit production value chain (from cultivation to storage and retail), and advancing the development of innovative drone technology.
CrackSense Highlights of the Synergy Days Introducing the New Era of Fruit Production 2

Find  Synergy Days insights, photos and more on SmartAgriHubs!

Meet our Consortium Leader - Volcani Institute

Meet our Consortium Leader – Volcani Institute

The Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) – Volcani Institute, founded in 1921, stands as the oldest, largest, and leading agricultural research institution in Israel. As the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, ARO is a powerhouse oriented to enhancing the agricultural sector and addressing the challenges of the 21st century. With a dedicated team of experts, ARO is involved in both basic and applied research, covering a wide range of agricultural domains. It particularly focuses on advancements in arid zone agriculture, given the fact that Israel – a country short of all the resources required for agriculture, achieves among the highest levels of agricultural output in the world.

Meet our Consortium Leader – Volcani Institute 2(2)
ARO experimental fields and research locations

The People Behind the Research

ARO boasts a diverse team of 200 scientists with PhD degrees, supported by 450 research assistants and 120 administration staff members, who jointly ensure smooth and efficient research conduct. Furthermore, ARO serves as a knowledge dissemination base by engaging 300 graduate students and hosting 100 visiting trainees in post-doctoral programs.

Centers of Excellence

ARO’s commitment to excellence is evident through its various centers of expertise, which are dedicated to advancing specific fields within agriculture. Some of these centers are described in the infographic.
By leveraging cutting-edge solutions such as artificial intelligence and nanotechnology for improving crop yields and pest control, exploring the world of beneficial microbes for agricultural applications, tackling climate change issues and promoting animal well-being, ARO strives to solve critical issues in agriculture and pave the way for a sustainable and productive future.

Fast-tracking of the Crop Development

One of ARO’s pilar achievements lies in the field of variety development, where remarkable reduction in time to breed new crop varieties has been achieved. Classical breeding methods typically take 7-10 years to develop a new variety. However, at the Centre for Genomic Editing at Volcani Institute, this development time is cut by one-half to two-thirds.
The primary focus of the Centre is on a variety of crops that are of local and global importance in the agricultural landscape, including berries, olives, grapes, apricots, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, citrus fruits, figs, lychees, almonds, avocados, and mangos.

ARO in CrackSense

Volcani serves as the leading organization of CrackSense consortium, and it comprises a team of five researchers, project manager and accompanying staff,  and some are highlighted in the infographic below.

Meet our Consortium Leader – Volcani Institute

In CrackSense, the primary responsibility of the ARO, in addition to project management, involves the identification of variations at a field-scale level and the examination of tree-related factors linked to fruit cracking. This analysis extends to understanding how fruit cracking is connected to tree health and the subsequent yield loss. ARO’s duties also encompass the deployment of remote sensing technologies, including both active and passive sensing-based UAVs, to assess tree health and yield, as well as to estimate the yield loss associated with cracking on a regional scale. During the project’s lifetime, ARO will perform experiments and pilots in citruses, pomegranates and grapes.


CrackSense Newsletter Issue #3

Welcome to the 3rd CrackSense Newsletter

CrackSense is gaining traction across the continents and receives well-deserved recognition! See what’s in store and find out about the latest developments, experiment progress and CrackSense features in the news!

CrackSense featured on Euronews Green Week Debate: How can Europe lead the way on food security and production?

Euronews’ Green Week Debate hosted a panel discussing Europe’s ability to ensure food security amidst climate change and increasing global hunger. The panel was led by Damon Embling, senior producer and Euronews journalist, and it featured four guests: Edward Davey, Director of Partnerships, Food & Land Use Coalition (FOLU) & Co-Director, World Resources Institute UK Guillaume Gruere, Acting Head, Agriculture and Resources Policies Division, OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate Professor Mladen Radišić, CEO, Foodscale Hub & Communication Manager, CrackSense, and Marloes Martens, Product Manager, Human Nutrition & Health, Ynsect.
Euronews Green Week Debate Newsletter 3

Summer vine: Experiments on table grapes started in Lachish, Israel

The initial phase of the CrackSense project has been started in Lachish, a central region of Israel, conducted by the Volcani Institute in collaboration with Tali Grapes. The experiments comprise of an array of proximal and remote sensing techniques to tackle the prevailing issue of fruit cracking in table grapes of the Vitis vinifera variety, specifically the SunWorld cultivar.
Lashish experiments Newsletter 3

Meet Our Partner Campaign

Meet our partner Newsletter 3
Take a moment to explore our ongoing “Meet Our Partners Campaign.” In our regular features, we shine a spotlight on our esteemed partners, giving recognition to their team member expertise and role within CrackSense. Keep an eye out for featured partners in our CrackSense Newsletters and subscribe to our LinkedIn page! In the 3rd CrackSense Newsletter we present Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), lead beneficiaries of Work Package 4.

CrackSense Showcase at AgroMashov Agriculture Exhibition in Tel Aviv: Strong support from Israeli Ministry of Agriculture

The Tel Aviv agriculture exhibition AgroMashov not only served as a platform for showcasing innovations but also highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in driving the agricultural industry forward. The recognition from the Minister of Agriculture and the global attention garnered by the CrackSense project demonstrate its potential for transformative change in agriculture.
AgroMashow Newsletter 3

Bite-sized Info on Cherry Production in Europe

Fruit production is facing numerous challenges across the globe. Check out our infographics, based on the data available on the FAO website, describing the individual fruit crop production fluctuations across several years in the EU, and wider.
Bite-sized-Info-on-Cherry-Production-in-Europe Newsletter 3

Explore the News and Blog Posts in CrackSense Newsroom

Newsroom Newsletter 3
Fruit cracking poses as a lasting, recurring cause of yield loss for orchard and vineyard owners. Different studies cite an average of between 30-40% of yield losses for various crops, ranging from cherries, table grapes, pomegranates, pears, peaches, etc., and are variable depending on the crop, season and orchard management practices. Up to this date, no unique solutions have been proposed, but are rather tailor-made for each and every individual crop, orchard, climate and sometimes, even, season. CrackSense aims to develop a unique set of sensing tools and to provide means for well informed, data-driven decision making for a wide range of fruit production value chain stakeholders. So far, there are multiple aspects to consider for orchard maintenance, and some of them are described in our latest blog post.
CrackSense Showcase at AgroMashov Agriculture Exhibition in Tel Aviv Strong support from Israeli Ministry of Agriculture Featured photo

CrackSense Showcase at AgroMashov Agriculture Exhibition in Tel Aviv: Strong support from Israeli Ministry of Agriculture

Tel Aviv, September 5-6, 2023 – CrackSense is thrilled with the latest updates from the agriculture exhibition in Tel Aviv! AgroMashov not only showcased the cutting-edge innovations in the agricultural sector but also witnessed significant recognition for the groundbreaking CrackSense research.

CrackSense was praised by an inspiring speech by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Avi Dichter. He emphasized the vital importance of the CrackSense research in advancing the agricultural industry. This endorsement from such a prominent figure underscores the critical role that CrackSense is poised to play in shaping the future of agriculture.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of the TOMMY System developed by ATB. This innovative technology promises to revolutionize various aspects of agriculture, from crop monitoring to resource management.

In a testament to the international impact of this event, Amnon Lichter, a researcher from Volcani and member of the leading consortium team of the CrackSense project, was interviewed by a Lithuanian reporter. The interview provided an opportunity to share insights and expertise on the subject with a global audience, further emphasizing the significance of CrackSense on an international scale.

The Tel Aviv agriculture exhibition AgroMashov not only served as a platform for showcasing innovations but also highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in driving the agricultural industry forward. The recognition from the Minister of Agriculture and the global attention garnered by the CrackSense project demonstrate its potential for transformative change in agriculture.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to track the progress of CrackSense and other groundbreaking technologies in the world of agriculture and subscribe to our newsletter!

CrackSense Synergy post

CrackSense Set to Inspire at Synergy Days in Thessaloniki – Showcase of a Turning Point in Fruit Production

Thessaloniki, October 4-5th Get ready for an exciting showcase of agri-food innovation and collaboration! CrackSense joins the lineup of groundbreaking projects at Synergy Days set to take place in Greece this October.

Synergy Days, the flagship networking event for agri- and business digital innovators, is hosted by SmartAgriHubs and promises an extraordinary platform for interaction and knowledge-sharing. Attendees can expect a dynamic atmosphere enriched by a diverse set of workshops focusing on specific topics, accompanied by a lively exhibition space designed to foster informal interactions.

CrackSense’s Engaging Workshop

CrackSense, a rising star in the fruit production landscape, is poised to leave a lasting impression at Synergy Days. Victor Alchanati and Avi Sadka, the consortium leaders and driving forces behind CrackSense, will lead an interactive workshop. They will offer insights into the project’s latest advancements, its first experiments, exciting updates in field trials, and the process of technical development of the project’s pillar measuring and monitoring system.

A Thrilling 3-Minute Pitch Session

To further captivate the audience, CrackSense will be presented in an exciting 3-minute Pitch Session, delivering the essence of their vision and mission in an impactful manner. This will be an opportunity to witness the passion and innovation that drives CrackSense’s team and success.

Join Us at the CrackSense Booth

Synergy Days visitors can also look forward to visiting the CrackSense booth, where lively discussions and collaborations with synergistic projects, investors, industry leaders, and other interested participants will unfold. This presents a unique chance for attendees to delve into the world of CrackSense, gain valuable insights, and explore potential partnerships.

Save the Date!

CrackSense is set to inspire, engage, and leave a lasting impression on all those in attendance at the event. To find out more, check out the organiser’s SmartAgriHubs website. If you are in Thessaloniki during October 4th and 5th, register for free, or follow their website to stay tuned for insights from the event!


Bite-sized Info on Grape Production in Europe

In the past several years, droughts have affected total grape area harvested throughout Europe. Check out the graphs below.

Graph 1. Total grape area harvested in EU 27+ countries from 2017. to 2021. Data source: FAO website
Graph 2. Total grape production in EU 27+ countries from 2017. to 2021. Data source: FAO website
Graph 3. Total grape yield in EU 27+ countries from 2017. to 2021. Data source: FAO website
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JOB OFFER Research Engineer


JOB OFFER – Research Engineer
Digital phenotyping for the assessment and prediction of fruit
cracking in sweet cherry and Citrus

The National Institute of research for agriculture, food and environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment gathering a working community of 12000 people, with 268 research, service or experimental units, located over 18 centers within France. INRAE is one the world leaders in agronomic and food sciences, as well as in plant and animal sciences. Its research aims at building solutions for a multi-performing agriculture, food quality and a durable management of resources and ecosystems.


You will be welcomed within the Research Unit BFP (‘Fruit Biology and Pathology’), team A3C (‘Adaptation of sweet Cherry to Climate Change’) at INRAE Bordeaux and within the Research Unit AGAP (‘Breeding and Adaptation of Mediterranean and tropical plants’), team SEAPAG (‘Evolutive Structure of Citrus, Polyploidy and Breeding’) at INRAE Corsica. These two units closely collaborate within the European project (Horizon program) CrackSense: ‘High throughput real-time monitoring and prediction of fruit cracking by utilizing and upscaling sensing and digital data technologies (, initiated in 2023.

CrackSense project, coordinated by Volcani Center (Israel), deals with Citrus, sweet cherry, pomegranate and table grape. Its ambition is to better understand and predict the complex phenomenon of fruit cracking, a major agronomic problem, at the fruit, tree and plot level. At INRAE, we work on sweet cherry and Citrus, on plots that are situated at the Experimental Fruit Tree Unit (UEA), at Toulenne, nearby Bordeaux, and at the INRAE station of San Giuliano, in Corsica, respectively. CrackSense project relies on proximal and remote sensing technologies including 3D temperature point cloud data (LIDAR and Thermal Infra-Red) processed on edge unit, as well as on the production of « proxies » for ecophysiological variables (water stress, nutritional status, etc.) from UAV (drone) images. By combining these data with satellite data and other agri-environmental variables linked to the physiological status of trees, the project will produce real-time risk evaluations of fruit cracking at the plot and regional level, in order to improve orchard management and minimize economical losses.

In tight collaboration with researchers and technicians involved in CrackSense project, you will be specifically in charge of:

– Organize the measurements to be conducted at both sites of Toulenne and San Giuliano on sweet cherry and Citrus, respectively, both for proximal or remote sensing
– Tightly interact with the project partners responsible for the analysis of thermal images for the data fusion of 3D LIDAR and temperature point cloud, and for the development of prediction models of fruit surface humidity
– Develop site-specific prediction models for ecophysiological variables by using measurements from ecophysiological sensors and images from UAV sensors
– Coordinate the implementation of a French database from surveys conducted at sweet cherry and Citrus growers’ orchards dealing with the occurrence of fruit cracking The periods during which the digital phenotyping activities will be conducted on sweet cherry and Citrus are not overlapping, and you will be asked to spend periods in both experimental sites, near Bordeaux and in Corsica. You will have as well the chance to participate to different scientific seminars within CrackSense, gathering
numerous actors from the academic and research sector but also from the fruit growers’ world, from Europe and Israel.


– Training: Agronomic engineer (MSc level)
– Knowledge: smart agriculture, statistics, digital phenotyping, computer programming (python, R), machine learning
– Experience: agronomic field trial design and follow-up, data analysis linked to remote-sensing
– Skills: Interpersonal skills and ability to work with different groups (researchers, farmers, development
and extension services), organizational abilities and rigorous for data collection, traceability, quality and analysis, autonomy


By joining INRAE, you will benefit from, according to the type of contract:
– Up to 30 days of holidays + 15 days of time off per year (for a full-time contract);
-parenthood support: CESU childcare, services for leisure activities;
– systems for competences development: training, counseling on career orientation;
– social guidance: advice and listening, social grants and loans;
-holidays and leisure facilities: holiday vouchers, special-rate accommodation;
– sports and cultural activities;
– collective restaurant.

 Reception arrangements

-UMR BFP – Bordeaux (33) and UMR AGAP
– Corsica (2B)
– Type of contract: CDD
– Length of contract: 33 months
-Date of start: from 01/11/2023
– Salary: according to INRAE contractual grid
– Housing INRAE San Giuliano: rent of 250€/month

 How to apply

-Send cover letter and CV to
José Quero Garcia – INRAE
Laurent Julhia – INRAE
-By e-mail :
– Deadline for application: 30/09/2023

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Bite-sized Info On Citrus Production in Europe

Total lemon and orange area harvested in EU 27+ countries (2017-2021)

Graph 1

Total lemon and orange yield in EU 27+ countries (2017-2021)

Graph 2

Total lemon and orange production in EU 27+ countries (2017-2021)

Graph 3

CrackSense Newsletter Issue #2

Welcome to the 2nd CrackSense Newsletter!

Stay on track with with the latest CrackSense developments!

The goal of CrackSense is to develop and upscale sensing tools for real-time data collection through experiments and piloting activities. This data, combined with Earth Observation Data and other environmental information, will create EU-wide datasets. CrackSense will use sensing technologies to assess cracking risk at different scales, from individual fruit to regional levels. By reducing yield losses by half, our Integrated CrackSense Solution will bring financial benefits to farmers and growers. Exciting progress is underway at CrackSense, with the first experimental activities gaining momentum and capturing attention across the agrifood spectrum. Stay tuned for the latest advancements.

Paving the Way: First Analyses on Greek Orchards and Vineyards

Paving the way Newsletter 2
Pegasus Agrifood Coop, together with the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), embarked on a field visit to Greece experimental plots. They engaged with local farmers and collected soil samples to be analysed in the laboratory. These testing plots, located in Kiato and Argos, focus on table grapes and pomegranates as part of the CrackSense project.

Meet our Partner Campaign

Meet our partner Newsletter 2
Have a look at our ongoing Meet Our Partners Campaign! In our regular features, we shine a spotlight on our esteemed partners, giving recognition to their exceptional team members, expertise, and role within CrackSense. Keep an eye out for featured partners in our CrackSense Newsletters and subscribe to our LinkedIn page. In the 2nd CrackSense Newsletter we present our WP2 leader – Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB).

CrackSense in Motion – First Workshop Dedicated to Hardware Introduction and Operation in Potsdam, Germany

The opening gathering of Work Package 2 for CrackSense took place on the 15th and 16th of May 2023 in Potsdam, Germany. Partners involved in WP2 came together for dynamic discussions and immersive workshops, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas regarding future plans and operational strategies.

The primary focus of the workshop was on mapping spatial and temporal variability in orchards and vineyards as well as developing well-suited multi-sensors and remote sensing tools for fruit-cracking prevention. The workshop revolved around a series of multifaceted presentations targeting the advancement of sensing systems.

CrackSense Showcased on the Largest Agricultural Fair in Southeastern Europe

Agricultural fair Novi Sad Newsletter 2
CrackSense project has been presented at the International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad, Serbia, throughout 20-26th of May 2023. Ranked as one of the largest agricultural fairs in Southeast Europe, with a remarkable 90-year-old legacy attracting a staggering approximate of 600000 visitors each year, this event united prominent local and international players in the realm of farming and agribusiness, as well as influential figures from diverse economic sectors.

Explore the News and Blog Posts in CrackSense Newsroom

CrackSense blog post Newsletter 2
Discover the world of fruit cracking, a phenomenon that impacts a wide range of meaty fruits, including sweet cherry, plum, apricot, apple, litchi, pomegranate, citrus, banana, avocado, grape, persimmon, peach, tomato, pistachios, and more. This peel disorder not only affects different fruit species but also presents variability within species and across different climates. With climatic conditions playing a crucial role in its occurrence, understanding this issue is essential. Stay updated and explore interesting topics, insights, and breakthroughs that shed light on this phenomenon. From in-depth analysis to innovative solutions, our newsroom covers it all.