The DESIRA research team has produced the open access article ‘Digital transformation of agriculture and rural areas: a Socio-Cyber-Physical System framework to support responsibilisation’. The article has been published in the Journal of Rural Studies on 21 May 2021.

Digital technologies are often seen as an opportunity to enable sustainable futures in agriculture and rural areas. However, the digital transformation process is not inherently good as it impacts on many aspects (e.g. economic, environmental, social, technological, institutional). Thus, the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach calls for a better understanding and anticipation of the often unknown impacts.

To meet this aim, DESIRA has articulated a framework that allows unravelling the multiple interactions created and affected by digital transformation in the context of agriculture and rural areas. It supports the processes of problematisation and eventually responsibilisation, enhancing an understanding of systemic change linked to digital transformation.  This framework enables to gain insight on the relations between the social, the cyber and the physical domains, that is a Socio-Cyber-Physical System (SCPS) and have described conditions for a successful digital transformation of such a system. The functioning of the framework is illustrated in the publication with an example of a dairy system as a SCPS.

To learn more about these concepts, DESIRA’s Conceptual and Analytical Framework (CAF), was published last May 2020, and elaborates on the theoretical underpinning of the project. A number of Conceptual Briefings are also online to help you understand the individual concepts: (i) digital transformation; (ii) the Socio-Cyber-Physical System; and (iii) Digital Game Changers.