On the 19th of August the Mi5 Bogotá student group started officially the operations with a kick-off meeting. Unfortunately the meeting was held on Saturday and 15 students participated while other 10 were unable to attend. Students carefully listened to the presentation by Professor Giacomo Barbieri, teacher at the Mechanical Engineering department of los Andes University, who explained the proposed challenges for this semester and the mission of the Mi5 group. Since Colombia is mainly an agricultural country, our focus topic will be on the use of technology in agriculture: smart farming.
The kick-off meeting showed that the students participating in Mi5 are not only curious about the 8 challenges proposed, but they are also committed to their country and to their own learning. The challenges are not easy, but everyone is motivated and ready to begin working. Out of the 8 challenges, 6 of them are sponsored by Colombian companies dedicated to using technology in agriculture (and other related areas), one of them is sponsored by los Andes University, and one of them corresponds to the organization and coordination of the Mi5 group. Detailed information about the challenges can be found at our Facebook page (Mi5 Bogotá) and soon in our webpage colombia.life4-0.com .
One of the objectives of the meeting was to get to know the participants, so each student presented himself and chose the challenges that interested him/her the most. The most popular ones were the challenges proposed by Win2sol (automation for aquaculture) and Israriego (automation of drip irrigation systems for urban farming). Most of the students are engineers from los Andes University, but there are also designers, administrators, political scientists, and marketers from 3 other universities. Today, 2 weeks after the first meeting, over 40 students are involved.
During the meeting we all contributed together to define the guidelines that we will follow as part of Mi5. Here we decided that a weekly meeting should be held between each team and their industry advisor, and one meeting of the entire Mi5 group should be held on a monthly basis. The location for this meeting has not yet been decided, but hopefully we will find a place with a TV where we can hold an informal meeting.
We have high expectations for Mi5 Bogota, where interdisciplinary and interuniversity work will strengthen research on smart farming in Colombia, and it will strengthen the link between industry and academy. For the students this will mean much more than a line on their CV. Participating in Mi5 will require for them to develop skills that will help them to become the leaders of tomorrow, and they will give agriculture in Colombia the chance to thrive once again.