Innovative Research

Innovative Research

Well-connected in the field

“We’re in a progression of connectivity,” explained Richard Grant. “Purdue is giving us the opportunity to enhance the linkage between the increasingly connected world and what we’ve always been doing.”

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Multi-sensor drone technology for plant phenotyping receives $4.5 million from energy agency

A Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup is creating technology to help meet the growing global demand for bioenergy and, in partnership with Purdue, has received new support from the U.S. government.

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Purdue partnering on 5G research to improve ag automation

Purdue University scientists are collaborating with colleagues at North Carolina State University and others on fifth-generation (5G) and beyond wireless network research that holds promise for improved farm machinery automation.

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Local sunshine meets local needs with global impact; key is cogenerating electricity alongside farming

A team of engineers, agronomists and economists at Purdue University’s Center for Sustainable Food, Energy and Water Systems are developing novel photovoltaic module designs for use on agricultural land to cogenerate electricity.

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Want to keep a cow happy? AI, robotics could hold the answer

Even cows have emotions and a happy cow is a better milk producer than one under stress. But how do dairy farmers read an individual bovine animal not known for its facial expression amongst a herd of up to 10,000?

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The latest buzz around digital agriculture

“It wasn’t until a family friend took me beekeeping that I got hooked,” recalled Brock Harpur, assistant professor of entomology. “It happened as soon as I put on the suit, opened up the colony and saw the life inside. It’s pretty remarkable what you can see inside of a honey bee colony as a scientist.”…

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Digital agriculture: Why the future is now

How is digital agriculture going to change the landscape of farming over the next decade?

It depends on who you ask.

Many see digital agriculture as the future of the industry. At Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, however, the future is unfolding now, in different patterns and paces across campus.

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Director of Agricultural Data Services begins connecting the dots

Barely moved into his new working area, Aaron Walz is already working to bridge gaps between data collection and data use at Purdue. Eager to begin in his new role, Walz has unpacked little more than the essentials: a computer, digital photo frame and his guitar. “We currently have a professor who is working on…

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Speed of data collection takes flight with drones

Digital agriculture developments allow UAVs to collect a new level of data using advanced sensors. Technology opens up grand new possibilities of scale for plant science, transferring what once was slow, inefficient research by humans into rapid collection of vast quantities of data by unmanned vehicles, robotic systems, and sensors embedded in the field.

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With digital agriculture, phenotyping improvements are automatic

Jian Jin, Assistant Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, knows to make progress, one must continuously move forward. The mindset is reflected in his automatic high-throughput phenotyping greenhouse, which is able to collect continuous data with hyperspectral imaging. The system is one of several exciting innovations produced by Jin’s lab in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University.

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Innovative Research

As big data continues to redefine processes and possibilities in agriculture, Purdue University helps lead the way through innovative, interdisciplinary research. This convergence of technology in agriculture is driving the industry forward across many applications.


Agriculture is an area ripe for technological acceleration; however, the data processing, computation, communication and storage requirements of research programs expands exponentially. To advance the field, Purdue partners with programs, organizations, and initiatives to reach shared objectives. Purdue is collaborating with information technology companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise to combine Internet of Things (IoT) and high-performance computing to gather, transmit and analyze field and lab data to reduce the time to discovery.


Researchers in forestry, plants, animals, natural resources and human well-being incorporate the newest applications of technology to make faster and more informed decisions than ever before.


Revolutionary imaging systems raise the speed and accuracy of plant data collection through phenotyping, contributing to the fight against global hunger. UAVs pair with high-speed internet to capture and transfer valuable information in real time. Digital agriculture provides new ways to monitor livestock without human intervention, optimizing the contribution and well-being of individual animals. By incorporating the tools of digital agriculture, we can monitor and preserve forests and natural resources. New technologies and their adoption present opportunities to collect and transmit data in increasingly remote areas.

Open Ag Technologies and Systems Group (OATS)

The OATS Center is bringing an open source culture to agriculture and believes data exchange among systems, people, and projects is key for agricultural sustainability. OATS addresses fundamental concerns and helps open-source communities thrive.

Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA)

The Open Ag Data Alliance is an open-source project designed to bring interoperability, security, and privacy to agricultural data. This open standards software will establish secure data exchange protocols and help farmers access and control their data.

Institute for Plant Sciences

The Institute for Plant Sciences strengthens plant-research programs and Purdue’s ability to deploy discoveries for global impact. The institute expanded plant biology, produced two state-of-the-art plant phenotyping facilities and established an IoT test bed for digital agriculture.