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CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois is launching the Center for Digital Agriculture, a new collaboration aiming to take advantage of the university’s engineering and agricultural expertise.

It involves the UI’s Grainger College of Engineering and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

The center will also work with companies in the agriculture and computing industries and include research projects, summer internships and scholarship programs.

An industrial-affiliates program will give member companies early access to research outcomes, and preferred recruiting opportunities and collaborative research.

The Center for Digital Agriculture is formally launching Tuesday at the Center for Digital Agriculture Industry Conference, which will feature speakers from Syngenta, John Deere, IBM, AGCO and Microsoft.

The center informally launched in March, when it announced it would be making seed-funding awards of up to $50,000 for one year for research on automation, data, animals and crops, and people in agriculture.

Thirteen projects received funding, including a project on simplifying autonomy for field robots and another on addressing the effects of soil and water pollution in rural communities.