Integrating innovative TECHnologies along the value Chain to improve small ruminant welfARE management

TechCare Partner Team: Spark and UAB (Leader and Co-Leader WP6)

Spark Enterprise Management Company (1999) Ltd. is a projects and consulting firm whose headquarters is in Israel and serves leading clients locally and globally.  Spark business is initiating, developing concept, strategic planning and assimilating advanced systems and solutions that provide unique offers to various market segments, mainly to Precision Agriculture services.

Short profile of members undertaking the work in TechCare project:


Eitan Metuki: Manager (Active Director and Executive Comity), Business development, advisory board and business consulting to Start Up companies. Active Director for early-stage VC. Finance manager in multi-national companies, raising capital for startups from edging funds and private placements. IPOs in Israel and other countries. Human resources and administration managing in companies with hundreds of employees. Operation manager in new companies, communication and infrastructure industries. Acting as a Director in high-tech private and public companies. In WP6 Eitan is responsible for analysis process of the data collected from various resources enable to evaluate the validity of a certain BM to market TechCare EWS in the different EU market segments.

Ehud Ram: Master in Geophysics and Agronomy – An expert in Precision Agriculture. Developer of numerous projects in environmental remote sensing monitor systems – from powerplant dust detection to plant’s health in vertical agriculture factory. IDF Col. (Ret.), Intelligence Corp Computer Unit commander, winner of Israel Security Prize Award. Patents in precision agriculture – Livestock and Forestry. In WP6 Ehud is responsible for the definition and validation of a unique BM for the TechCare EWS and data analysis products.


Dr Nuphar Katsman: PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management – specializing in Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics. Manager of multiple HCI research projects for various industries, including healthcare, military and software companies. UX researcher with extensive statistics experience, managing and leading qualitative and quantitative studies. Data expert, working closely with stakeholders and R&D teams to collect, clean, and interpret data sets to answer questions and solve problems. In WP6 Nuphar is responsible for the data analysis needed to understand the different market segment needs, another role of Nuphar is to evaluate the EWS structure from the end user point of view.


The Ruminant Research Group – Grup de Recerca en Remugants (G2R) is a recognized research group of the Department of Animal and Food Science, of the Veterinary Faculty of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The G2R is an interdisciplinary group made up of researchers, postgraduate students and research support technicians, who apply their coordinated experience in physiology, nutrition, genetics, economics and ecology to the study of biological, technical and socioeconomic processes related to production, efficiency and sustainability of ruminant’s farms. The G2R’s activities focus on national and international competitive research projects, study contracts and applied research services for institutions, private and public companies, and on advice, training, and knowledge transfer to the Spanish and Catalan livestock sector. A highest priority for G2R is the implementation of new technologies to meet the current challenges of ruminant research and production. The G2R was recognized in 2002 by the Generalitat de Catalunya as a Consolidated Research Group, an official recognition that it maintains until today, as proof of its quality and scientific productivity. The current research lines of G2R are organized according to their structural units, and are:

Production systems and product quality

  • Physiology of lactation (milking and suckling)
  • Production of A2 milk and derived dairy products
  • Climate change adaptation of ruminants and strategies against heat stress
  • Use of feed additives to produce “functional foods” of animal origin
  • Analysis of the quality of animal products by spectroscopy (NIRS)

Yield improvement and farm management

  • Use of biomarkers and electronic identification in farm animals
  • Automatic registration of production and animal traceability
  • Technical and socioeconomic management of livestock farms
  • Assessment systems of animal welfare

Forage resources and natural environment

  • Carbon accumulation in grazing ecosystems
  • Global change and restoration of modified grasses in the forest
  • Organic livestock
  • Voluntary food intake and conditioned food aversion


  • Production of multifloral honey in periurban conditions
  • Application of sensors for hive monitoring
  • Assessment of bee welfare


Short profile of members undertaking the work in TechCare project:

Prof. Gerardo Caja is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Science of the Faculty of Veterinary of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, Spain). He studied at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), where he graduated as an Agricultural Engineer and did a PhD on Ruminant Nutrition. Later he carried out his teaching and research career at the UPM (Assistant Professor and Associate Professor), the UPV (Associate Professor and Professor) and at the UAB (Professor) where he founded the Ruminant Research Group (G2R) recognized as a Consolidated Research Group by the Generalitat de Catalunya. He has been a visiting researcher in the United Kingdom (U. Nottingham, Sutton Bonington), France (INRAe, Rennes and Montpellier), the United States (U. Minnesota-St. Paul, U. Wisconsin-Madison, U. California-Davis and U. South Dakota-Brookings), Saudi Arabia (King Saud U., Riyadh) and New Zealand (AgResearch, Hamilton). He has been member of the Spanish standardization committees (AENOR) and the international standardization working group (ISO) in electronic livestock identification, advisor of the Ministry of Agriculture (CEIEA) and the EU (DG Agri) on animal identification issues and consultant for FAO. He was elected full member (no. 27) of the Catalan Academy of Veterinary Sciences (2005) and in 2006 received the International Prize for Dairy Production from the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA). He collaborates with the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ-CIHEAM), as scientific coordinator and professor in the biannual master’s degree in Animal Nutrition, as well as in various short specialization courses in dairy sheep production and precision farming. His main areas of research are the production of dairy ruminants, including lactation physiology, nutrition, adaptation to thermal stress and milking management in sheep and goats, practical applications of electronic identification and sensors in precision livestock farming. Lately he has created a multidisciplinary beekeeping research group (UABee) interested in the welfare and conservation of bees that includes the monitoring of hives through sensors. He participated in 15 competitive national projects and 7 from the European Union, as well as in several cooperation and development projects, and in consulting with companies and public and private organizations. His scientific production includes the direction of 40 doctoral and 50 master’s theses, and the publication of more than 400 articles (of which 170 in indexed journals) and 11 international patents. In the TechCare project, Gerardo is the team leader and the coordinator of national workshops and large-scale trials in Spain. He also is the responsible of collection and analysis of small ruminant market data from the TechCare’s countries for business models development.

Dr Abdelaali El Hadi, graduated in Agricultural Engineering “Animal Production” with highest honors at the Agronomic and Veterinary Institute Hassan II (IAV, Rabat, MA) in 2012. After obtaining a competitive grant from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013-15), he earned the double official M.Sc. degree, with Cum Laude mention, in “Animal Nutrition” from the International Centre for Advanced Agronomic Mediterranean Studies (CIHEAM-IAMZ) and the University of Zaragoza (Zaragoza, ES). Thereafter, he was contracted as Research Assistant at the Department of Animal and Food Sciences of the University Autonomous of Barcelona (UAB, Bellaterra, ES), where he did applied research and performed his Ph.D. in Animal Production. In December 2020, he obtained his Ph.D. with international doctoral research component and Cum Laude mention. During the last years, Ali updated his knowledge with several expertise courses on ruminant nutrition, analytical methodology, use of new PLF technologies, statistical analyses and languages. He also earned the official qualification of “Research staff user of animals for experimentation” (UAB-Generalitat de Catalunya). He participated in national and international meetings (AIDA, ADSA, ISNH), received a grant from the EAAP for presenting in the 2019 Annual Meeting in Ghent (BE) and made a research stay at the Department of Animal Science of the Aarhus University (Tjele, DK) with an Erasmus+ grant. In TechCare, Ali is working tightly with professor Caja at the Faculty of Veterinary of the UAB and mainly involved in the organization of the national workshops, the support in large-scale trials and the participation in TechCare tasks and activities.

Dr María-José Milán is an Agrarian Engineer and PhD from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. Currently, she is Associate Professor at the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain). Her teaching career included different academic levels:  Bachelor, M.Sci. and PhD students in the field of agrarian socioeconomics. During the last years, she led the agrarian economics activities of the consolidated Group of Research in Ruminants (G2R), which currently chairs. Her research focuses on agricultural economics, farming systems, rural development, and global environmental change. Specially, she works on socio-economic analysis of livestock farms, mainly ruminants. She is mainly interested on: 1) the assessment of the economic impact, through cost-benefit analysis, of changes in the livestock sector, 2) the study of the diversity and sustainability of livestock systems and the development of sustainability indicators, and 3) the analysis of the implications associated with changes in EU agricultural policy (CAP). She also has interest in the perceptions and attitudes of farmers to adopt farm-level innovations. All this research has generated extensive literature published in international journals and disseminated on national and international scientific and technical meetings and symposiums and, the applied knowledge, has been transferred to the agri-food sector and to the society. In TechCare, María-José collaborates in the collection and analysis of small ruminant market data from the consortium’s countries and in the development of TechCare’s business models.

Prof. Francesc Xavier Such is Veterinarian and Professor in the Faculty of Veterinary at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where he developed his teaching and research career as Assistant, Associate Professor and currently as Full Professor in ​​Animal Production. He is also a member of the consolidated Group of Research in Ruminants (G2R) at the Department of Animal and Food Sciences of the UAB. He was Deputy Dean of the Veterinary Faculty of the UAB for Infrastructure and University Extension (1992-1994) and Students and Extra-educational Practices and Secretary of the Faculty (2017-2022). Moreover, he was the Secretary of the Department of Animal Pathology and Production (1998-2000), coordinator of the Departmental Unit of Animal Science (2001-2002), Deputy Head and 3rd cycle Coordinator of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (2002-2005), and Head of Department (2009-2012). His scientific activity focus on the production of ruminants, especially in the production of milk from small ruminants, in which he published more than 45 papers in international journals, was co-author of 2 books and numerous abstracts in national and international conferences. He participated in 18 competitive research and development projects, both Spanish and European. In addition to his teaching and scientific career, he was co-founder of the non-governmental organization “Veterinarians without Borders”, for which he was the president for 13 years and participated in 10 international cooperation projects as well as in contracts with companies in the field of ruminant production. In the TechCare project, Xavier participates in the pilot trials on dairy sheep farms.

Dr Ahmed Salama Graduated as B.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences (Cairo University, Egypt), and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Animal Science (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain). He is currently a Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor at the UAB, and also a member of the Ruminant Research Group (G2R), recognized as a Consolidated Research Group by the Generalitat de Catalunya. He has been a visiting scholar at the U. Illinois and South Dakota State U. in the USA, U. Bern (Switzerland), King Saud U. (Saudi Arabia), Federal Rural U. of the Semi-arid Region (Brazil), INRAe (France), and Swedish U. Agricultural Sciences (Sweden).  He has been involved in the Editorial Board of several indexed scientific journals (Small Rumin. Res., J. Anim. Behav. Biometeorol., Spanish J. Agric. Res., KSU J. Agric. Nat., Animals, Letters Anim. Biol., Front. Vet. Sci.). His research focuses on the management effects on the performance of dairy ruminants; the impact of thermal stress on lactation, metabolism, and wellbeing of ruminants; applied omics for the evaluation of animal responses to different stimuli; and, the application of new technologies for monitoring animal activities and welfare. He took part in 11 research projects at the national, European, and the international levels. He published 49 refereed articles, presented in more than 50 scientific sessions in international conferences, and has given extension talks in several countries. He has been teaching several courses related to animal production and management at the under- and graduate levels in different universities in Spain, the USA, and Brazil. In the TechCare project, Ahmed participates in the national workshop, pilot trials and in the large-scale trials on dairy sheep farms.

Prof. Carles Ferrer obtained his Bachelor’s Science degree and the Bachelor’s Diploma both in Physical Science, and the Ph.D. in Computer Science, all from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain).  He was Associate Professor and he is currently a full professor in the Computer Science Department (until 2003) and in the Microelectronics and Electronics Department (from 2003) of the UAB. He was Associated for Research and Industrial Projects of the Microelectronics National Center (IMB-CNM-CSIC, Spain). Also, he was the Director of the Microelectronics and Electronics System Department and Director of the Spatial Studies and Research Center (CERES) at the UAB, and Deputy Director at the Catalan Space Studies Institute (IEEC-CERCA) in Barcelona. He has spent more than three decades as lead researcher of national and international research projects, initially in the integrated circuits design and testing and more recently on common design methodologies for the hardware/software platforms development of for the integration of sensors and embedded systems (“System-on-Chip”) for industrial, aerospace, veterinary and IoT in general.  He has participated in 60 national and international research projects and contracts. He has authored more than 150 research articles in international conferences and reference journals.  His current research interests are focused on micro instrumentation design methodologies development based on MEMS and System-on-Chip integration including wireless communications, energy harvesting, energy management and hardware security for veterinarian and industrial applications. He is also co-founder of Alternative Energy Innovations SL (AEInnova), spin-off of the Dept. Microelectronics and Electronic Systems of the UAB. In the project TechCare, Carles brings his experience in the development of rumen bolus for small ruminants and micro instrumentation for veterinary applications.

Dr Joan Oliver received his bachelor’s Science degree in Physical Science in 1984 and the Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1990 from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Since 1991 he is professor in the Microelectronics and Electronics Systems Department (MISE) at the UAB. He has been associate researcher at the Integrated Circuits and Systems Design Group of the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (CNM-CSIC) from 1987 to 2008. He is also co-founder of Alternative Energy Innovations SL (AEinnova), a spin-off company of the MISE Department, whose interest is the development of self-powered products using energy harvesting techniques. His research has focused on the design and test of integrated circuits, analog integrated circuits, and methodologies for hardware/software platforms. Currently, he works in the areas of integration of sensors in embedded systems and IoT platforms, and the self-powering of embedded systems using energy-harvesting techniques. He has recently worked in the project BIOSENS whose main interest is the development of wireless sensors nodes for ruminal monitoring in ruminants. He also brings his knowledge for the implementation of sensors in the project TechCare.

Mr Raúl González is Chief Commercial Officer at Agrored Asesores SLU (consultancy specialized in data analysis of sheep farms), Technical Secretary of GEO Association (association of livestock farmers for development, innovation and sustainable rurality for dairy sheep), specialized in nutrition of small ruminants and focused on the economic management of farms, with a large experience in production systems of dairy sheep and goat, and also an important network of contacts with farmers and the dairy industry. In the TechCare project, Raúl plays an important role in coordinating the dairy sheep farms where the large-scale trials will take place.