EIP-AGRI & Thematic Networks
The European Innovation Partnership Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was launched by the European Commission in a bid to promote innovation in the agricultural and forestry sectors and bring research and practice closer together.
The European Innovation Partnership for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was set up by the European Commission as a new way of helping the agricultural and forestry sectors to become more productive, sustainable and capable of tackling current challenges such as fiercer competition, more volatile market prices, climate change and stricter environmental rules.
The EIP-AGRI focuses on forming partnerships and linking people from different professional backgrounds in the EIP-AGRI network through different types of activities, such as Operational Groups and EIP-AGRI Focus Groups. Different actors within innovation and agriculture – farmers, advisers, researchers, agribusinesses, NGOs and other stakeholders – will work together, share their ideas and turn existing knowledge into innovative solutions and research results that can more easily be put into practice.
The EIP-AGRI Service Point acts as a mediator within the EIP-AGRI Network, enhancing communication and cooperation between everyone with a keen interest in innovating agriculture: farmers, researchers, advisers, businesses, environmental groups, consumer interest groups and other NGOs. Read more…
A high-level steering board has started the EIP-AGRI by providing strategic orientations for its implementation. Coordinating agricultural research across the European Research Area, the Standing Committee for Agricultural Research (SCAR), which consists of representatives from Member States and Candidate and Associated Countries, has engaged in assisting the EIP through the development of innovative Horizon 2020 instruments. It is providing advice via a dedicated working group on Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS).
EIP- AGRI Focus Group on Precision Farming
Focus Groups bring together 20 experts with different backgrounds, including farmers, researchers, advisers, and agri-business representatives. The groups collect and summarise knowledge on best practices in a specific field, listing problems as well as opportunities and solutions.
The Final Report of the Focus Group draws recommendations for the mainstream of precision farming to optimise inputs and yields, such as the creation of ‘Precision Farming living labs’, the development of tools fit for small and medium-sized farms or the delivery of customised advisory services, are topics that might be addressed by future Operational Groups on precision farming.
Thematic Networks are a particular format of multi-actor projects promoted by EIP-AGRI and funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, working on a specific theme. They bring people from both science and practice together to create useful, practical outputs. Thematic networks are funded through Horizon 2020 which is the European Commission’s main 2014-2020 funding programme for research and innovation.
- Collecting existing scientific knowledge and best practices which are close to being put into practice, but not yet sufficiently ready for farmers and foresters to implement.
- Translating this knowledge into easily understandable end-user material such as short, informative recommendations and solutions (“practice abstracts”), leaflets, guidelines and audio-visual material (photos, video clips, etc.). This material will be made available beyond the lifespan of the project through the main existing dissemination channels which farmers often use, as well as through the EIP-AGRI website.
Besides Smart AKIS, focusing on Smart Farming there are another 10 Thematic Networks running and funded by Horizon 2020:
|4D4F||Smart Dairy farming||www.4d4f.eu|
|AGRIFORVALOR||Biomass from agriculture and forest||www.agriforvalor.eu|
|AGRISPIN||Innovation brokering in agriculture||www.agrispin.eu|
|FERTINNOWA||Water management in fertigated crops||www.fertinnowa.com|
|HNV-LINK||High Nature Value Farming||www.hnvlink.eu|
|OK-NET ARABLE||Organic Farming||www.ok-net-arable.eu|
Interactive innovation through Operational Groups
The innovation model under the EIP-AGRI goes beyond speeding up the transfer from laboratory to practice. The EIP-AGRI adheres to the “interactive innovation model” which brings together specific actors (e.g. farmers, advisors, researchers, businesses, etc) to work together in multi-actor projects to find a solution for a specific issue or developing a concrete opportunity.
In these so-called Operational Groups, new insights and ideas will be generated and existing implied knowledge will be built into focused solutions that are quicker to put into practice. Such an approach will stimulate innovation from all sides and will also help to target the research agenda.
Operational Groups are groups at a local level with people from different backgrounds – such as farmers, researchers, advisers, businesses, NGOs – that are set up to find an innovative solution to a shared problem or to test an innovative idea in practice. The results and knowledge developed by an Operational Group must be shared via the EIP-AGRI network so it can benefit the entire sector.
The EU Rural Development Policy provides particular opportunities for the setting up and funding of Operational Groups during the period 2014-2020. This is done via the Rural Development Programmes which each Member State or region develops. These programmes can offer financial support to Operational Groups that want to develop, test and apply innovative approaches.