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The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was launched by the European Commission in 2012. It aims to foster a competitive and sustainable agriculture and forestry sector that "achieves more from less". It contributes to ensuring a steady supply of food, feed and biomaterials, and to the sustainable management of the essential natural resources on which farming and forestry depend, working in harmony with the environment. To achieve this aim, the EIP-AGRI brings together innovation actors (farmers, advisors, researchers, businesses, NGOs, etc) and helps to build bridges between research and practice.
The innovation model under the EIP-AGRI goes beyond speeding up the transfer from laboratory to practice (referred to as the "linear innovation model"). 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 generate and existing tacit knowledge will be built into focused solutions that are quicker put into practice. Such an approach will stimulate innovation from all sides and will also help to target the research agenda.
Innovation under the EIP-AGRI may be technological, non-technological, organisational or social, and based on new or traditional practices. A new idea can be a new product, practice, service, production process or a new way of organising things, etc. Such a new idea turns into an innovation only if it is widely adopted and proves its usefulness in practice. One can only determine afterwards whether a new idea has led to a real innovation.
The EIP-AGRI pools funding streams to boost interactive innovation
Having an idea is one thing, turning it into an innovation action is another. Different types of available funding sources can help get an agricultural innovation project started, such as the European Rural Development policy or the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The EIP-AGRI contributes to integrating different funding streams so that they contribute together to a same goal and duplicate results.
Rural Development will in particular support Operational Groups and Innovation Support Services within a country or region. Horizon 2020 will fund multi-actor projects and thematic networks involving partners from at least three EU countries. Other policies may offer additional opportunities.
Call for two new Focus Groups
The call for experts for two new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups has just been launched.
Farmers, foresters, advisers, scientists and others can apply until 10 September 2018 23:59 hrs CET (Brussels time).