Window on Innovation n.3

Window on Innovation n.3
Versione italiana

The European Commission is still involved in the long process of approval of the 118 European RDPs. This implies that we need more time to assess the commitment of the Member States to implement the news offered by the Eip. However, some data are already available.


The first data about the approval of the 118 RDPs over the 28 European Member States have been made public in February. In the first quarter of 2015 (update to February 13, 2015) 18 RDPs were approved in addition to the 9 approved in late 2014, none of which is Italian. Overall, for 27 RDPs about 35 million euro were approved, 36% of the total availability under the Eafrd amount, about 98 billion euro [pdf] and [link]. This amount may, however, be reformulated, considering the formal adoption of the possible transfers from the first pillar to the second and vice versa.
23 over 28 Member States (i.e., 88 Psr) decided to respond to the challenge of the Eip-Agri adhering to the measures provided for this tool. If we consider the “Transfer of knowledge and innovation” priority, about 4.2% of the total expenditure for rural development of the 23 Member States was considered for the measures of knowledge transfer, development services and cooperation. From the data emerges a support for about 13 000 cooperation projects, almost 2000 operating groups provided [pdf].

News from Europe

  • The EU FP7 project called “Prospects for Farmers’ Support: Advisory Services in European Akis” (Pro-Akis) has recently compiled an inventory of European Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (Akis) and in particular of advisory services. It has produced a useful set of reports and posters per EU country, as well as a searchable database and an online map showing the many different systems EU farmers are involved in [link].
  • The Forest Based Sector Technology Platform (Ftp) is building a comprehensive database for all EU-funded research and innovation projects involving the forest-based sector. The inventory shows that more than 180 projects were funded by the European Commission during 2007-2013. The database can be found at this link. It is called the Ftp Research and Innovation Portal and in it each research project is classified according to the four Strategic Themes and 19 Research Areas of Ftps Strategic Research Agenda. In addition to the scope, duration and funding of each project, information will be collected about the approximately 1500 participating organizations, qualitative information about the projects and, as far as possible, the outputs of each project.
  • The Eip-Agri Service Point has prepared a PowerPoint presentation that all the European universities can use to inform about Eip-Agri. The presentation includes how Eip-Agri can help universities to speed up innovation in agriculture and forestry and how universities can help Eip-Agri providing feedbacks [link].
  • On 13 February 2015, a revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (Mff) for 2014-2020 was agreed by the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee. The aim of the revision is to allow the EU to transfer € 21.1 billion of unused commitments for certain funds from 2014 to subsequent years. This will allow for the preservation of commitments needed to support a number of EU programs, which could not be adopted in 2014 [link]. The revision of the Mff regulation allows the transfer of 16.5 billion euro in 2015, 4.5 billion euro in 2016 and the remaining € 0.1 billion in 2017.

Operational Groups

  • Schleswig-Holstein is one of the 13 German regions implementing Eip-Agri: its  Innovation Office is one of the first in Europe to have started its activities (in July 1, 2014) in support of the innovation partnership. It provides funding for the starting of the Operational Groups [pdf]. The first call for Operational Groups/innovative projects closed on 31 October 2014. 45 project applications were submitted and topics vary from soil/humus, cattle health, native protein crops, grassland to organic farming. On 22 and 23 April 2015 a jury will select the best projects. The start of these projects is planned for 1 June 2015 [link] and [link]

Focus Group

  • Experts are sought for new Eip-Agri Focus Groups [link]. Eip-Agri is looking for farmers, advisors, researchers and other experts who wish to join two new Focus Groups to share knowledge, propose practical innovative solutions, identify opportunities and draw on experiences derived from related existing projects. The new Focus Groups, of 20 experts each, are about:
    • New entrants into farming: lessons to foster innovation and entrepreneurship
    • Water & agriculture: adaptive strategies at farm level  

Who feels he/she could contribute to one of these Focus Groups can apply on the Eip-Agri website until 13 April 2015 through this link.

Horizon 2020

  • Multi-actor projects: for the social challenge “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy on inland waters” (3.5 billion euro, 5% of the budget allocated to the pillar “Societal Challenges”) three focus areas have been identified: sustainable food security (Sfs), innovative, sustainable and inclusive Bio economy (Isib) and blue growth (BG). On February 3, 2015 the first phase of sending project proposals was concluded. Overall, there were as many 357 proposals under the focus area Sfs and 97 project proposals for the ISIB call, 46 of which dedicated to the theme of social innovation. After March 13 the outcome of the evaluation will be announced and selected proposals will have access to the second phase, expiring June 11, 2015.
  • Thematic networks: the 2015 call for project proposals provide a single step proposal submission expiring on June 11, 2015. For what concerns issues related to innovation, it is worth highlighting the call for the creation of thematic networks to reduce the divide between research and innovation, which emphasizes the crucial role of support services and the exchange of knowledge (Isib- 02-2015). For this call 27 million euro are provided.
  • Calls for Smes: the Fast  Track to Innovation (Fti) is a pilot initiative under Horizon 2020. Fti offers funding for innovation activities close-to-market and is open to all types of participants (especially from industry). It aims to stimulate private sector investment, promote research and innovation and accelerate the development of innovative products, processes and services. The objectives are to reduce the lag between the innovative idea and the market; involve and encourage private participation in the European research program; promote research and innovation with a focus on sustainable value creation; accelerate the development of innovative products, processes and services [pdf]. Around 200 million euro are available for business-driven projects with clear realistic potential for the rapid adoption on the market of the innovations produced. The call expires on December 1, 2015 but includes two intermediate deadlines: April 29 and September 1, 2015 [link]

News flash from Italy:

Rural development programs

  • Although no Italian RDP has been approved by the European Commission yet, it is possible to view all the regional RDPs through this link, set up by the Italian National Rural Network and containing links to the dedicated regional portals.
  • On February 19, 2015, the agreement for the innovation and research plan of the Italian Ministry for agriculture, food, and forestry (Mipaaf) has been ratified at the State-Regions Conference. This strategic document was prepared as a result of a process initiated by Mipaaf in late 2012 and shared in a technical committee with the regions and the research community. The plan intends to be the framework of a national strategy for innovation and research, responding to the needs indicated and the opportunities presented by 2014-2020 European innovation and research plan. It does not offer resources but the strategy outlined in the plan has made use of all available tools at EU, national and regional levels during the plan’s reporting period.
  • On February 27, 2015, an interesting workshop entitled “European Innovation partnership for the agri-food system” was held in Ancona (Italy), at the Università Politecnica delle Marche. The event was part of the project “Information services at regional level and transversal value” funded under the measure 111 sub b) letter a) information actions at regional valence cross RDP for Marche region 2007-2013 (EC Reg. No. 1698/05). At this link it is possible to access videos and pdf (in Italian) of the presentations given by the speakers.
  • On March 25, 2015, the conference “Synergies between structural funds, programs and new European financial instruments for research and innovation” will be held at the Auditorium of Confindustria, Perugia [link]. The conference is an opportunity for reflection on the synergy between the direct and indirect funds and the possibilities for research and the economic actors. Representatives from the regional agencies for European research and from Europe Direct offices will attend, providing information on programs and research partnership for the next calls promoted by the programs presented during the event [pdf].
  • On March 30, 2015, the seminar “The Sicilian rural system and the challenges for  2020” will be held in Palermo, Sicily. It represents the final event of the “Demetra” Project, funded by the Sicilian 2007-2013 RDP - Measure 511 for technical assistance. Governance of the Cap 2014-2020, rural development strategy of the Sicilian region and reorganization of services for agriculture, as well as policies for innovation and regional experiences of innovation transfer will provide food for thought. Information is available at the following link [pdf].

Programming Research and Innovation 2014-2020

  • Reorganization of the research bodies: on February 19, 2015, at the headquarters of the Council for Research in Agriculture (Cra) in Rome, the planned meeting between the Cgil, Cisl and Uil (unions) and the Cra delegation represented by Special Commissioner Salvatore Parlato, the General Director Ida Marandola and the General Manager Cra Inea, Laura Proietti was held. Information on the seats assigned to the staff of the two organizations and on the next steps are available at this link.
  • On March 12, 2015 at the headquarters of the Cra the next scheduled meeting was then held with the Special Commissioner Salvatore Parlato, the General Director Ida Marandola, the two new Commissioners Michele Pisante and Alessandra Gentile, and the Scientific Director Stefano Bisoffi. The Flc Cgil (Federation of knowledge-workers) say they are ready to open with the support of the workers a great discussion on the future of the new entity, to safeguard its research mission [link].