Window on Innovation n. 4

Window on Innovation n. 4
Versione italiana

The long and laborious process of approval of the European Rdps by the European Commission was formally concluded in December 2015. In light of this, numerous initiatives are planned in Europe for 2016 in order to formalize the process of implementation of innovative ideas [link]


All the 118 Rural Development Programmes (Rdps) for 2014-2020 were approved by the European Commission between 12 December 2014 and 11 December 2015. Twenty Member States apply one single national programme, and 8 Member States have chosen to have more than one programme – in some cases to combine a main programme with a specific regional programme, e.g. for island regions, and in others to reflect their own administrative and geographical structures. At the date of initial adoption, the Commission published a Factsheet summarising the main challenges that each country or region faces and the ways in which the relevant Rdp is aimed to address these. The factsheet is available in the national language by clicking on the following [link], and, for most Rdps, also in English. These Factsheets will be updated where significant amendments are made [pdf].

News from Europe

  • On 3-4 December 2015, DG Agri organised a two day seminar dedicated to promoting understanding of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (Akis) and to highlighting practical examples of the changes taking place in approaches to knowledge transfer, learning and innovation in the agricultural, forestry and rural development sectors. Participants from 25 countries discussed and shared their different experiences and ideas through interactive discussions about how knowledge flows in European agriculture can be improved. Numerous practical comments were made on how to address the real knowledge needs of farmers. All comments were collected and will be carefully considered by DG Agri. Especially valuable were the success stories on new tools and approaches for finding, co-creating and using new knowledge. For more information, look at [link].
  • The results of the special survey launched in October 2015 by Eurobarometer in order to analyse the relationship between Europeans and agriculture (and the Cap) have been recently released. What importance they attach to agriculture and rural areas, how they see the role of farmers in society and what they see as the main objectives of the EU in terms of agriculture were some of the topics discussed. Nearly 28 thousand EU citizens from different social and demographic categories were interviewed face to face, at home, and in their native language. The results show a greater awareness of Europeans regarding the Cap especially from 2013, as well as a generally positive public opinion about the work of the EU in ensuring healthy food, health and food safety. Europeans consider however that the amount of financial aid given to farmers should be increased [pdf] [link].
  • The conference “Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation” will take place in Brussel on the days 26 to 28 January 2016. The objectives of the conference will be to present the main elements of a long-term strategy for EU agricultural research and innovation and to discuss its content, in particular several dimensions of the manner it could be implemented [link].  
  • It is possible until 5 February 2016 to submit applications to be part of the new European Union Bioeconomy stakeholder Pa nel. The pa nel will be made up of 25-30 representatives from civil society organisations, NGOs, industry, media, local and regional authorities, foundations, associations. The pa nel will work on Bioeconomy policy challenges, including on synergies with related policy areas like food and nutrition security. It will furthermore contribute to the review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. The Pa nel is expected to meet in plenary session around four times a year, with the possibility of ad-hoc sub-group meetings being held in between [link]. It is possible to apply at this [link].
  • Eip-Agri has launched a Common format for interactive innovation projects, which consists of a set of basic elements characterising the project and includes one (or more) “practice abstract(s)”. The format was developed with two main objectives: to enable contacting partners and incentivise efficient knowledge exchange, and to disseminate the results of the project in a concise and easy understandable way to practitioners. The common format allows providing information all along the life-cycle of the project. The content of the common format can be updated at any moment when useful, for instance in an intermediate phase of the project. it is possible to find more details at the following [link] [pdf].
  • From October 2015 until April 2016 the “Cap, What’s cooking?” Project will host a series of cookery events on farms across Europe to make the Comm on Agricultural Policy (Cap) more digestible for the general public. Based on these events in April 2016 the Cap Cook Book will be published with basic Cap information, farm portraits and delicious recipes from local chefs, that you can try at home. For information about the project and how to (pre)order the book, follow this [link].

Focus Group

  • New Eip-Agri Focus Groups are now active! The topics covered by these Focus Groups are:  (a) mixed farming systems: livestock/cash crops; (b) benchmarking of farm productivity and sustainability performance; (c) reducing emissions from cattle farming. Over 230 experts applied to this call which closed on the 7 September 2015. The Focus Group experts have been selected 8 October 2015 [link].

Horizon 2020

  • For 2016-2017, four points have been strengthened in the multi-actor approach: (1) the  project proposal must demonstrate how the objectives and activities target needs and  opportunities from practice; (2) the engagement of actors with complementary  knowledge should be reflected in the proposed consortium, and mediation between   hem is strongly recommended; (3) all multi-actor projects should contribute to the Eip-Agri by producing a number of practice abstracts respecting the common Eip-Agri  format; (4) involvement of relevant interactive innovation groups operating in the Eip-Agri context is strongly recommended [pdf].
  • In 2016, thematic networks funded with a total of €10 million will contribute to a  more competitive and sustainable agriculture. Five networks started in 2015 and four to five more projects will start in early 2016. Together with the output from the networks funded by the 2016 and 2017 calls, they will enrich the Eip-Agri database with concrete solutions that farmers can easily implement [link].
  • The deadline for the first calls is scheduled for 17 February 2016. In the Eip-Agri document [pdf] it is possible to find all the main calls for proposals (and the respective deadlines) according to the challenges identified by the European Commission.
  • The bottom-up Fti pilot continues in 2016 with a yearly budget of €100 million and  three cut-off dates: 15/03/2016, 01/06/2016 and 25/10/2016. More information on the  Fti web page [pdf] [link].

News flash from Italy

Rural development policy

  • The national rural network programme for Italy was adopted by the European Commission on 26 May 2015. With a budget of almost € 115 million (€ 59.6 million from the EU budget and € 55 million of national funding), the network will support policies for agricultural development through the exchange of experience and knowledge between rural territories, as well as better implementation and management of Italian rural development programmes. The programme also aims at ensuring better visibility of rural development policy, actions and achievements whilst bringing together all actors involved in rural development throughout the entire territory of Italy [link] [pdf].
  • The workshop “Operational Groups: First experiences” will take place in Legnaro, Italy, on 20-21 April 2016. More information will be added as soon as it becomes available [link].
  • The results of the Eurobarometer survey on the vision of Italy about the work of the EU in terms of the Cap show that the majority of Italians are continue to agree that the Cap benefits all citizens and not only farmers, however they believe a stronger financial aid to farmers is needed. For a complete overview of the results, see the document [pdf].

Research and Innovation

  • The Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Mipaaf) is planning to organize during the first months of 2016 a seminar to present the results of a survey conducted to systematize the existing information on the diffusion of precision farming in Italy [link]. A call has been launched with deadline in mid-December 2015 in order to collect research contributions aiming at analyzing issues and identifying actions to promote innovation in the agricultural sector in the short and medium term. Through this call for contributions, Mipaaf aims to inventory the available information in particular on: the adoption of precision farming methodologies at operating level; the needs and requirements of each potential user of the technology or parts of them; information about the available appropriate technologies (including laboratories, platforms, instruments); very sectoral expertise, case studies and pilot schemes.