Newsletter 7, March 2014 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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New call for Focus Groups opens today: We need you as an expert!

We are looking for experts for four new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups. The call for new Focus Groups opens today. We invite farmers, advisors, researchers and other experts to apply for participation in these Focus Groups, dealing with the following topics:
  1. High Nature Value Farming profitability
  2. Mainstreaming Precision Farming
  3. Profitability of permanent grassland
  4. Fertiliser efficiency in open-field horticulture
EIP-AGRI Focus Groups are temporary groups of 20 selected experts focusing on a specific subject. The experts share knowledge and experience. Each group explores practical innovative solutions to problems or opportunities in its field, and draws on experiences derived from related useful projects. Most Focus Groups meet twice, and work on gathering relevant information and reporting in between, as well as after the last meeting. The final report is shared via the EIP-AGRI network. Deadline for the call is 8 April 2014. Please find more information here.

Establishing Operational Groups: the European workshops

On 27 February 2014, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development organised the workshop "Establishing Operational Groups under Rural Development Programmes". It was hosted by the Portuguese National Rural Network and GPP, the Portuguese National Authority for EAFRD in Lisbon. The event was open to organisations from Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta. The aim of the workshop was to provide the necessary knowledge and information on EIP-AGRI to enable organisations to act as "multipliers" and help to set up Operational Groups in their own Member State or region. Please find the presentations and information about the speakers here

In the coming months we will organise another four workshops for participants from the remaining EU member states. More information about the two upcoming workshops, please click here.  

Make your idea a reality!

Having a great idea for an agricultural innovation is one thing, but turning the idea into a practical innovation is another. One way to get a project started is to set up an Operational Group with the support from Rural Development funds. We have put the basic information on how to set up an Operational Group into a fact sheet that you can find here. You can also find more information about whom to contact in your Member State or region to know more about how the specific opportunities for your area.

EIP-AGRI: tell me more

What is the EIP-AGRI? What is the role of a Focus Group and how do they fit with Operational Groups. As a relatively new phenomenon in EU agricultural policy, there are still a lot of questions about what the EIP-AGRI is, how it works and how it interacts with other innovation initiatives. To help you get familiar with the activities of EIP-AGRI and how it can help you, we have prepared a fact sheet on EIP-AGRI that you can find here.

New call for SME Funding under Horizon 2020

Under Horizon 2020 there is a new tool called the SME Instrument, through which the EU will provide direct funding to small and medium-sized enterprises wishing to develop ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition. SMEs that are EU-based or established in a country associated to Horizon 2020 can now get EU funding and support for innovation projects that will help them grow and expand their activities in other countries. There is a specific call for SMEs related to resource-efficient eco-innovative food production and processing (SFS 8 2014) that you can find here.
Find more information here. If you want to apply, please click here.
Image: British Challenger Hops - Farmer and Grower Magazine

Best Practice

Innovative multi-actor project recovers vine growing area in Galicia, Spain

A winegrowing area in Galicia (Spain) was about to disappear due to difficulties concerning profitability and the lack of recognition of local grape varieties. In 2006, the Local Action Group (LAG) started a reflection process to find alternatives to improve future prospects for the winegrowing area.
Several stakeholders met to collectively analyse the situation and as a result, a private foundation based in the area called the Juana de Vega Foundation, took the lead and offered the possibility of funding for an innovative action in support of the wine sector in the area. The CSIC-Viticulture Research Group from the Spanish National Research Council came up with a proposal for an interactive innovation project: ‘the Viticulture project’.

The project was launched by Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), 8 farmers, 3 advisory organisations, the LAG and the Galician government. However, while examining which locations were more suitable for wine production and which of the grape varieties traditionally growing in the area would be the best for winemaking, the project partners soon realised that “emotional intelligence” was key to ensure a fruitful cooperation in this diverse group. Read more here.

What is happening in the world of agricultural research and innovation?

 We have put a calendar with European events together for the coming months. You can find it here.
Should you have information about interesting events in the coming months, please let us know:

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The EIP-AGRI Service Point is based in Brussels. You can reach us from Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 17:00. By phone +32 2 543 73 48 or email

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