Newsletter 13, September 2014 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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Join the EIP-AGRI network!

Become a member of the EIP-AGRI network by registering to the new EIP-AGRI website. You may have noticed that the EIP-AGRI website looks different, and it is still in the process of being developed further to suit your needs, so your feedback will be most welcome. As a registered member you will be able to get the most out of the website: share and search for innovative ideas and practices, and information and results about research projects.

You will also be entitled to search and connect to other people from the EIP-AGRI network. This networking tool means you can exchange and gather information with co-workers in Europe. It may even be the start of a new partnership, project, or business.

As more and more people join the EIP-AGRI network, the EIP-AGRI website will gradually become a one-stop-shop for agricultural innovation in Europe.

Join the EIP-AGRI network now and take a look at our new website


255 experts applied for new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups

The Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) received a total of 255 applications in response to the call for experts for three new Focus Groups which was published last July and closed on the 8 September. These Focus Groups will address the following questions:
  • Focus Group: Optimising crop production profitability through Ecological Focus Areas - How can landscape elements such as hedgerows, dry stone walls and buffer strips contribute to crop productivity? (76 applications)
  • Focus Group: Innovative Short Food Supply Chain management - How can short food supply chains increase farmers’ income? (122 applications)
  • Focus Group: IPM practices for soil-borne diseases suppression in arable crops, both in greenhouse and open field - How to suppress soil-borne pests and diseases in horticulture and arable crops? (57 applications)
All applications will be reviewed and 20 experts for each Focus Group will be selected. The results of the expert selection will be published in October, and the first meetings will be held in November and December 2014. EIP-AGRI Focus Groups always include people with different types of experience, such as farming, agricultural extension or farm advisory services, agribusiness and research. The tasks and deliverables of the Focus Groups are described in the Focus Group Charter.

Find out how to reduce the yield gap in organic farming

Various studies have shown fluctuations in the yields of organic arable farms. Yields vary a lot more than in conventional farming depending on regions, systems, management practices, particular crop types and growing conditions.

How can these problems be overcome? Haven’t some solutions already been developed? What innovative projects have already been set up that could be used as inspiration?

Read the new
EIP-AGRI brochure on optimising arable yields in organic farming to find some answers. This brochure has been produced with the results from the Focus Group set up on the same subject.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions – grants for the mobility of research staff

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) which are part of Horizon 2020, support the career development and training of research staff with a focus on skills linked to innovation. MSCA provide grants for all researchers, from PhD candidates to highly experienced researchers, for transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.  Read more

Horizon 2020: Find out funding possibilities for innovation in agriculture and forestry

The updated EIP-AGRI factsheet on Horizon 2020 presents the 2015 programme with a particular focus on the current call and the topics which are the most interesting for innovation in agriculture and forestry. Download the fact sheet here.

A smart way to irrigate crops – and save water

EU-funded researchers have developed a smart irrigation system that calculates the exact amount of water crops need each day. The technology allows farmers to save time, effort and water and achieve the best yield possible – drop by drop. Read more
Find more success stories on Horizon 2020 website.

Looking for partners to start a project with Horizon 2020 funding?

The new EIP-AGRI website has aMeeting Point where you can search for interesting projects, people, and project ideas and research needs which have been uploaded by registered users. This is a good starting point to find project partners for Horizon 2020 or inspiration for initiatives. You can also register and submit your innovative ideas, existing projects and needs for research from practice.

The EIP-AGRI LinkedIn group called “Partner Search Horizon 2020: Food security, sustainable agriculture, forestry and bio-economy” has more than 700 members and could also help you search for the right partner for your project.

Are you looking for funding to test your innovative ideas?

In addition to the Horizon 2020 calls and the Rural Development Funding, there are also several other opportunities. A new EIP-AGRI fact sheet takes a closer look at some of these funding opportunities:
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • Cooperating between regions through INTERREG
  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) - Erasmus+
  • European Investment Fund
  • LIFE+
Download the fact sheet here.

European Investment Bank supports innovation in agriculture and forestry

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission have recently signed an agreement to cooperate in supporting agriculture and rural development across the European Union. EIB expertise will help mobilise more money for investments to stimulate competitiveness and innovation in agriculture, rural enterprises and forestry.

The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by the 28 EU Member States. It will also put emphasis on agriculture and rural businesses in its operational programme and its interventions. The type of instruments and interventions that might be covered are investments, pilot and demonstration projects, and innovative projects transferring research results and knowledge-sharing. This can help to foster more sustainable and productive agriculture and forestry in Europe.
More information here.


Best Practice
Combining research and practice to trigger change in French wine production

"I don’t use any herbicides, none at all", a 'conventional' winegrower said at a local working group meeting of the 'REPERE-Westhalten' (France). Initial reactions to this out-of-the-box idea were not what you could call positive, in fact the general feeling was relatively critical. Even if the discussion which followed the no-herbicide comment started negatively, it went on to produce so much interest that the winegrowers made a collective decision to try out the approach. Read more here.

“Digitise - Harvest the benefits!”

ICT is used more and more in supply chain management as an effective solution to organising and optimising food supply chains. However, there is still a lot of room for further uptake of digital solutions, especially by smaller companies and there are also many multiple (sometimes incompatible) models and processes available. Therefore collaboration between companies, especially those from different sectors, and geographical locations remains complicated. eFoodChain is an initiative to assist European agro-food SMEs operating in the cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy sectors to use ICT more effectively. The SMEs which have been involved in the eFoodChain project have become better connected to the supply chain and more competitive.
The eFoodChain initiative, supported by the European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry), has produced a publication “Digitise - Harvest the benefits!” about the opportunities and challenges of using digital support for food supply chains. More information here.

What else is happening in the world of agricultural innovation?

Over the next few months, a number of interesting events will be organised all over Europe on a variety of agricultural topics including plant protection in fruit crops, sustainable food supply chains and biogas.
See the calendar 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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