Newsletter 28, December 2015 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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Inspirational idea:
Biovakka, Manure management to produce biogas and nutrients in Finland

Ms Teija Paavola, development manager at Biovakka Suomi Oy (Finland) explains: “Biovakka was established in 2002 by 21 farmers who wanted to find a way to increase pig production and to develop a sustainable solution to manage the large quantities of pig manure. Today we produce biogas from various raw materials and safe plant nutrient products.” Biovakka is one of the examples presented at the EIP-AGRI Workshop on Circular Economy (see below). Read more.

Inspirational idea:
Smart logistics to connect producers and consumers

DistriKempen, a group of farmers from the Kempen region (Belgium) was looking for ways to transport their fresh products to local customers. Dorien Goris and her brother came to their rescue offering their local, cost-effective, limited paper-work solution. The Flemish Innovation Support Centre (Innovatiesteunpunt) helped to connect DistriKempen and Distrego (the company Dorien and her brother set up) showing the benefits, developing a short-supply chain model as well as creating a simple, effective and low budget ICT platform. Find out more.

Call for KIC proposals on Food for Future and Added Value Manufacturing

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) aims to enhance Europe’s ability to innovate, and to transform good ideas into new products or services. The EIT aims to achieve this by bringing together leading players from higher education, research and business within Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Their next call for proposals in the fields of Food for Future and Added Value Manufacturing will be released in January 2016. Find out more information on how to apply.

Innovation through participation, a condition for success

Participatory approaches such as study trips, strategic games, world café and participatory videos can support Innovation Support Services to help bring people from different professions together to develop new Operational Groups and help projects to find solutions. Many European agricultural initiatives have already developed and implemented participatory approaches. The EIP-AGRI brochure ‘Participatory approaches for agricultural innovation’ provides many examples.

The Sketch Match method

One of the examples from the brochure is from Bulgaria, the F:ACTS! Project used the Sketch Match method to involve local people in an important water study. Technical planners worked together with local people. The participants discussed the problem, proposed a solution and came up with the ‘best’ future scenario. The method proved to be effective for the project because the engineers received valuable information about the natural processes in this village which had never been measured but which the local people were familiar with.

Interactive innovation in motion: getting inspired by the first multi-actor projects in Horizon 2020

What is a multi-actor project and a thematic network? What are the precise requirements? How to build a multi-actor consortium? How to engage with farmers and other actors in the consortium? How to build a successful multi-actor project proposal? These are some of the questions which could keep Horizon 2020 applicants to calls for multi-actor projects awake at night. The European Commission organised a workshop on 24 November 2015 to show case examples and try to provide some answers. Read on.

Circular Economy, reducing our reliance on non-renewable resources and doing more with less

On 28-29 October 2015 the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development organised the EIP-AGRI Workshop on Circular Economy in Finland. It took place in cooperation with the Support Unit of the National Rural Network in Finland and the National Resources Institute Finland (LUKE). The workshop brought together relevant partners to discuss the role of agriculture and forestry in the circular economy. Challenges, opportunities and concrete actions to move towards a circular economy were identified. Read the workshop's report.

New EIP-AGRI challenges for 2016 set

On Tuesday 17 November 2015 the members of the Subgroup on Innovation prepared the EIP-AGRI outline work plan for 2016, based on input gathered during the previous Subgroup meeting and topics proposed by EIP-AGRI network members on our website. Themes of the new work plan include, among others, wood mobilisation, livestock, wine and perennial crop diseases, urban food policies. These themes elaborate further on the thematic priorities as laid down by the Rural Network Assembly. They will feed into new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups, workshops and seminars and be coordinated with the ENRD thematic activities. All information on the third meeting of the Subgroup is available here
Learn more about the Subgroup and its relation to the EIP-AGRI network in the updated EIP-AGRI Network brochure.

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 Digital agriculture industry and organic farming.

You can check the EU calendar here.

Should you have information about interesting events in the coming months, please let us know:

Register to the EIP-AGRI website and join the EIP-AGRI network

Farmers, foresters, advisers, researchers, agribusinesses, NGOs… as a registered member you will be able to get the most out of the website. This networking tool means you can search, exchange and gather information with co-workers from across Europe. It may even be the start of a new partnership, project, or business. Find out more about the advantages for registered members here.

Mainstreaming precision farming: optimising inputs and yields

“My farm uses GPS, remote sensing, satellite navigation, soil moisture probes, humidity sensors, weather stations, soil scanners and more. As a result, we save water and fertiliser and use less crop protection products. We also save a lot of fuel” Jacob van des Borne (Netherlands), one of the experts from the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on mainstreaming precision farming. Find out more about optimising inputs and yields in the EIP-AGRI factsheet on Mainstreaming Precision Farming.

Short supply chains: diverse and great potential for farms

“Short food supply chains in Europe are very diverse but offer great potential for farms to secure a higher share of the retail value of food through moving closer to the consumer. The Focus Group identified potential solutions to organisational, technical and financial barriers that restrict the scaling up of profitable short food chains to allow more farms to benefit. I hope farmers and policy makers use our recommendations to overcome these barriers.” - Martin Collison (UK), expert from the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Short Food Supply Chains.

Read the recommendations, case studies and inspiring ideas in the Focus Group report. A factsheet summarising the key points addressed is also available.

Do you have an idea for an EIP-AGRI Focus Group?

With the planning for 2016 already quite advanced, we are starting to look for new ideas for Focus Groups to be tackled in 2017. If you have an idea for an issue or question for which a Focus Group could be the right tool to spark innovation, please tell us about it before June 2016.

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