Newsletter 11, July 2014 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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New call for experts now open

  • How can landscape elements such as hedgerows, dry stone walls and buffer strips contribute to crop productivity?
  • How can short food supply chains increase farmers’ income?
  • How to suppress soil-borne pests and diseases in horticulture and arable crops?
If you can help to find practical answers to these questions, then we need you! We are looking for experts such as farmers, members of agribusiness, researchers and advisers to join three new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups on these topics. The call is now published and it will remain open until 8 September.
EIP-AGRI Focus Groups bring together 20 experts with practical or research experience to work on a specific topic. They meet twice and work together before and after the meetings. The aim is to share knowledge, develop practical solutions that can be adapted elsewhere, identify opportunities and draw on experiences derived from existing, related projects. For more information please see the
Focus Group charter.

'Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking' call for proposals

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI) is a new €3.7 billion funding instrument for research and innovation. It is a public-private partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) – a group of 70 European businesses and over 100 research organisations and universities working across technology, industry, agriculture and forestry. The BBI aims to use innovative technologies to build new value chains converting Europe’s untapped renewable resources and wastes into greener everyday products, such as food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels.
The BBI has just launched its first call for proposals (application deadline: 15 October 2014). This €50 million call – not including industry contributions, which are expected to reach up to €150 million – is open to all. The BBI particularly encourages cross-sector stakeholders to join forces along value chains and to submit innovative proposals to develop the European bioeconomy sector.
Do you want to learn more about the BBI and its call for proposals? Register before 27 July 2014 here to the free Info Day scheduled on 2 September 2014 in Brussels. Registrations will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis. The draft programme is available here.

Best Practice
Triggering farmers to think outside the box

Trying out new ideas for the first time when resources and time are both scarce and valuable can be a daunting prospect for any entrepreneur. INNOVATIESTEUNPUNT is a support centre in Flanders, Belgium which uses creative approaches with farmers for setting up new activities. Through their network, support and prizes, they trigger farmers and rural entrepreneurs to think outside of the box, looking for innovative inspiration from outside the region and/or sector and transforming this into concrete projects.

Find out about their approach to generate innovation here.

A date for your diary:

 Confirmation of 2015 calls for Horizon 2020

On 22 July 2014 the updated version of the H2020 work programme will be published on the Horizon 2020 website. The updated version will confirm 2015 calls. It will give important information on topics, budget and call deadlines.

Bite-size recipes for National Rural Networks

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Contact Point has published a guidebook aimed at strengthening and enhancing National Rural Networks (NRNs) entitled ‘NRN Guidebook – Networks in Transition’. Whether you are from rural networks, network support units, Managing Authorities or you are just interested in finding out about this subject, “this guidebook is written for you” (to quote the publication’s foreword). As the new programming period gets under way, this collection of individual, informative chapters has been written to help with the NRNs’ transition to 2014-2020. The ENRD describes the document as a ‘cookbook’ where you can find ‘recipes’ on setting up and managing a network. It includes ideas on facilitation, dissemination, cooperation with other networks, NRN self-assessment and evaluation and much, much more.
This publication was developed using experience from the previous programming period and in collaboration with the NRNs. Download the Guidebook here (in English), and for more information visit their website.

Making agriculture more sustainable at regional level

A partnership of nine research organisations from eight countries has identified ways to foster agricultural sustainability in Europe in a project called FarmPath. The project focused on ‘transition pathways’, supporting a move towards sustainability in a way which takes into account regional differences. The transition also relies on ‘co-construction’, bringing together “new practices, technologies, knowledge, institutions, social organisations and different guiding principles and values” so that the pathways address all the necessary issues.
Now that the project has come to an end, several conclusions have been drawn up and put into two main documents:
  • The “FarmPath Handbook” with recommendations for action at regional and local levels.
  • A “Policy Brief” with key findings and recommendations for European and national implementation levels.
The project ran from March 2011 to May 2014 and it was funded through European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. Read more about these publications here, and visit their website here.


Which strategic priorities for agricultural & forestry research for 2016-2017?

Should research focus on producing better or more? Should we address climate change alone or all environmental aspects at the same time? What do consumers know about the impact of their choices? These are some of the questions which sparked the debate at a recent workshop organised by DG AGRI to identify strategic research priorities for agriculture and forestry for 2016-2017. Representatives of farmers, foresters, advisors, industry, consumers, NGOs and the scientific community worked on a list of research priorities to be promoted in the Horizon 2020 programming for 2016-2017. This list included tackling together climate change and food security challenges, developing new business models for value chain organisation, improving resource efficiency, assessing consumer behaviour and developing efficient knowledge-exchange models. Read more about their recommendations here.

What else is happening in the world of agricultural innovation?

Over the next few months, a number of interesting events will be organised in Europe on a variety of agricultural topics including European grasslands and the bioeconomy.
Download 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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