Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

CINEA Report Summary

Project reference: 609495
Funded under: FP7-INCO

Final Report Summary - CINEA (EU-MED Cooperation to foster Innovation and Exploitation in the Agro-Food Domain)

Executive Summary:
The central aim of CINEA was to strengthen the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the EU-MED agro-food industry by reinforcing the cooperation with relevant Mediterranean Partner Countries on bridging the existing gap between research and innovation in the area of food and agriculture research.This goal could be achieved during the project's life-time in the following ways:
1. Enabling Research-to-Industry (R2I) networking, collaboration and transfer of knowledge of methods and technologies for sustainable agriculture and competitive agro-food industry. To achieve this goal, the ´three R2I Brokerage Events with representatives of the EU-MED agro-food industry and key scientific players were conducted.
2. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to innovation and exploitation of research results in the target countries. To achieve this goal, the project was suppoded to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis, taking into account the relevant stakeholders in the area of technologies and methods for sustainable agriculture (including leading public research organisations in the target countries as well as with SME’s/start-ups and major industry players).
3. Building the required competences and capacities for improved innovation. This objective included several measures during the first reporting period, namely : (i) the planning and set-up of at least four Research-to-Industry Twinning Projects between research organisations and SMEs/industry representatives, (ii) the preparation and conduct of four thematic Training & HR Development Workshops, and (iii) the set-up and implementation of a corresponding mobility scheme. Training Workshops focussed on central innovation-related themes including fostering innovation on the institutional level, funding and financing Innovation, knowledge transfer etc.
4. Providing relevant innovation support services for sustainable (!) and continued R2I exchange. This included in particular the set-up of the central R2I Helpdesk which provides designated support services for all stakeholder in the knowledge chain. For the first reporting period, the helpd desk contents to be made available were on (i) business analysis and planning, (ii) starting up a business, (iii) IPR and patenting. Moreover, the Helpdesk provides information on related events, and past achievements.

Project Context and Objectives:
Even though the existing research collaborations in the area of agro-food research have proven to be very successful and even though they represent the pre-condition for sustainable agriculture and related socio-economic transformation, it has become evident that even highest level R&D results could not be turned into commercial opportunities and innovations. In his Consolidated Action Plan (CPA), the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology explicitly recognizes that S&T in African countries is plagued by such factors as weak or no links between industry and S&T institutions, a mismatch between R&D activities and national industrial development strategies and goals .
The consequence of these weaknesses is that research findings in public institutions (including universities), do not get accessed and used by local industries (especially small and medium enterprises!). Moreover, the existing shortcomings also hinder full innovation and economic integration on the international level in the area of food, agriculture and biotechnologies with regard to the EU27. A key issue for the European agro-food industry, as expressed by the stakeholders, is the “ability to access good quality ... agricultural raw materials from third countries” .
As such, the central aim of CINEA is to strengthen the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the EU-MED agro-food industry by reinforcing the cooperation with relevant Mediterranean Partner Countries on bridging the existing gap between research and innovation in the area of food and agriculture research.This included in particular:
1. Enabling Research-to-Industry (R2I) networking, collaboration and transfer of knowledge of methods and technologies for sustainable agriculture and competitive agro-food industry. To achieve this goal, the ´three R2I Brokerage Events with representatives of the EU-MED agro-food industry and key scientific players were conducted.
2. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to innovation and exploitation of research results in the target countries. To achieve this goal, the project was suppoded to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis, taking into account the relevant stakeholders in the area of technologies and methods for sustainable agriculture (including leading public research organisations in the target countries as well as with SME’s/start-ups and major industry players).
3. Building the required competences and capacities for improved innovation. This objective included several measures during the first reporting period, namely : (i) the planning and set-up of at least four Research-to-Industry Twinning Projects between research organisations and SMEs/industry representatives, (ii) the preparation and conduct of four thematic Training & HR Development Workshops, and (iii) the set-up and implementation of a corresponding mobility scheme.
4. Providing relevant innovation support services for sustainable (!) and continued R2I exchange. This included in particular the set-up of the central R2I Helpdesk which provides designated support services for all stakeholder in the knowledge chain. For the first reporting period, the helpd desk contents to be made available were on (i) business analysis and planning, (ii) starting up a business, (iii) IPR and patenting. Moreover, the Helpdesk provides information on related events, and past achievements.

Project Results:
The central achievement of CINEA and main project results are provided below, listed by work package:

WORK PACKAGE 1

Central task in work package 1 was the conduct of three thematic R2I brokerage events. Each event was dedicated to a topic with greatest innovation potential in the agri-food domaine, namely
• 1st Brokerage Event : new high added-value bio-products and bio-processes,
• 2nd Brokerage Event : sustainable and environmentally friendly production and cultivation methods for crops and bio-based materials, and
• 3rd Brokerage Event : novel methods and technologies for high quality food production and processing.

All R2I Brokerage Events have been delivered according to the specifications in the DoW. The first R2I Brokerage Event took place in August 2014 on the CNRS Campus in Gif-sur-Yvette. Focus of this event was on the identification and development of new high added-value bio-products and bio-processes. The 2nd Brokerage Event took place on the premises of the Palais des Expositions SAFEX-d’Alger in April 2015, as part of the DJAZAGRO (le salon international référence en Algérie des filières agroalimentaires). The 3rd R2I Brokerage Event took place on the premises of IRTA (including factory) in December 2015.

With 30 participants on average, all experts from industry and academia, the events proved very successful. In fact, they served also as forum for the continued development of joint R2I projects (i.e. projects between research and industry) (see D3.1 Compilation of R2I Twinning Projects for details). All information on the Brokerage Events is available through Deliverables D1.1, D1.2, and D1.3.

WORK PACKAGE 2

The goal of this work package was to identify existing opportunities for and bottlenecks of cooperation and knowledge transfer between public research and industry which. Central tasks of work package 2 included the set-up of a SWOT task force (achieved), the empirical design and conduct of the SWOT analysis (including interviews with key actors and comprehensive survey of Mediterranean region) as well as its evaluation (e.g. as part also the Joint R2I Symposium with related actions and initiatives in WP5).
For the detailed CINEA Questionnaire please see Deliverable 2.1.

The corresponding recommendations for building innovation and exploitation capacities in the agro-food domain are detailed in Deliverable 2.2. An update of these recommendations has been made throughout the last project year.

Last but not least, it is important to note that the only real « deviation » from the work plan – the organisation of the Joint R2I Symposium by GIRAF – happened in WP2. The reason, however, was not because the work could not be finished on time. On the contrary: On suggestion of the EC to create synergies and to have, whenever feasible, joint R2I events, the Joint R2I Symposium was not organised as a stand-alone event, but instead was combined with the joint Innovation Week between all MED R2I projects from 2nd-5th March 2015 in Casablanca.

WORK PACKAGE 3

This work package focussed on HR development. The development of the four thematic R2I twinning projects started as part of the R2I Brokerage Event in August 2014 and continued through all CINEA Brokerage and Training Events.

Overall, the four most promising projects for a fruitful collaboration between research and industry were identified. The inter-regional and inter-sectoral working groups have been finalized the scientific details of each project. Moreover, as part of the 3rd Training Event, the business-related aspects (including in particular attraction of investors, aspects of going to market etc.) have been elaborated. A corresponding « Guide to R2I Projects » has been created and established by GIRAF as a result of the training, to guide the further development and finalisation of the R2I projects.

As requested, the four CINEA training workshops have been conducted as well:
• The first workshop on “Industrial and socio-economic requirements in the food value chain” took place on CENTA/IRTA premises in May 2014.
• The 2nd workshop on “Organisation of Technology transfer” was jointly organised by CINEA partner UAGF together with the SOHEALTHY project in Alicante in October 2014.
• The 3rd workshop on “Managing Innovation on the Institutional Level” took place on the premises of USMBA in Fès in October 2015. In accordance with the DoW, the focus here was on practical aspects of making innovation happen and managing innovation at the institutional level. The training contents were developed jointly with InvestorNet-Gate2Growth who in addition also developed focused consultation regarding the go-to-market of the different R2I projects.
• The 4th workshop “Funding and Financing Innovation” was organised by CBS and took place in Monastir, Tunisia, in April 2016. The training gave an overview of funding and financing options with particular focus also CINEA’s R2I projects.
Reports and training materials on all training events are available (see Deliverables 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5).

Last but not least, the coaching scheme kicked-off with a several day coaching by Prof. Skalsounis, an expert on the valorisation of olive mill waste, to INRAA. Further coaching sessions included continued visits between the R2I project partners to further develop the corresponding projects, verify particular techniques, evaluate and process samples, identify bottlenecks etc. All details are available in Deliverable D5.1. It is important to note that due to the repeated terroristic attacks in Tunisia (and the worsened visa situation for partners from Europe, e.g. French partner CNRS) but also the general difficulty of the visa situation to and from Algeria (several months preparation in advance !), the project had to make use of online collaboration methods to exchange information and clarify issues.

WORK PACKAGE 4

The platform for the Central R2I Helpdesk was developed and put online for the kick-off meeting in February 2014 (see Deliverable 4.1 for details). At the same time, the helpdesk includes the CINEA website with information on the project (see Deliverable 5.2).

To enable best possible support to interested parties in the agro-food domain as well as project partners and collaborators (e.g. within the R2I project), CINEA offered continuous online training opportunities on varying topics of central interest. Partners were also informed about on-site training opportunities that arose in addition to the training and brokerage events specified in the DoW.
Moreover, all contents for the R2I helpdesk were developed (see Deliverables 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 for details). The partner search function (Deliverable D4.6) has been online as requested with details of potential partners for collaboration in the agro-food domain.

WORK PACKAGE 5

This work package aimed at creating synergies through facilitating knowledge exchange with related activities and projects, thus enabling the establishment of best practice and identification of common issues. The development of the website (Deliverable 5.2) as well as the set-up and implementation of CINEA’s mobility scheme was achieved (see project website –> Mobilities).

Also, promotional dissemination materials were developed (see Deliverable 5.3) including the CINEA promotional movie. First joint activities with other R2I projects were conducted, namely:
• Training Workshop with SOHEALTHY in October 2014,
• Joint proposal writing workshop in Barcelona in January 2014
• MedSpring Meeting in January 2014,
• Casablanca joint Innovation Week (including Joint R2I Symposium) in March 2015.

In particular the R2I innovation week with all MED R2I projects in March 2015 in Casablanca was a high point in collaboration, with CINEA being in charge of the clustering meeting (cross-analysis of all project results for regional SWOT). Moreover, from the joint proposal writing workshop in Barcelona in January 2014, a joint proposal was submitted which led to the project 5TOI_4EWAS (start date : 1st of May 2016).

A list of all dissemination activities and publications is available through ECAS.

WORK PACKAGE 6

The CINA project meetings were conducted as needed. Key issues/risks included :
• The merge of partner CENTA with IRTA;
• The transfer of the mobility scheme from CBS to GIRAF due to administrative problems in Tunisia; the impact of this transfer (which could only happen with the 2nd prefinancing) was not severe due to the difficult visa situation and the adverse effect was avoided by GIRAF pre-paying mobilities from their budgets, as well as other travellers waiting for the reimbursement of their mobilities until payment of the 2nd pre-financing (see below) ;
• The difficulties of timely submission of ANVREDET’s form C due to the change of management and LEAR in ANVREDET - and the resulting simplified submission of the 1st year report early July 2015;
• The delay of the 2nd pre-financing which was only received by GIRAF in December 2015 (i.e. 4 months prior to the end of the project) which partners kindly mitigated by providing the necessary funds upfront internally;
• Continued problems with visa (in particular Algeria, but also inhibited travel of some European partners to Tunisia as a result of the repeated terroristic attacks). Here, CINEA devised strategies for enabling online collaboration wherever possible as well as remote collaboration (e.g. instead of direct on-site visit to Algeria for material characterisation, samples were sent to Europe by post for characterisation). In addition to filing a corresponding request for extension, all measures hence were taken to mitigate the adverse effects of the visa situation.

As a result of the management, there were no major deviations from the workplan other than the limited number of mobilities.

In accordance with the DoW, CINEA organised the following project meetings – wherever possible attached to other key events:
• KO in Paris (February 2014)
• Project meeting together with R2I Forum in Paris (August 2014)
• Project meeting together with the R2I Forum in Alger (April 2015)
• Project meeting together with the 3rd Training Event in Fès (October 2015)
• Project meeting together with the 4th Training Event in Monastir (April 2016)

Potential Impact:
With applications in a broad variety of sectors, biotechnology represents the central innovation driver in the agro-food sector, leading to growth and competitiveness in the traditional food and
agricultural sectors, as well as supporting the creation of emerging sectors, such as novel bio-based products, biowaste etc.. Innovation with respect to the agro-food industry and the attainment of sustainable agriculture comes in particular from
• the identification, investigation, and evaluation of novel sources of bio-products and bio-mass,
• the identification and development of new high added-value bio-products and bio-processes for agriculture, and
• the identification, development and implementation of respective environmentally friendly solutions for industrial processes and products in the agro-food sector.

CINEA’s activities directly support the uptake of research results across the EU-MED region which is according to the first expected impact listed in the call. The impact was achieved in particular through the following actions during the first reporting period:

1. Establishing opportunities for getting to know relevant partners (i.e. initiation of contacts between industry and research) during the three R2I Brokerage Events, expert mobility through the mobility
scheme as well as R2I collaboration as part of the four R2I twinning projects;

2. Building the HR capacities needed for joint innovation and exploitation of research results: The 1st Training Event focussed on industrial and socio-economic requirements in the agro-food industry, the 2nd Training Event focused on the organisation of Technology Transfer; the 3rd Training Event provided support to Innovation at the institutional Level and the final Training Event covered Funding and Financing issues surrounding Innovation;

3. Providing relevant support services, anytime, anywhere, through CINEA’s Central R2I Helpdesk;

4. Providing clear recommendations for building innovation and exploitation capacities in the area of food and agriculture .

As such, CINEA has managed to provide many solutions at every step towards bridging the gap between research and innovation:

• To the research community (Goals: (i) to foster improvements in innovation capacities of the research centres and universities in the target region; (ii) to raise awareness of collaboration
opportunities and exchange of best practice between organisations from the MED region and the EU)

• To the industrial community (Goals: (i) to foster improvements with regard to transfer of knowledge and academia-industry collaboration; (ii) to raise awareness about R2I collaboration
opportunities and exchange of best practice both within the Mediterranean region and across
EU-MED)

• To policy-level (Goal: To raise awareness about current structural weaknesses in the Innovation chain in the target countries and to support the adjustment of policies in the region)

• To the general public (Goals: (i) To raise public awareness about the possibilities of innovation in the agro-food sector; (ii) To raise public awareness of key players in the Innovation chain and related
opportunities (e.g. jobs, study etc.))

Altogether, this allows for not only for socio-economic impact of the project (in particular the development of the R2I projects and improved research-industry collaboration), but also impact on societal level, in terms of partners exchange (see mobility scheme) and awareness raising among stakeholders, policy-makers and the general public.

List of Websites:
www.cinea-med.eu

Related information

Documents and Publications

Contact

Loesch, Andrea (Managing Director)
Tel.: +4915233798989
E-mail
Record Number: 188213 / Last updated on: 2016-08-19