Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Impact of Research on EU Agriculture

Article Category

Article available in the following languages:

Effectiveness of research on agriculture measured

A large amount of EU funding is going to research on agriculture. A recent study demonstrated the positive impact of such research and produced recommendations to enhance it.

Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources
Fundamental Research icon Fundamental Research

Comprehensive research in the agricultural field not only helps advance food security for Europe and the rest of the world, it also supports the European economy. The EU strives to improve agricultural research based on innovation in order to identify and ensure benefits for consumers and society. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded IMPRESA (Impact of research on EU agriculture) project studied the process of research impact across Europe and evaluated the socioeconomic impacts of agricultural research. To achieve its aims, the project team first began by documenting public and private research expenditures. It then examined the impact of science-based innovations and analysed the relationship between research investments and their final impacts. This was aimed at advancing economic, environmental and social benefits that emerge from public, private and not-for-profit research investment expenditure. In more detail, project work involved mapping current data on European agricultural research investment, including expenditure statistics, country surveys and case studies involving science-based innovation. Several insightful results emerged from the project, highlighting for example that 5 countries in the EU accounted for over 70 % of all planned public agricultural research expenditure. Moreover, the project found that public research expenditure positively impacts productivity, with returns being around 7-15 % after a lag of 9-18 years. It also found that social and environmental impacts of research are positive, and that private food processing research investment had a positive impact on commercial performance. A study of the connection between research and performance at farm level revealed that innovation was also important, supported by networking connections with knowledge brokers and value chain actors. Overall, IMPRESA has yielded valuable conclusions regarding agricultural research in the EU by mapping research programmes and expenditure trends in 20 countries, representing 95 % of total effort from 2008 to 2013. It disseminated recommendations to key policy-related actors at regional, national and EU levels. This will help create better research programmes with the aim of enhancing the impact of public and private investments in agricultural research.


Agriculture, agricultural research, innovation, IMPRESA, research investments

Discover other articles in the same domain of application