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Thematic networks compiling knowledge ready for practice


The themes must focus on the most urgent needs which farmers and foresters experience. The activities of thematic networks are summarising, sharing and presenting, - in a language that is easy to understand and is targeted to farmers and foresters - existing best practices and research findings that are close to being put into practice, but not sufficiently known or used by practitioners. The specific themes of the networks can be chosen in a 'bottom-up' way. First and foremost, they must tackle the most urgent needs experienced by farmers and foresters. If it is appropriate to solve these needs, the themes can cover sectoral or cross-sectoral issues, organisational or management solutions. The activities should pay attention to the cost/benefit aspects of the specific practices collected and summarised. A comprehensive description of the state of current farming practices relative to the chosen theme should explain the added value of the proposal and the relevance of the theme for the farmer. The proposal should also explain how it avoids duplication with ongoing or completed projects and networks. In order to better reach and capture knowledge from the targeted farmers/foresters, the networks may organise 'cross-fertilisation' through sub-networks covering, for example, a region, a language or a production system.

The result of the project should be an extensive range of useful, applicable and appealing end-user material for farmers and foresters. This information should be easy to access and understand, and feed into the existing dissemination channels most consulted by farmers and foresters at national or regional level. It should also be provided to the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability' in the common ""practice abstract"" format. Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[[See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.]], with preferably a project duration of three years and a consortium based on a balanced mix of actors with complementary knowledge clearly activating farmers/foresters, farmers' groups and advisors. Wherever possible, details on the synergies with relevant EIP Operational Groups and interactive innovation groups operating in the context of the EIP-AGRI are expected, and, if useful, with other European Structural and Investment Fund projects. In the exceptional event that minor testing of specific solutions would be needed, a maximum of 20% of the project budget may be used for this purpose.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 2 million per project would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Despite the continued funding of scientific projects, innovative ideas and methods from practice are not captured and spread, while also often research findings are not integrated into agricultural and forestry practice. It is essential to act at EU level to remedy this because national and sectoral agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKISs) are insufficiently connected and organised to fully facilitate the necessary intensifying of thematic cooperation between researchers, advisors and farmers/foresters. This exchange of knowledge will foster economically viable and sustainable agriculture and forestry.

Activities must

  • contribute to the collection and distribution of easily accessible practice-oriented knowledge on the thematic area chosen, including delivering as many “practice abstracts” in the common EIP-AGRI format as possible and as much audio-visual material as possible.
  • conserve the practical knowledge for the long term - beyond the project period – in particular by using the main trusted dissemination channels which farmers/foresters consult most often, and also serve education and training purposes;
  • increase the flow of practical information between farmers/foresters in Europe in a geographically balanced way, creating spill-overs and taking account of the differences between territories;
  • achieve greater user acceptance of collected solutions and a more intensive dissemination of existing knowledge.