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INtegrated Spatial PlannIng, land use and soil management Research ActTION

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INSPIRATION (INtegrated Spatial PlannIng, land use and soil management Research ActTION)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

The way we steward soil resources and manage land use activities is central to ensuring Europe’s transition to a sustainable future for its citizens. The application of research findings and knowledge are fundamental to improve our approaches to securing soils and land for next generations, for competitive economies and healthy landscapes. Clever use of the (ecosystem) services provided by the soil-sediment-water-system (SSW-system) provides solutions for addressing societal needs and societal challenges.

The aim of the Coordination and Support Action (CSA) project INSPIRATION (INtegrated Spatial PlannIng, land use and soil management Research AcTION) is to establish and promote the adoption of a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for land use, land use changes and soil management in the light of current and future societal challenges. Main objectives are:
• Formulate, consult on and revise an end-user oriented SRA
• Scope out models for implementing of the SRA
• Prepare a network of private and public funding institutions willing to fund the SRA

Horizon 2020 calls for research and innovation that helps Europeans to achieve meaningful, harmonious and lasting societies that can cope with global (including climate) change and the pressures resulting from that change. INSPIRATION aims to develop a SRA that directly addresses these challenges through increasing of our understanding of the SSW-system and development of land use and land management practises in such a way that this SRA contributes to:
• Food security and food safety
• Secure supply of safe drinking water
• Secure energy supply and distribution
• The reduction of raw material and resource consumption
• Efficient use of natural resources
• Climate change mitigation and societal adaptation to that change

The activities to achieve the INSPIRATION objectives are based on a multi-stakeholder, multi-national and interdisciplinary, demand-driven approach that covers a diversity of stakeholders (public bodies, business, science, citizens and society) including a variety of relevant public and private funders.

INSPIRATION engages with relevant stakeholders across Europe via a National Focal Point (NFP) in 17 countries. From March 2015 to March 2016, the NFPs (1) interviewed National Key Stakeholders (NKS), (2) performed a desk study and (3) organized workshops – engaging with about 500 stakeholders of funders, end-users and researchers across the various soil and land management disciplines. The goal of these activities was to collate information as input for achieving of the main project objectives as stated above. Moreover, at European scale, networks, e.g. from industry, policy-making and regulation, have been invited to share their experiences, research needs and possibilities for (co-)funding of such research.

The outcomes of the collation of demands for research by end-users (including industry), researchers and funders were reviewed and subsequently clustered under four themes, which are:
• Resources demand and efficiency
• Natural capital
• Land management
• Net impact on global, EU and local scale

Moreover, integrated research topics have been identified, which are bridging the above mentioned themes or which address overarching research issues.

Based on these results, a cross-country and cross-discipline dialogue will subsequently be organized among the relevant user groups, private and public funding institutions and scientific communities in Europe in order to reach a trans-national, prioritized SRA and a model for execution of this SRA. Thus a framework for future research calls will be produced which will give private and public funders confidence that for each Euro they spend, they will get multiple Euros worth of knowledge in return.

INSPIRATION is coordinated by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and structured in five work packages (WPs) to achieve an efficient realisation of the project’s objectives:

“Project Managem
INSPIRATION is structured in five work packages (WPs). The Coordination and Support Action started in March 2015. As end of August 2016 the following work has been conducted and main results achieved:

WP1 – Project management
Task 1.1: Project management
A kick-off meeting took place in Berlin, 1-2 April 2015 and a mid-priject meeting in Faro, 8-10 June 2016. The project managing Core Group met face to face on 31 March and 2 December 2015 and 10-11 March and 8 June 2016 and has monthly online meetings.
A Consortium Agreement between all INSPIRATION partners was established. During the reporting phase, issues demanding an amendment of the Grant Agreement have been identified (e.g. accession interest of new beneficiaries) and have been negotiated within the consortium, concerned third parties and with the European Commission’s services. The EC’s scientific project officer has been informed regularly on the progress of the project.
Semi-annual activity reports facilitate a regular and iterative evaluation of the project’s progress. In the first 18 months, all 13 deliverables and 5 milestones due were submitted or achieved.
Task 1.2: Final conference
Lessons learned from participation in events so far, will be considered in organizing INSPIRATION’s final conference, which is scheduled to take place by end 2017.

WP2 – Demands of research from industry, end-users and funders (State-of-the-art at national levels)
Task 2.1: Kick off with National Focal Points (NFPs)
With NFP input at the INSPIRATION kick-off meeting, deliverable D2.1 “Memorandum of Understanding on how the National Focal Points should execute their tasks” was achieved.
Task 2.2: Registry of National Key Stakeholders (NKS)
For each country, NKS were approached and a register of a balanced group of stakeholders was established (comprising funders, end-users, researchers and different organisations) as documented in deliverable D2.2 “Registry of National Key Stakeholders cooperating in INSPIRATION”.
Task 2.3: Prepare a harmonized template for information collation
A template for interviewing of the NKS by the NFPs was prepared and discussed and agreed upon with WP5 (to ensure coherence with the WP5 policy workshop) and with WP1 (project coordinator). Thereafter this template was discussed in depth in a NFP training session (22-23 June 2015, Vienna), where NFPs of all countries were present. Furthermore, comments of the International Advisory Board were included. This all resulted in deliverable D2.3 “Template for national information collation”.
Task 2.4: Collate information at national levels
By autumn 2015, information was collated by the NFPs in their countries through desk studies and by interviewing in total (all countries together) 374 NKS (about 20 NKS per country). The results were reported in deliverable D2.4 “National report on collated information following the template”.
Task 2.5: Review and synthesises of the collated information
The NFPs organized national workshops where the collated information as reported in deliverable D2.4 was jointly reviewed, synthesized and prioritized with the national NKS and additional experts. In total (all countries together) 468 persons were involved. A draft of deliverable D2.5 “National reports with a review and synthesis of the collated information” was prepared and was reviewed by the CG. After further review by the NKS and IAB a milestone was achieved: MS4 “National reports with a state-of-the-art overview of: (1) R&I needs (of industry, end-users and funding agencies); (2) how science is connected to policy/practice; (3) national funding schemes; and (4) of transnational funding schemes”. And finally the main and concluding deliverable of WP2 was timely achieved: deliverable D2.5 “National reports with a review and synthesis of the collated information”.

WP3 – Transnational commons aggregated under integrated themes
Task 3.1: Initial meeting of WP3 and core group
Here the pro
"Soil and land use management needs to focus on sustainable use of natural capital and resources. It needs to understand the potentials, functioning and limits of the Soil-Sediment-Water-system. The underlying premise of INSPIRATION is that land and soil services are fundamental for meeting societal needs (food, drinking water, energy production, shelter, infrastructure) and overcoming societal challenges (climate change mitigation and adaptation, increasing demands on non-renewable natural resources, environmental justice).

The main aim of INSPIRATION is to develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to inform environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and economically affordable soil and land use management that meets societal needs and challenges. Thereby, INSPIRATION strives to make a difference through both i) the legitimacy of the demand driven basis of the SRA for land and the SSW-system, land-use changes and soil management in Europe and ii) a strongly independent promotion of the mutual benefit of cooperation by funders in its delivery through various fit-for-purpose funding models.

Agreed vision and SRA
INSPIRATION will help achieve integrated and interdisciplinary action in the next decade by implementing the SRA through agreed common initiatives which reflect societal challenges along with the individual demands of funding agencies and private partners. The bottom up process of INSPIRATION will identify synergies between existing institutions and programs. ""Knowledge requirements"" and INSPIRATION’s dissemination and communication actions are designed to establish a long term ""reform process"" at the institutional and programme level. A key success indicator will be the declarations of interest of cooperation for the developed SRA.

Connecting/network of national funding agencies: synergies
INSPIRATION contributes to matching Europe’s funding agencies by developing shared research and innovation (R&I) programs at different implementation levels to deliver better value for money knowledge creation and transfer. Via the bottom-up approach at national level (interviews, national workshops and NKS-WP3 workshop) and European level (via policy-oriented workshops) a match-making process is initiated: individual funders are matched to, for them, recognizable, specific, transnational SRA topics. Thus INSPIRATION will propose R&I themes and topics at different levels of cooperation and motivate active participation during the final consultation process. The process will improve coordination of EU and Member State/associated country R&I programmes on a short, medium and long term basis. It will also include opportunities for initiatives on policy related programmes, like INTERREG, LIFE or URBACT. The nature and volume of engagement by stakeholders in the opportunity provided for a final checking the project outcomes and in the number of ‘funder-SRA-topic’ matches established will indicate INSPIRATION’s success.

Enhanced impact of research and innovation activities
Impact will be enhanced by public sector, businesses, industry and general society providing evidence-based policy and R&I priorities. Their involvement as National Key Stakeholders (NKS) all along the INSPIRATION project – from the identification of R&I needs to the consultations for matchmaking the SRA and the funding options – will increase the impact. By mobilizing the relevant actors (NKS) from the early start of INSPIRATION, the awareness for opportunities of the Soil-Sediment-Water-system, land use and soil management to tackle societal challenges and the support, engagement and willingness to contribute to the SRA (on a longer term) are increased and the network and collaboration possibilities are strengthened. This all contributes to the willingness and commitment to implement the SRA after the funding of INSPIRATION as a Coordination and Support Action.
By having interviewed 374 NKS and engaged with more than 450 experts in national worksho"
INSPIRATION Thanks to Twitter followers
Impression from INSPIRATION national stakeholder workshop Slovakia
Overview INSPIRATION countries and partners as of 2016
Logo of INSPIRATION with full title
INSPIRATION website
Impression from INSPIRATION national stakeholder workshop Austria
Overview of INSPIRATION National Focal Points and WP2 Leader
INSPIRATION Advisory Board members at meeting in Faro in June 2016
Work session with stakeholders of INSPIRATION in Faro, June 2016
Impression from INSPIRATION national stakeholder workshop Sweden
Impression from INSPIRATION national stakeholder workshop Germany
Impression from INSPIRATION national stakeholder workshop Czech Republic
Logo of INSPIRATION
Audience at INSPIRATION project and stakeholder meeting in Faro, June 2016