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Understanding and improving the sustainability of agro-ecological farming systems in the EU

Project description

Sowing the seeds for sustainable farming

European agriculture faces an urgent challenge – how to sustainably feed a growing population while preserving our environment and supporting farm households. With this in mind, the EU-funded UNISECO project aims to strengthen the sustainability of EU farming systems. Specifically, it will co-construct practice-validated strategies and incentives for improved agroecological approaches. By delving into the complex web of socio-economic, ecological and political factors, the project will seek to identify more effective management strategies and promote sustainable agriculture across Europe. Through participatory case studies in 15 European countries and a transdisciplinary process, UNISECO will empower stakeholders and scientists, fostering a deeper understanding of how to enhance the sustainability of EU farming systems.


The overarching objective of UNISECO is to strengthen the sustainability of EU farming systems, through co-constructing practice-validated strategies and incentives for the promotion of improved agro-ecological approaches. We will enhance the understanding of socio-economic and policy drivers and barriers for further development and implementation of agro-ecological approaches in EU farming systems to identify and facilitate more effective management strategies for European agriculture. This requires a wider systems perspective, considering socio-economic, ecological and political settings at a territorial level. We will operationalise a socio-ecological systems framework that integrates external settings into a sustainability assessment of farming systems, paying particular attention to the role of different types of actors and their roles in sub-systems. UNISECO will provide a methodological toolkit to assess the environmental, economic and social impacts of innovative strategies and incentives for agro-ecological approaches in EU farming systems at farm and territorial levels. The methodological toolkit will be tested in participatory case studies in 15 European countries with different biophysical, socio-economic and socio-cultural contexts of farming systems. UNISECO is committed to a genuine transdisciplinary process, reflected in consortium composition of stakeholder and scientific partners, and the emphasis on multi-actor engagement. Group learning processes, integrating practical and theoretical knowledge, will benefit scientists, stakeholders and end-users through improved understanding on how to strengthen sustainability of EU farming systems. UNISECO addresses the work programme topic SFS-29-2017 and contributes to Sustainable Food Security by identifying and supporting farming systems that enable the production of healthy food while preserving the environment and bringing added value to farm households and the different stakeholders of the value chain.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 567 000,00
38116 Braunschweig

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Niedersachsen Braunschweig Braunschweig, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 567 000,00

Participants (17)