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Climate change impact mitigation for European viticulture: knowledge transfer for an integrated approach

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Clim4Vitis (Climate change impact mitigation for European viticulture: knowledge transfer for an integrated approach)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-11-30

The main objective of Clim4Vitis is to strengthen and raise science and technology (S&T) capacity and performance of UTAD (a university from Portugal, a so-called Widening country), and of its research group at CITAB, in two main specific fields of research within the broad topic of “viticulture & climate”:
• Grapevine modelling; and
• Methods and tools for assessing climate change impacts on European viticulture, in general, and on grapevine productivity, quality attributes and risk of diseases and pests in particular.

In order to boost competences in these two topics, the project gathers five international partners, namely UTAD, three internationally-leading research institutions and an international consultancy & training company, as listed below in the same order:
• Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD);
• Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK);
• University of Florence (UniFi);
• Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST); and
• Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI).

UTAD coordinates this consortium.
As projected in Annex 1 to the Grant Agreement, a total of 6 deliverables were produced and 5 milestones were achieved during this reporting period, as will be detailed below.

The Clim4Vitis Launch Event was held in February 2019 (M6) at UTAD, Portugal, when the project was publically presented to researchers, stakeholders, decision-makers, regional and national agents, directly or indirectly associated with the winemaking sector, and UTAD students. It was a rather successful event, with an outstanding participation of the different aforesaid actors. Several high-level communications were presented by academics and shareholders. New collaborations, including data sharing, were promoted by this event. It was also widely covered by local, regional and national media, and disseminated through several internet channels and social networks.

On the more scientific side, an initial compilation of climatic and grapevine parameter datasets was undertaken by collecting data from all partners. Making use of the high-performance computer system at PIK, it was also possible to generate new climatic datasets relevant for the general topic “viticulture & climate” that should be of foremost relevance in upcoming scientific collaborations and projects. A Data Management Plan was agreed among all partners and was delivered on February 2019 (Deliverable 6.1) which is a document detailing the data to be collected and generated by the project, how it will be exploited or made accessible and how it will be preserved. A Statement Report on completion of climatic datasets and of grapevine parameters, on standardized data set protocol and definition of the grapevine model family (Deliverable 1.1) was conveyed in August 2019 (M12). These datasets were made available to all partners through the PIK computer cluster infrastructure. Following a share of computational facilities and crop models, some grapevine modelling experiments are already underway, which will represent a major advancement in the consortium S&T performance, particularly for the UTAD team that has currently very limited computational resources. Furthermore, this scientific collaboration is establishing the grounds to identify joint R&D collaboration opportunities, as well as cooperation with other scientific and industrial actors. This will also enable future collaboration after Clim4Vitis completion and potentiate long-term sustainability. The expected enhancement of the UTAD team performance by the end of Clim4Vitis can be objectively compared to the 3 years preceding Clim4Vitis. For that purpose, a list of the peer-reviewed publications of the coordinating institution was publically available and delivered to the EC (Deliverable 4.1) in October 2018 (M2). This list comprises 15 SCOPUS-indexed publications from the UTAD team over the period from 2015 to 2017 (the 3 years preceding the project onset).

The Annual Plan for Capacity Building – Year 1 (Deliverable 2.1) and Annual Plan for Capacity Building – Year 2 (Deliverable 2.2) were produced. All capacity building & knowledge transfer actions and activities, planned in these two deliverables for the present reporting period, were fully accomplished:
• two thematic workshops;
• one short course;
• one expert webinar;
• one staff exchange.

The follow-up and evaluation of Clim4vitis action mostly aims at assessing the short-term impact of these knowledge transfer & capacity building activities. The process for this evaluation was defined in the very beginning of Clim4Vitis, at the PIK project meeting, October 2018 (M2). Monitoring and evaluation by SPI was permanent throughout the reporting period. The first knowledge transfer & capacity building evaluations were made available and discussed in the second project meeting at UTAD, in February 2019 (M6). In the third project meeting at UniFi, in July 2019, subsequent knowledge transfer & capacity building evaluations were presented and discussed amongst all partners, mostly aiming at enhancing their effectiveness.

In addition, a Dissemination and Communication Plan (Deliverable 5.1) was also prepared in the beginning of the project, which provides a detailed description of the dissemination and communication strategy of Clim4Vitis, along with a plan to implement the strategy.

The project website (https://clim4vitis.eu/) has been regularly maintained. Informational and promotional material have also been created by SPI designers for the project dissemination and capacity building actions, such as the project logo, templates, flyers and posters. A first project newsletter was also produced and is publically available on the project website, along with some press releases and clippings.

A zenodo community was created for Clim4Vitis and can be found at https://www.zenodo.org/communities/clim4vitis/ where publications, communications, reports and other relevant material is being regularly updated and made openly accessible to the general public.

Furthermore, collaborative research among all partners has been stimulated and implemented. Communication with other ongoing initiatives related to the topic of Clim4Vitis has been actively carried out.

A Project Management Board (PMB) has maintained regular videoconference meetings throughout the reporting period, with a nearly 2-month periodicity. Minutes of the aforementioned meetings were produced and made available to all partners. The participation of the members of the Advisory Board (AB) in some of the Clim4Vitis activities was also accomplished.
The implementation of several twinning activities as planned (thematic workshops, staff exchanges, short courses, thematic seminars, webinars, and conferences, among others) aims to enable access to systematized knowledge and cutting-edge technology, as well as knowledge and technology transfer between the high performing partners and the UTAD.

Clim4Vitis is based on an integrated approach, which envisages the effective internationalization of the University, through extensive networking, dissemination and the establishment of long-term transnational cooperation relationships with world-leading R&D institutions. Furthermore, the project actively contributes to the sustainability of UTAD, once it also foresees the increase of contracts with business partners and stakeholders.