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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Clim4Vitis (Climate change impact mitigation for European viticulture: knowledge transfer for an integrated approach)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2022-02-28

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.
A total of 13 deliverables (D) were produced within Clim4Vitis (6 in the First Reporting Period, M1-M15, and 7 in the Second Reporting Period, M16-M42). Further, 7 milestones were achieved: 5 in the First Reporting Period and 2 in the Second. Deliverables and milestones strictly followed the Description of the Action (DoA).

A Dissemination and Communication Plan (D5.1) was prepared at the beginning of the project. Annual Plans for Capacity Building – Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 (D2.1 D2.2 and D2.3) were produced at the beginning of each year. All capacity building & knowledge transfer activities were fully accomplished, namely:

• four thematic workshops;
• two short courses;
• four expert webinars;
• three staff exchanges.

One international thematic seminar and three workshops with stakeholders were additionally organized, besides other activities with UTAD students and researchers that were not initially anticipated. All these activities were detailed in the Final Report on Capacity Building Actions (D2.4).

The Clim4Vitis Launch Event was held in February 2019 (M6) at UTAD, Portugal, when the project was 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. The Clim4Vitis Open Day at UTAD in November 2021 (M39) was also an opportunity for dissemination and communication, with remarkable participation despite Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Follow-up and evaluation of the Clim4vitis action aimed at assessing the short-term impact of knowledge transfer & capacity building activities. A Final Evaluation Report was produced in February 2022 (M42) as D3.1.

A comprehensive compilation of climatic and grapevine parameter datasets and models was undertaken by collecting data from all partners. Making use of the high-performance computer system at PIK, it was possible to generate new climatic datasets relevant to the general topic “viticulture & climate”, which will be of utmost relevance in upcoming scientific collaborations. D1.1 D1.2 and D1.3 described the main achievements from modelling and data compilation. A Data Management Plan was agreed upon by all partners (D6.1) 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.

Following a share of computational facilities and models, grapevine modelling experiments were carried out, representing a major advancement in the consortium S&T performance, particularly for the UTAD team. Furthermore, this scientific collaboration established the grounds to identify joint R&D collaboration opportunities and cooperation with other scientific and industrial actors. This also effectively enabled ongoing and foreseen collaboration after Clim4Vitis completion and potentiate the long-term sustainability of the consortium. A Sustainability and Exploitation Plan was agreed upon by the consortium (D4.2).

The enhancement of the UTAD team performance by the end of Clim4Vitis can be objectively compared to the 3 years preceding Clim4Vitis (D4.1). At the end of Clim4Vitis, the number of peer-reviewed articles increased by approximately 150%, with the vast majority published with Gold Open Access. This outcome, along with other key performance indicators, demonstrates an effective increase in scientific productivity and excellence of the UTAD within the topic of research of "Viticulture & Climate". The most important scientific results were translated into adaptation guidelines for the European wine sector, namely in the publication of a White Paper (D1.4). A brochure was also produced to provide a summary of the White Paper but directed to the general public. In addition, a short promotional video/animation was also produced for the dissemination of these adaptation strategies.

The project website (https://clim4vitis.eu/) was regularly maintained. Vast informational and promotional material was created for the project dissemination and capacity building actions. Six project newsletters were produced and are available on the project website, along with some press releases and clippings. A Zenodo open community was created for Clim4Vitis (https://www.zenodo.org/communities/clim4vitis/) where publications, communications, reports and other relevant material are openly accessible to the general public.

Very active participation of the members of the Advisory Board (AB) in Clim4Vitis activities was also accomplished.

The topic of research on "Viticulture & Climate", exploited within the framework of Clim4Vitis, is aligned with the new EU Green Deal and Climate Law policies. It is a vital topic of research in the near future to warrant the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of the European viticulture and wine sector, which is particularly exposed and vulnerable to climate change. This research will promote sectoral climate change adaptation and risk reduction. The transition to a climate-smart winemaking sector, keeping, at the same time, its high traditional value and heritage in the EU, as well as its economic relevance and competitiveness, is of foremost relevance.
The implementation of several twinning activities as planned (thematic workshops, staff exchanges, short courses, thematic seminars, webinars, and conferences, among others) aimed 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 was based on an integrated approach, which envisaged the effective internationalization of UTAD, through extensive networking, dissemination and the establishment of long-term transnational cooperation relationships with world-leading R&D institutions. Furthermore, the project actively contributed to the sustainability of UTAD, once it also allowed the increase of contracts with business partners and stakeholders.
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