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BovINE Beef Innovation Network Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BovINE (BovINE Beef Innovation Network Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

There are 255,000 farms in the EU bovine meat sector, yet no network focused solely on their needs has been established to date. Beef Innovation Network Europe- BovINE- was established to implement more intense cooperation between researchers, advisors, farmers and relevant actors to facilitate greater exchange of knowledge and acceptance of co-created solutions to the sector’s sustainability challenges. BovINE draws on connections of consortium members to appropriate networks, on four related themes; socioeconomic resilience, animal health & welfare, production efficiency & meat quality and environmental sustainability. Using a multi-actor approach, BovINE will (i) capture and share innovative methods from practice across Europe and (ii) identify and conserve research findings not yet widely adopted, enhancing their potential for integration into practice by assessing feasibility through demonstration.
Following a kick-off meeting in M1, a management framework, consisting of a Governing Board, Technical Committee, Network Managers, Technical Working Groups and a Project Advisory Group was established by M4 of the project. An annual project plan was produced (D1.2). A data and risk management plan (D1.3) was drafted and updated during the first 18 months. Issues related to the consortium agreement (deliverables, budget etc.) were managed and coordinated on a day-to-day basis. A shared repository was established to support effective internal communications. Minutes from the kick-off meeting and a risk assessment plan were submitted as deliverables, D1.1 and D1.4 respectively.
During RP1, the team responsible for supporting a systematic and coordinated approach within the project for network formation and implementing the multi-actor approach (Work package 2 team) produced a support package for technical WPs (WP3-6) by creating an actor map per country, training network managers (NMs) on the multi-actor approach, creating guidelines for the capture of grassroot needs (GRNs), good practices (GPs) and research innovations (RIs) and the hosting of regional/national and transnational multi-actor workshops.
In year one, two challenges/priority topics for beef farmers were identified related to each of the four thematic areas covered in the project. European and national/regional multi-actor sub-networks were established to find and disseminate solutions within the Beef Knowledge Innovation System (BKIS). Solutions (70+) were derived from on-farm good practices through the existing and newly established connections of BovINE NMs with regional producers.
In each of the four thematic WPs (WP3-6) Technical Working Groups (TWGs) established a literature database (D3.1 4.1 5.1 & 6.1) consisting of novel research findings that could address the priority topics identified. From this database research based innovations not widely adopted by European beef farmers were proposed and the information was made available through the project’s website, the BovINE Knowledge Hub (BKH) and at project meetings with the wider public. Demonstrations of the innovations found (48) are being undertaken throughout year 2 to assess the feasibility of implementation across partner regions.
Regional/national meetings held at the end of year 1 identified a number of key challenges (grass root needs) for beef farmers in becoming more sustainable. From this two additional priority topics per thematic area were identified and solutions are currently being collected by NMs and TWG’s.
In M14 a methodology and guidelines to conduct a cost- benefit analysis was drafted by the WP3 and was submitted as D3.2.
All GPs and RIs selected for the topics of year 1 were compiled into technical reports and practice abstracts (D 3.2 4.2 5.2 6.2) and uploaded on the BovINE Knowledge Hub (BKH). Following on the innovations from year 1, demonstrations are being organised in the first half of year 2 (Task 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5).
A communications and dissemination strategy was finalised and documented in D7.1 by M3. Project promotional materials such as the logo were developed in M1-12 and are reported in D7.2. The website and social media accounts were launched in M3 and the BKH was available for uploads by M6, with partner training & support provided (details recorded in D7.3). A practice abstract catalogue was produced by M15 (D7.7). Two e-newsletters were sent to >950 subscribers and six press releases were issued.
The management structures developed in BovINE (WP1) have supported the establishment of a pan-European knowledge exchange network (27+ related networks across Europe) enabling a bottom-up approach to the collection of regional GRN's, the sharing of good practices and the capture of innovations from research that address the GRN's. Through a national/regional multi-actor event held at the end of each year in each of the nine regions represented by the project, practice ready innovations and solutions are cascaded through the BKIS across Europe. To date 9 of these meetings having taken place with a further 18 expected in Years 2 & 3. One transnational event has also been organised in M12, with another scheduled for M24 to present solutions delivering a combination of impacts on all areas of sustainable beef production.
Bespoke BovINE guidelines, tools and activities (the BovINE Interaction Model, developed in WP2) provide a framework to support this pan-European multi-actor network in addressing the sustainability challenges/priority topics of the beef sector. Four Technical Working Groups (TWGs, WP3-6) addressed various priority topics related to challenges beef farmers are experiencing in becoming more economically sustainable (economic planning and risk management), more animal welfare friendly (reducing dystocia and lameness), more technically efficient (improving meat quality and automating animal management) and more environmentally sustainable (reducing nutrient leaching and enteric methane emissions). In Year 2, work has commenced on reviewing and testing the feasibility of a selection of the research-based practice-ready solutions that have been collected by each TWG to address these challenges through demonstration activities, with the aim of increasing the Technology Readiness Level of a suite of innovations for those involved in the European beef supply chain.
In total information related to 40 Research Innovations (RI) and more than 50 Good Practices (GP) that address the aforementioned priority topics have been compiled in the format of practice abstracts and subsequently uploaded to the projects online open repository - the BKH and submitted to the EIP-AGRI online platform. In the remaining 18 months of the project, practice abstracts will be developed addressing additional priority topics based on the collected grass root needs of beef farmers from each network. In total it is expected that more than 90 PA will be produced and made available to the EIP-AGRI and those registered to the BKH, throughout the project.
Four webinars and two interactive animations have been produced in RP1 and in RP2 a further eight webinars and six animations will be produced to further support knowledge exchange. Further to this, a Pan-European contacts database has been created to allow for direct dissemination of knowledge obtained from project activities to a wide range of actors across Europe.
The BovINE Interaction Model
BovINE Research Innovation Literature Databases
BovINE - Beef Innovation network developed across Europe
The BovINE Knowledge Hub- an online repository of practice ready solutions for beef farmers