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European Knowledge repository for best agricultural practices

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Eureka (European Knowledge repository for best agricultural practices)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Farmers, foresters and advisors all face issues in their industries. While some may be minor issues that pop up here and there, and others are more serious problems that could threaten their livelihood, they all negatively impact businesses, productivity and well-being. In many cases, a solution is out there, but finding it can be a real challenge. While friends, advisors and professional magazines can be a great source of information, they will not always have an answer. Nowadays, most of us quickly turn to online sources, but knowing which ones to trust, and finding them in one's own language, can already be a big challenge.

EUREKA is a project that helps to connect farmers, foresters, and others working in these and related sectors with innovative solutions to their everyday problems. We are working to develop an online knowledge reservoir of the key outputs from Horizon 2020 projects, which are run across the EU by farming and forestry practitioners in partnership with scientists and other experts to tackle real-life, practical problems across Europe. This knowledge repository, which we call the FarmBook, will ensure the longevity and better sharing of the practical knowledge produced in Horizon 2020 projects and in similar future initiatives.

The main objective of EUREKA is to co-create a stronger EU-wide agricultural knowledge base by:
1. Analysing the variety of different outputs, activities and knowledge-sharing strategies of all Horizon 2020 projects
2. Reinforcing an active and engaged "multi-actor" project (MAP) community
3. Selecting the most relevant and high-impact agricultural project knowledge for the rural and scientific community to be included in a high quality, easily searchable and open-source database.
In the first reporting period, EUREKA analysed the Horizon 2020 MAP knowledge supply to get a full picture that will allow us to identify best practices, or "do’s and don’ts," when working as multi-actor teams to co-create and share knowledge. A second major goal was to gain a better understanding of end-user information needs, preferred communication and search channels, and common challenges.

Our project is broken down into a series of “Work Packages” (WP), and here is what we’ve been able to achieve so far in this first project year.

WP1: This work package, which is now complete, focused on analysing all of the Horizon 2020 MAPs, starting with their individual websites. Based on this initial online analysis, we next selected some representative projects and people to interview to hear from them directly and learn more about what works and what doesn’t in carrying out their project.

WP2: This WP is centred around “getting to know the end user,” including their information needs and challenges. The WP2 team interacted closely with end users through a series of workshops, interviews and online surveys to learn about their needs. From the information and personal stories gathered, we were able to create a series of different ‘user personas’ that represent real farmers, advisors, and other potential users of the platform. To go further, a ‘user journey’ was created for each persona, describing the steps that people might take in solving problems and finding information in their day-to-day work. These personas and journeys will help later WP teams to create the best possible digital knowledge platform.

WP3: This work package serves as the bridge between WP1 and WP2. Data produced by MAPs were presented to 5 groups of potential end-users of the digital platform. Participants were invited to give their viewpoint on which data and knowledge/info should be presented, and how it should be presented so that it is most useful to them. A major deliverable of WP3 is our vision on the sustainability of data and knowledge

WP4: The core members of WP4 have spent the past two years working on a prototype for the digital platform in our ‘parent’ project, EURAKNOS, and therefore already have a strong foundation to build on in EUREKA, which will produce the workable version that people will be able to use.

WP5: Two comprehensive newsletters have so far been produced, which have helped to build up a community the EUREKA community. Two high quality and engaging animation movies have also been produced to communicate our efforts to end users and other MAPs across the EU: the first is available on our YouTube channel, and the second will be posted soon!

WP6: This WP represents the project coordination, which faced extra challenges due to the Covid-19 situation. All activities originally planned as physical meetings and events had to be switched into online mode, and while this was a big transition, we successfully managed to meet our main objectives in this first year of the project. A recent highlight was the meeting with the EUREKA “Knowledge Innovation Panel.” Panel members gave us very positive comments, as well as crucial constructive criticism and feedback, which empowers us to proceed with confidence and a boost of fresh motivation following a challenging first year.
Developing a digital interactive platform for storing information that is key for farmers, foresters and advisors can be compared to a combination of two worlds. On the one hand there exists the scientific dissemination in the format of scientific articles published in journals. These knowledge objects are static and are hardly used by the real end-users of EU agricultural projects, namely the farmers and the foresters. On the other hand, there exist in society social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. In these platforms, information is posted and can be commented on by followers. We observed that many of the knowledge objects, such as audiovisuals, fact sheets, infographics, and presentations produced by EU projects are not stored for a long term or even spread across EU.
With the development of the FarmBook we aim to combine both worlds, which is a major step beyond the state of the art of project dissemination. By providing trustworthy knowledge and providing the possibility to comment these knowledge objects we aim for a more sustainable agricultural project community.
A still from our first EUREKA project video