Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SheepNet (Sharing Expertise and Experience towards sheep Productivity through NETworking)
Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31
• produce a scientific, technical and practical knowledge reservoir through a combined ""top-down and bottom-up"" approach and the involvement of 45 innovative farms to demonstrate best practice;
• foster cross-fertilization of ideas through multi-actor workshops at national and international levels, and a broad and interactive participation of the ""sheep community"" in developing solutions and discussion via social networks;
• develop an easily understandable support package of communication and learning material, web-based tools, an interactive platform, and strong interactions with the EIP AGRI Service Point to guarantee long-lasting and wide accessibility of the SheepNet results.
To achieve these aims SheepNet is organised around one network facilitator (NF) in each partner country. Each NF leads the implementation of SheepNet tasks in their own country with the support of a Scientific and Technical Working Group (STWG) and a Sheep-AKIS composed of stakeholders (see Figure “Sheepnet Organization”). The involvement of stakeholders in the Sheep-AKIS is based on existing networks such as Operational Groups, breed societies, levy boards and other networks. Integration of these different networks at an EU level is achieved by translation of materials between the different countries and direct and facilitated communication and visits between all members of the Sheep-AKIS at international meetings.
The success of SheepNet lies in active participation of stakeholders, and that each country performs each task in the same way and at the same time. SheepNet is organised with a clear schedule of tasks and meetings at national and EU level to facilitate this.
SheepNet has also developed a Sheep Community Platform (www.sheepnet.network) where all the information gathered in the course of the project is disseminated in 6 languages, a YouTube channel (SheepNet EU) and a Facebook site (@SheepNetEU), and a Twitter account (@SheepNetEU), and a group in Linkedin (Sheepnet). In addition, communication has been achieved via newsletters, press releases and presentations at national sheep events (167 actions).
Having invested time and energy in ensuring the network established in the project is functioning well we are now in an excellent position to maximise the potential of the network, and to expand it to other countries and regions who are now aware of this work (e.g. the participation of delegates from Hungary, Portugal and Germany who have attended meetings at their own expense and are voluntarily running similar workshops and data collection as the SheepNet participants; established excellent connections with iSAGE, and with researchers in New Zealand and Australia ; interest in developments from scientists in Canada and Brazil). In addition, we have learned from our stakeholders about their perception of the difficulties faced by the industry, and where they most require further information. Further, we are also now aware of their preferred formats for delivery of this information which will inform communication strategies for the remainder of the project.