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Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems Cofund

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CORE Organic Cofund (Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems Cofund)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-01-31

Organic agriculture is considered to be one of the important development pathways towards a more sustainable agriculture and food production. This development has been and will be dependent on continuous research and innovation. CORE Organic started in 2004 and has been evolving for more than a decade. CORE Organic Cofund aims to continue with the transnational research calls that support a focused and coordinated research and innovation effort covering the most important challenges along the organic value chains. The CORE Organic partners are working to increase innovation potential, knowledge accessibility, alignment of national research and international outreach in support of the ERA-NET’s objectives. The expected impacts are more developed more sustainable organic food systems including farming practices, processing and innovative value chains, aiming at fulfilment of the growing demand for organic products, support to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and organic farming regulations and subsequently supporting health, trade and job creation. Furthermore, the projects also contribute to the improvement of the general competitiveness of the European agriculture and present new and innovative solutions to environmentally friendly agriculture. Looking to the future, the CORE Organic Cofund aims to deliver results that can be used to develop the organic sector throughout Europe and the world, and to continue to be a key player in the European Research Area.
The new CORE Organic Cofund network was expanded with full partners from the Netherlands, Italy and Bulgaria totaling to 26 partners from 19 countries. The joint call with 4 topics covering: plant production systems, animal feed, livestock systems and organic food processing was launched on 6 December 2016 with co-funding from the European Commission. 21 funding parties from 18 European countries participated in the Cofunded Call. The initial call contribution ranged from 100,000 € to 1.6 million € per funding party and totalled to 13,6 million € of national/regional funds. 54 pre-proposals had been submitted by March 2017 (deadline). Out of 49 eligible pre-proposals, 33 were selected to enter the full proposal phase. The 33 pre-proposals together requested a total of 34.7 million Euros. 33 full proposals were submitted by July 2017 (deadline). Finally, in autum 2017, also thanks to new funding brought in by 4 partners, the Call Boards were able to select 12 projects requesting in total 15 million Euros. Signing of national contracts started in the winter of 2017/18. CORE Organic will closely monitor the funded projects and offer assistance regarding stakeholder involvement and dissemination in order to secure high impact of the research efforts. An impact assessment will be performed after the end of the projects. The consortium is planning a second call without EU co-funding for 2019. Other ERA-NETs with a similar scope, in particular ERA-NET SUSFOOD2, is considered as a potential partner for the second call. The overall objective for the Cofund call is that the proposed research projects support sustainable food systems approach and growth of the organic sector in Europe and beyond.
The Lund Declaration was reformulated in 2015 to point out possible next steps for European research and innovation aimed at finding powerful solutions to societal challenges today and in the future. The declaration pointed to the needs “to step-up efforts to align strategies, instruments, resources and actors at national and European level”, and to connect with partners in non-European countries. The objectives for the CO Cofund as outlined in the previous sections are significantly in line with the conclusions of the declaration. The public European research and development effort in organic food and farming is characterized by small research communities, often scattered and fragmented both geographically and institutionally. To increase the impact of the scattered national research, a joint effort is needed continuously for gathering the dispersed expertise into a critical mass, to maintain and increase the competitive quality and relevance of organic research. CO aims to improve the knowledge basis and innovation capacity necessary for supporting further development in the organic value chain. During the reporting period CORE Organic has contributed to the expected impacts set out in the ERA-NET Cofund Call for “ERA-NET Cofund: Public-Public Partnership in the bioeconomy” so far in relation to: 1) Improving coordination and reducing overlap between national and EU funding in relevant fields of research, 2) Achieving a critical mass and ensuring better use of limited resources in fields of mutual interests, 3) Sharing good practices in implementing research programmes, 4) Promoting transnational collaboration and new knowledge generation and innovation, and 5) Involving small and medium sized business in transnational projects to enhance innovation.
CORE Organic Cofund consortium