Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AGRISPIN Report Summary

Project ID: 652642
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AGRISPIN (Space for Agricultural Innovation)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The project name reflects the overall aim of this project: to strengthen support systems in creating space for innovative farmers. There is an EU-wide strategic orientation in policies towards an economic growth that relies on innovation, sustainability and smart knowledge systems. However, innovations are only successful when they have reached a broader acceptance within a social system. The European Innovation Partnership program aims to bridge the perceived gap between research and practice by stimulating multi actor processes from which relevant innovations might emerge. However, little was known about the role of intermediate innovation support agencies in EU rural regions. What do such agencies actually do for supporting innovations at farm level? And what can they do to improve their services?

Innovators encounter a wide range of barriers:
• Structural barriers
• Weak links between researchers and practitioners
• Advisors who tend to avoid risky activities
• Lack of support from the environment

We found good examples of how to overcome the barriers: engaged people, strong networks and an understanding of the innovation process. It appeared to be helpful to have insights on how to support and facilitate actions in the phases of the innovation process.

AgriSpin worked towards the objectives below:

Identifying, examining, and cross comparing best-fit practices on innovation support services across Europe.
AgriSpin delivered a list of tools and reports ready for all interested parties. The results reflect the multi actor approach of the project: from theoretical insights and knowledge to practical guidelines for working with innovative farmers.

Analysing and better understanding the role of innovation intermediaries and support services.
In all cases the innovation intermediaries and support services played an important role. One of the important steps towards improvement is to be aware of the role support agents play and the process they are part of.

Creating and strengthening effective networks among AKIS stakeholders at European level
AgriSpin has experienced the value of networks. A strong consortium with many different partners created the basis for substantial interaction with the stakeholders. Reports give our suggestions for keeping the experiences and knowledge from AgriSpin alive and evolving. In WP4 efforts were made to bring the results from AgriSpin on to the managing authorities and policy makers.

Facilitating a cross-learning process towards supporting innovation processes, scaling up identified best–fit practices and strengthening the innovation capacities of the stakeholders.
The concrete tools of AgriSpin provide help and inspiration for innovation support services for improving their practices. Furthermore, these tools found their way in a newly added module in the CECRA certification program for farm advisors.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The AgriSpin project provides substantial material for all stakeholders to benefit from.

The WP1 provided the project with a scientific basis to start with. The starting point was to create a baseline of perceptions and assumptions about innovation, and the partners has written stories with examples of innovation processes and the role of ISS. An overview of theories and concepts and an analytical framework was made as theoretical point of departure. Furthermore WP1 provided a methodological guide for documentation and selection of AgriSpin innovation cases and a report on typology of innovation support services with the aim of making it easier to characterize innovation support services.

In the WP2 the overall activity has been the cross visits. From the WP2 we have the following results:
• Cross visit reporta contains specific recommendations and futhermore general reports with cross cutting findings.
• Action Plans that has been a tool for the partners in the dissemination process.
• Methodological Approach - the Cross Visit Manual.
• Support Network. During intensive contacts generated by the cross visits it has become easy to connect. This has already led to several activities beyond the work of the AgriSpin project
• Support other Partners. The cross visit approach should become interesting enough for partners who are not yet connected to invite AgriSpin partners for providing support. We have interacted with a wide range of Networks in Europe during the Project period and this will continue after the project has ended.

The WP3 contribution to the impact is
• New insights from the key actors in an innovation practice or support service on approaches and methods used.
• New insights on why certain methods work presented as with best fit practices and supplemented by videos and practice abstracts for the EIP-website.

The WP4 contribution is the recommendations from the Advisory Board to the project, and prototype of support scheme under the Rural Development Program. A part of the WP is also a training tool kit for advisors in innovation support service.

The WP5 ensured dissemination of information, results and findings to external partners and stakeholders. A website is established, as well as social media channels. At the end of each cross visit there has been a seminar for interested stakeholders to enable them to benefit from the early results from the actual and the previous cross visits. Regional seminars in each country contributed to the impact and proved useful for the local actors.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The findings and learnings from the AgriSpin project is being used and will be used not only by the partners organisations but in the larger AKIS network in Europe. Many stakeholders have been in contact with the project during the project period: In 13 cross visits app. 370 stakeholders were involved. Public seminars at each cross visit reached 300-350 people. More than 1.000 stakeholders participated in the region-al/national seminars and 50 people form 18 countries participated at the End Seminar in Crete. The partners have engaged in many different context (workshops, seminars, conferences, meetings, social media, articles, newsletters) and spread the messages from AgriSpin to a broad range of stakeholders.
The direct impact of AgriSpin can be summarized as:
• Cross visits as a method are now being applied by many AgriSpin partners and beyond, and feature in several new project proposals.
• Tools, developed during the cross visits, are being used. Focussed observations with observation cards, feedback sessions with key actors and appreciative feed-back with ‘Pearls, Puzzles and Proposals’ are useful tools.
• The Innovation Spiral created new insights about the nature of innovation processes and the role of innovation support agents.
• AgriSpin has influenced the way in which the partners as innovation support agencies look upon their role in the AKIS.
• A training module on innovation management, based on AgriSpin methods and tools, has become part of CECRA.
• Several AgriSpin partners collaborate further with the potential to carry on with the work of AgriSpin.
• Several cross visits had a direct impact on local activities
• AgriSpin has captured attention in a wider public, among scientists and policy makers

The core target groups are well represented in the project consortium, providing direct access to a mem-bership of several 100.000 farmers / farmers unions, farm advisors, innovation facilitators throughout Eu-rope across all sectors of agriculture.

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