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PLATFORM2 Report Summary

Project ID: 652635
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PLATFORM2 (Platform of bioeconomy ERA-NET Actions)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

PLATFORM brings together European Research Area Networks (ERA-NETs) and other relevant public-to-public (P2P) partnerships in the area of the bioeconomy: food, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, forestry, climate, biodiversity and biotechnologies. PLATFORM is the forum for funders and programme managers and plays a central role in facilitating and improving the coherence between the P2P partnerships active in the bioeconomy. The current network under H2020 continues and expands the work of FP7 PLATFORM (2012-2014) with the following objectives: to further increase collaboration among actors, to foster inclusiveness, to increase capacities for efficient and effective ERA-NETs, and to inform research policy making.
More than 30 ERA-NETs have been set-up in the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes on a wide range of scientific subjects and disciplines relevant to the bioeconomy. The first ERA-NET Cofund actions under H2020 have just started. Under FP7 the PLATFORM project brought together key actors of all relevant ERA-NETs in the areas of food, agriculture, forestry, marine, aquaculture, biodiversity and biotechnologies with the aim to improve exchange and cooperation and to strengthen the impact of ERA-NETs on the European Research Area and the European bioeconomy. PLATFORM H2020 builds on the results of the FP7 PLATFORM. The network of actors from ERA-NETs, Cofunds, and Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) is being further expanded, as well as the interactions with e.g. the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research Working Groups (SCAR WGs), the European Commission (EC), the European Innovation Partnership Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) and Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU). The initiatives undertaken over the last years for mutual learning and capacity building are being strengthened. PLATFORM H2020 is capitalizing on coordination among networks to rationalize on limited resources for maximal impact and on informing policy makers. Flexibility to address relevant developments and to engage in interaction and dialogue is being kept.
The PLATFORM H2020 projects strategic objective of the platform is to increase coordination and maximise synergies in the area of bioeconomy and targets the following goals:
• To extend and consolidate the learning platform developed under the FP7 project PLATFORM in order to improve implementation of ERA-NETs in the area of the bioeconomy.
• To provide expert policy advice on ERA-NETs for European policy makers in the area of research and innovation in bioeconomy such as SCAR, GPC and European Commission. Policy advise will include emerging cooperation needs, inclusiveness of ERA-NETs and alignment of research programming.
• To strengthen and expand the network of ERA-NETs in the bioeconomy by organising inspiring and animated meetings specifically tailored to the needs of ERA-NET managers and policy makers responsible for research programming.
• To develop an online database in order to make information and data analyses more accessible for the ERA-NET actors and environment.

PLATFORM activities and products:
• Annual events where network actors and other stakeholders discuss emerging cooperation needs, opportunities and tools and the impact of alignment. Inspiring, open and interactive!
• A World Café workshop for programme owners and managers. As Horizon 2020 profoundly changed the conditions for member states’ coordination activities, this workshop held immediately after the PLATFORM project kick off, focused on new, sustainable models for cooperation between public research programmes.
• Workshop on monitoring impact to serve the ERA-NET actors with knowledge on the methods and outcomes of evaluating ERA‐NET calls and other activities.
• Master classes on implementing Cofund calls to share knowledge, ideas and first experiences on Cofund management; evaluating how the instrument works in practice in the setting of public-public collaborations.
• Master class on inclusiveness providing research authorities from so-called ‘low performing’ countries with training and guidance on how to be actively involved.
• Website and newsletter provide information about the project, event announcements, news on ERA-NETs and their calls, RSS feeds and calendars.
• PLATFORM DB, a repository of data on ERA-NETs, calls, and the transnational research projects. The data compilation and analysis allow easy access to currently scattered information for informed decision making.
• Inventory of alignment actions by surveys of country involvement and activities of networks that align bioeconomy programming, funding, and the performance of research and innovation.
• Policy briefs based on analyses of ongoing coordination and alignment, and further collaboration needs in the area of bioeconomy: examples of good practice, recommendations for alignment activities and contributions to evolvement of the ERA instruments

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

FP7 PLATFORM organised inspiring annual events, dedicated workshops, a master class for call managers, fruitful two-way interaction with the EC, the EIP-AGRI and with the BBI-JU, and produced a comprehensive book about the bioeconomy ERA-NETs and their activities. Surveys, analysis and events also engaged ERA-NETs from neighbouring themes with bioeconomy relevance, JPI Oceans and JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI), SCAR WGs, and self-sustained ERA-NETs. As one result of this broad outreach, a comprehensive book about the bioeconomy ERA-NETs and their activities is available and gives a full overview of all joint calls including data on the funded research projects.
PLATFORM H2020 builds on these activities and further strengthens mutual learning, maximise synergies and increase coordination. PLATFORM H2020 expands the network to new ERA-NET actions (Cofund), to more JPIs and stronger interaction with SCAR. On the website, a searchable database on bioeconomy P2Ps, joint calls and funded research projects has been constructed, PLATFORM DB, including statistics, and impact assessments are on its way, such as on funding leverage. A World Café workshop (27 March 2015, Schiphol, The Netherlands) was held to ponder new, sustainable and alternative models for cooperation between public research programmes. The series of Annual Events is continuing and enables actors to discuss emerging cooperation needs, opportunities and tools. The theme of the Annual Event 2015, held 10-11 September in Berlin, was ‘ERA-NETs for Impact and Global Cooperation’. Two networks ERA-MBT and Joint EIARD SCAR Strategic Working Group - ARCH organised their meetings back-to-back with PLATFORM.
PLATFORM H2020 fosters inclusiveness in all its work, in particular by the Master Class directed at new Member States, which was held 10-11 May 2016, and sessions at the Annual Events on improving both involvement and performance. Capacities are increased by sharing experience and by way of master classes on planning and managing (Cofund) calls (held 25-26 June 2015, Brussels, Belgium), as well as through evaluation and monitoring of ERA-NETs (to be scheduled for May ). The reflections and recommendations are summarised in policy briefs. So far two policy briefs have been published. Policy Brief No. 1 The future of cooperation and collaboration in public-public partnerships between Member States – 'Think Back, Act Forward' and Policy Brief No. 2 Co-creation of a Global Bioeconomy.

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)

PLATFORM H2020 contributes to the European Research Area with impact on two cross-cutting dimensions. PLATFORM H2020 aims to increase interaction and coherence between bioeconomy coordination initiatives (the ‘what’; thematic dimension) and achieve a more effective and harmonised environment for the ERA-NET implementation (the ‘how’; operational dimension).
1. Contribution to European Research Area in the Bioeconomy
Strategic Programming in ERA-NETs and in JPIs in the areas of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and bio-bases industries – the sectors that make up the bioeconomy is one of the strongest in Europe in terms of national research programme coordination. PLATFORM H2020 consolidates a robust network of Member States coordination activities aimed at increasing collaboration between funders and programme managers on key-research areas.
Inclusiveness. PLATFORM H2020 aims for a more inclusive European Research Area in bioeconomy. One project participant is from an EU13 country and three are coordinators of ERA-NETs that make specific efforts on involving new Member States. Two members of the Expert Advisory Group are from an EU13 country. The project hosted a Master Class on participation of EU13 countries in ERA-NETs.
Alignment. PLATFORM H2020 aims for a better alignment of ERA-NETs and national research programmes within the bioeconomy. The project coordinator is involved in alignment approached and activities in FACCE JPI, one project participant is working on evaluation of alignment in JPI, ERA-NET and Cofund actions, others are involved in alignment in their respective networks and organisations. The project will make an inventory of hurdles for alignment of ERA-NET activities with national programmes. Based on this inventory PLATFORM H2020 will develop policy recommendations to improve alignment and multilateral collaboration in the bioeconomy. Furthermore special attention is given to alignment at the annual PLATFORM events.
Transparency. PLATFORM H2020 aims for more transparency in the European Research Area in biobased economy. To date the projects funded through ERA-NETs are difficult to find. In FP7 PLATFORM a vademecum was published of all active ERA-NETs in the bioeconomy. PLATFORM H2020 built on this work and developed a searchable database of projects funded through bioeconomy ERA-NETs and other relevant P2P partnerships. Access to the database will be free and open to anyone with an interest in European research and innovation. This database will become a valuable tool for programme managers to search ongoing research and innovation project and coordinate European efforts for a more efficient working European Research Area.
2. Effective implementation of ERA-NETs
Good practices. PLATFORM H2020 aims for efficient and effective implementation of coordination activities. Expertise from key actors from ERA-LEARN and JPIs To Co-Work are brought in through two members of the Expert Advisory Group. The members of the project team are themselves experienced ERA-NET managers which brings a vast amount of experience-based insight gained through their years of international P2P involvement. PLATFORM H2020 is organising several mutual learning activities aimed at programme managers of ERA-NETs. The activities add to the collective knowledge of the actors. The participants of the master classes and workshops may act as ambassadors, adding to further outreach.
Monitoring impact indicators. PLATFORM H2020 aims for a robust framework for monitoring performance and evaluating impact of P2P coordination actions in the bioeconomy. Having impact information available will support decision makers and will guide the design of networks and joint actions. Activities and actors involved are will be well-placed to serve the community and environment with knowledge on the methods and outcomes of monitoring and evaluating the ERA-NET impacts.
Rationalisation. PLATFORM H2020 aims to rationalise on the use of limited resources. This is an overarching objective of the ERA-NET scheme and an important argument for countries to be involved in the ERA networks. PLATFORM H2020 targets rationalisation through the interactions between actors, dissemination of the inventory results, expert policy advice in dialogues and the policy briefs. More specifically with regard to meetings and surveys, a World Café workshop for structured deliberation on coordination was organised. An inventory will be compiled of alignment actions and options, by contacting network coordinators, and organises discussions at the Annual Event about rationale and opportunities, thus addressing the issue of rationalisation actively and inclusively.
Coordination. PLATFORM H2020 aims for increased coordination in bioeconomy research and innovation. The project will perform gap analysis and identify coordination needs and opportunities. This includes interdisciplinary collaboration, opportunities for collaboration between initiatives that address subsequent steps of the same value-chain (e.g. production, processing and retailing food), and coordination among initiatives addressing a common societal challenge, e.g. food security. Coordination with users-led innovation such as addressed by the EIP-Agri is also relevant for quite a few of the bioeconomy ERA-NETs. Yet another aspect of coordination is with regions beyond Europe. One Advisory Group members will be an expert on coordinating co-creation of knowledge involving end users. Some members of the project team have experience with coordination with another ERA-NET to develop joint calls that address a theme that is in the middle of the scope of the two networks. Some ERA-NETs are linked closely in theme with the BBI-JU. A large network with European and African partners has embarked in the IntensAfrica initiative, building on an ERA-NET. The project invites speakers from these and other initiatives that involve coordination between one thematic network with another, or one regional network that extends collaboration, or one discipline-focussed network that works across sectors in addressing jointly a societal challenge.

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