The past months of ARIMNet2 have been filled with joint actions, interactions and reflections, and the coming months are not less promising!
While the ten projects funded through the ARIMNet 2011 transnational call for research proposals have achieved very encouraging results, the ten projects supported via the ARIMNet2 2015 call have just started and will yield new knowledge and innovative tools contributing to a more productive, sustainable and resilient agriculture for the benefit of Mediterranean societies and ecosystems.
In April, the ARIMNet2 consortium launched a new call addressing two key topics: Promoting sustainable agriculture for socio-economic development; Valorising local products through food value chains improvement. Project proposals are currently under evaluation, and the projects that will be funded will start in 2017.
From 29 May to 3 June, 28 young researchers from 13 Mediterranean countries gathered at the Young Researchers Seminar hosted by CIHEAM-IAMM in Montpellier. They shared their knowledge and learnt from experienced project coordinators and experts how to engage stakeholders in agricultural research and innovation activities to address more effectively Mediterranean challenges related to food security, poverty alleviation and natural resource preservation. This fantastic experience did not only reinforce the network by boosting cooperation between researchers, but also yielded interesting conclusions on how to foster multi-stakeholder innovative research and support young researchers in their career and personal development.
On 12-13 October 2016 (Antalya, Turkey), we will hold a conference on Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in the Mediterranean, to encourage the dialogue and cooperation among a wide range of stakeholders, including innovative farmers, farmers’ organisations, extension services, researchers, agribusinesses, policy-makers, funding agencies, etc. We will explore three key topics: Governance of research and innovation in agriculture; Interactions between academics, farmers and agribusinesses; Valorisation of research in agriculture and interactive innovation models. We will inform the ongoing regional policy dialogue by proposing realistic scenarios enhancing the outcomes of Mediterranean agricultural research and innovation partnerships through joint activities translating RDI outputs into technologies, services and goods for addressing current and future societal challenges.
The ARIMNet2 community is growing and agricultural research and innovation cooperation in the Mediterranean is getting stronger and less fragmented, contributing to the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices, and to the development, prosperity and peace of the region.
Enjoy your reading and follow us on www.arimnet2.netand facebook! Florence Jacquet (ARIMNet2 Coordinator)
and Fabrice Gouriveau (Assistant coordinator)
ARIMNet2 General Meeting:
Outcomes of ARIMNet projects and presentation of freshly starting ARIMNet2 projects
This ARIMNet2 meeting (14-16 March 2016) was organised with the support of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and hosted by the University of Lisbon. It gathered around 60 participants, including researchers involved in ARIMNet-ARIMNet2 programmes and representatives of the Mediterranean partners and European Commission.
The coordinators of the 10 projects funded via the ARIMNet 2011 Call (APMed, ARIDWASTE, CLIMED, DoMEsTIc, MEDILEG, PESTOLIVE, PoH-MED, REFORMA, SAFEMED, SWIPE) presented their key findings on crop, legume and fruit production, sheep and goat husbandry, pest and disease control, soil and water conservation, waste valorisation and food safety regulations. The perspectives for future Mediterranean cooperation in the field of agricultural research and development were discussed.
Moreover, the objectives as well as scientific and social approaches of the 10 projects selected for funding through the ARIMNet2 2015 Call (AVIAMED, BacPlant, BEST, BrucMedNet, EMERAMB, MASCC, MedOOmics, ORPRAMed, SALTFREE, STomP) were introduced.
We had the opportunity to learn more from the European Commission about the PRIMA initiative (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) under development, which will open new opportunities for research and innovation cooperation in the Mediterranean.
The meeting consolidated and expanded the ARIMNet-ARIMNet2 community by strengthening the connections between researchers and funders and by opening new transnational cooperation opportunities.
The Young Researchers Seminar...
...An unforgettable gathering!
A Young Researchers Seminar (29 May - 3 June 2016) was organised by ARIMNet2 partners and hosted by CIHEAM-IAMM (Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier).
28 young researchers from 13 Mediterranean countries(Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey) spent a week together to learn and share their experience on how to involve stakeholders in agricultural and environmental research to boost innovation and address jointly current and future Mediterranean challenges.
The participants interacted with experienced project coordinators and researchers and discussed the terminology andefficient ways to effectively engage stakeholders in research activities so as to yield more practical and useful outcomes (e.g. by carefully planning their involvement from project design to implementation and monitoring, funding stakeholders’ involvement in project activities, building a cooperation framework based on respect, dialogue, trust and transparency, working in a long-term perspective to valorise and disseminate the findings and push innovations forwards).
As a practical experience, the participants had the chance to interact with a sheep breeder in the Cévennes National Park, discussing a local initiative dealing with the common use of private land by shepherds.
Interesting recommendations arose concerning the instruments that can support the leadership of young Mediterranean researchers in transnational innovative research projects:
Launching calls specifically addressed and adapted to young researchers, more specific “maturation calls” directed primarily towards RDI and extension teams and dedicated to bridge the “innovation valley of death”, and calls supporting longer-term as well as valorisation and capitalisation activities;
Simplifying and harmonising project management procedures across Mediterranean countries;
Supporting long-term networking activities between researchers from different disciplines and a wide range of non-research stakeholders to strengthen and expand the Mediterranean agricultural RDI community;
Promoting public-public and public-private partnerships and interactions between businesses to boost RDI and mobilise funding;
Ensuring training of young researchers in project design, write-up and management, participatory approaches, innovation aspects, research dissemination, data analysis, etc., to improve their skills, open their minds and give them the tools to develop competitive projects able to yield useful and impacting outcomes at the farm and Mediterranean scales.
For more information on the Young Researchers Seminar (programme, oral presentations, conclusions, photos, etc.) and to access the interviews made to the participants (YOUTUBE), visit our website at www.arimnet2.net (News & Events; Young Researchers Seminar)
We acknowledge the support of all the colleagues who took part in the conception and implementation of this joint event and contributed to its success.
Perspective of a project coordinator on stakeholder engagement and innovation promotion in agricultural research
Didier Andrivon - PoH-MED coordinator
The topic addressed during the seminar undoubtedly raised the interest of the young researchers, as evidence by the number of questions they prepared prior to our discussion to deepen their knowledge of the PoH-MED project.
About half of the questions were related to the “innovation” side of the topic. Many of the young scientists touched upon the limitations of short-term research projects, competence aggregation within consortia, etc. Most of them seemed surprised that research projects do not usually (and even should not) end up with innovations (i.e. market-ready technologies or products), and wondered whether this is not due simply to projects’ strategies starting exclusively from knowledge acquisition and then going up the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) ladder (and stopping early in this climb). In my view, the problem lies elsewhere, notably in the competences and activities split between research, technological development/maturation and business development teams, but the exchange on this point was very lively and useful. Another set of questions tackled the problem consisting in meeting the request for innovation often expressed in the calls for research proposals, while being aware that the projects cannot achieve actual innovation but at best only inventions. This yielded another set of good exchanges as to the strategies (or lack thereof) of the funding bodies and the way to address them adequately when answering the calls.
The other half of the questions dealt with the “stakeholders” side of the issue. Many young scientists thought immediately of the growers as the stakeholders in the PoH-MED project, before realising that this group was much more diverse than just the growers. The main suggestion to me was to interact more with “end users” to refine and target our research objectives, a good idea indeed, even though it does not prevent the research team from formulating the relevant research questions, and from ensuring that the innovation chain is in place.
A suggestion to ARIMNet / ARIMNet2 partners that arose from the discussions was to open two types of calls within these ERA-NETs, i.e. the standard “research calls”, as they exist now, but also specific “maturation calls” dedicated to bridge the “innovation valley of death” and which could be directed primarily towards R&D and extension teams (in tight connection with research teams), with the aim to bring inventions with innovation potential one or two steps further up the TRL ladder and thus make them attractive to the industry. This supposes that Intellectual Property (IP) issues are covered before the projects start, and that strong guidelines for implementation and exploitation of “mature inventions” are established beforehand. However, I feel this would expand the ARIMNet2 community outside its current boundaries, and would favour a higher rate of innovations effective in practice.
To access the perspectives from other project coordinators, visit www.arimnet2.net (News & Events; Young Researchers Seminar)
Perspective of a young researcher on stakeholder engagement and innovation promotion in agricultural research
Ece Aksoy, Spain
The ARIMNet2 Young Researchers Seminar was a very important initiative for the success of collaborative studies and projects in Mediterranean countries; this experience in Montpellier can indeed be understood as a first step to strengthen the network and friendship between the partners/stakeholders/scientists of the programme. Similarly, the key issue of stakeholders’ engagement in research has been addressed, underlining the importance for them to feel part of the project, believe in it and especially on its expected outputs/outcomes. Discussions helped us to experience the possible issues which might be showing up when working with multiple partners and stakeholders, and the complexity that working with different disciplines, cultures and needs actually implies. The seminar was also very helpful to understand better the different problems faced in the north and south of the Mediterranean, and consequently to define more precisely research and innovation priorities and topics. The knowledge and experience of the researchers from the southern Mediterranean are very relevant for those of the northern countries because of the rapidly changing dynamics in the interactions between agriculture, land and climate; indeed, the challenges that the researchers from the south are already facing and addressing could be the future problems of northern Mediterranean and even European countries. Therefore, working collaboratively by embracing the differences in regional dynamics is already an innovation in itself. As young Mediterranean researchers, besides the need for more abundant and accessible research funding opportunities, we must be given the opportunity to build and keep alive stronger transnational networks, for example by taking part to this kind of interactive seminar and other networking activities. We also must beneficiate from capacity-building activities on state-of-the-art technologies and methodological approaches, to update, enrich and improve our knowledge/expertise of Mediterranean agro-socio-ecosystems, and to find relevant solutions to real life problems.
To access the perspectives from other young researchers, visit www.arimnet2.net(News & Events; Young Researchers Seminar)
Launching of 10 Mediterranean research projects funded through the ARIMNet2 2015 Call
Atransnational call for research proposalswas launched in 2014-2015, mobilising EUR 7.2 million and addressing three topics: Developing sustainable production in the context of increasing ecological & climatic stresses; Enhancing the advantages of Mediterranean agriculture and food; Sustainable management of landscape and resources used by agriculture.
Ten transnational projects were selected for funding and will run between 2016 and 2020:
For more information on these projects, visit www.arimnet2.net(Research projects, Projects 2015 Call) or contact their coordinators.
The ARIMNet2 2016 Transnational Call for Research Proposals...
...A new successful cross-border research funding initiative!
The ARIMNet2 consortium launched a transnational call for research proposalsin April 2016, mobilising around EUR 6 million from 14 Mediterranean countries.
This call supports integrated and trans-disciplinary research projects aimed at producing innovations for enhancing the contribution of agricultural and food systems to sustainable social and economic development.
The call addressed two main topics:
* Topic 1: Promoting sustainable agriculture for socio-economic development.
* Topic 2: Valorising local products through food value chains improvement.
The projects submitted are being evaluated by a carefully selected panel of experts. Those that will be approved for funding will start in 2017.
The ARIMNet2 Integrated Strategic Research Agenda (ISRA)...
...A product of collective thinking!
The Integrated Strategic Research Agenda (ISRA), born from a joint effort between ARIMNet2 partners, will be made public within the coming weeks. It constitutes the basis of a common vision on the challenges and priorities for agricultural research in the Mediterranean area. Its main objective is to build a roadmap for joint actions in the framework of ARIMNet2, to tackle the food security, poverty alleviation and natural resources preservation nexus.
The ISRA underlines the key priorities for EU and Mediterranean countries in the field of Mediterranean agriculture, explains the scientific strategic priorities shared by ARIMNet2 partners, and presents the methods used to implement and review it effectively. It explores the ways to reinforce research activities, to share research infrastructures and platforms, and to foster knowledge exchange and capacity building.
The ISRA builds upon complementarities and synergies with European Initiatives on Agricultural Research (in particular the FACCE-JPI Action) as well as Mediterranean initiatives (notably ERANETMED), creating the premise for wide cooperation in future initiatives.
Several sessions covered all key aspects addressed by the project:
Session 1 – Synthesis of the project's activities, main results and perspectives of valorisation of the findings; Session 2 – Public food safety policies and response from private stakeholders; Session 3 – Consumption aspects; Session 4 – South domestic markets: Public regulation, private strategies; Session 5 – South domestic markets: The case of the date sector.
12-13 October 2016 - International Conference on Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in the Mediterranean (Antalya, Turkey)
This conference will boost interaction, discussion and creative thinking among a wide range of stakeholders from the Mediterranean concerned by the development and implementation of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS), including farmers and farming organisations, public and private agricultural extension and technology transfer services, agro-industries, researchers, academics, policy-makers, members of the SCAR AKIS CWG, Mediterranean STI cooperation projects, R&I funding bodies, international organisations, local authorities and NGOs.
The conference will address three major topics:
Governance of research and innovation in agriculture.
Interactions between academics, farmers and their organisations, and agribusinesses.
Valorisation of research in agriculture and interactive innovation models.
The conference will propose:
Keynote speeches on knowledge-based innovation for addressing global challenges.
Examples of good practices for fostering innovation, based on the lessons learnt from ARIMNet and ARIMNet2 projects.
Parallel workshops on issues related to:
Platform / cluster between firms and academia: Interest in developing platforms for innovation / clusters between the academia and industry.
Extension services and interactive innovation models: How to improve the efficiency of agricultural extension services by enhancing their interaction with research institutions and other knowledge centres (e.g. creating operational groups gathering farmers, advisors, researchers, etc.).
Innovation potential of the projects: How to better valorise research results and how to evaluate, predict and increase the innovation potential of research projects?How to improve their sustainability and durability?
Presentation and panel discussion on the outcomes of the workshops.
Through this multi-stakeholder regional conference, we aim at:
Encouraging the exchange of opinions and mutual learning.
Formulating evidence-based good practices in agricultural innovation processes and policies.
Fostering exchanges and networking between Euro-Mediterranean research and innovation actors.
This conference will contribute to:
Improved mutual understanding of the perceptions, roles and success factors of agricultural innovation policies in the Mediterranean region.
Scenarios for enhancing the outcomes of Mediterranean Agricultural Research & Innovation partnerships through joint activities translating R&I outputs into technologies, services and goods for addressing global societal challenges.
Recommendations on Mediterranean Research and Innovation cooperation partnerships to inform the ongoing regional policy dialogue.
ARIMNet2 (Coordination of Agricultural Research in the Mediterranean)
ARIMNet2 is an ERA-Net supported and funded by the European Union through the FP7, running from 2014 to 2017; it is the second phase of ARIMNet (2008-2013).
Network: 24 national funding agencies and research institutions from 15 countries: 9 EU Member States, 3 Associated Countries and 3 Mediterranean Partner Countries.
Main aims: Promoting the coordination of national research programmes and building joint initiatives to fight fragmentation & exploit synergies in the Mediterranean.
Main activities:Preparing an Integrated Scientific Research Agenda (ISRA), funding innovative Mediterranean research through transnational calls, and organising joint networking and brainstorming activities such as seminars and training for young researchers, conferences, etc.
ARIMNet (2008-2013) and ARIMNet2 (2014-2017) are ERA-NETs coordinated by INRA (France).
They have received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreements no. 219262 (ARIMNet) and no. 618127 (ARIMNet2)