European Innovation Partnership - 2nd High Level Steering Board reaches agreement on Strategic Implementing Plan
The 2nd meeting of the High Level Steering Board (HLSB) of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) "Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability" has taken place in Brussels today (Thursday July 11).
In the presence of Commissioners Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture) and Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research), the meeting brought together a wide range of interested parties, from senior government officials to academics, from representatives of environmental NGOs to organisations representing all elements of the food production chain – seeds, inputs, farmers, and food industry.
Following some important preparatory work by a group of Sherpas, today’s meeting has been able to agree and adopt the Strategic Implementing Plan (SIP) for the agricultural EIP. In other words, all sides have agreed on the importance of addressing the fundamental challenge of improving our productivity in a sustainable way.
The SIP highlights the central role that innovation will play, and the importance of mobilising actors across the whole supply chain and in the scientific community to join efforts for developing innovative solutions and research results ready for application.
The SIP concludes that the EIP will only be a success if all stakeholders act together and share their ideas and experiences on innovation. Accordingly, emphasis must be given to facilitating knowledge exchange and a working flow of information at all geographical levels and in different working contexts.
Commissioner Cioloș stated: "I am particularly pleased that we have found consensus in the High Level Steering Board today. Given the range of views around the table, this highlights just how serious the challenge is, and the importance of pooling knowledge and resources in order to address the situation. For me, this is a great example of the European added value that the EU can provide, and we must now encourage all Member States and regions to put the European Innovation Partnership at the centre of their Rural Development programmes for 2014-2020. Similarly, we must encourage stakeholders to mobilise interest in the opportunities provided under the Horizon 2020 programme."
Key facts on the EIP
- Global demand for agricultural products will increase significantly over the years to come. EU agriculture will take an important role in this respect.
- In the past, EU agriculture achieved productivity gains of 20% within a decade. However, this happened partly at the expense of the environment, and productivity growth has slowed down as given technologies and resource availability reached certain limits.
- The challenge for EU agriculture is to re-gain momentum and to be able to produce more and better from less. In order to do this, major investments into research and innovation are needed.
- The European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture (EIP) will work as a catalyst to make sure that research results are more systematically transformed and adapted to the needs of farming practice, taking into account the diversity of structures and natural conditions. It will interlink innovation actors, including farmers, advisors, agri-business, researchers, and civil society.
- The EIP will be implemented through Rural Development programmes, notably the setting up of so-called "operational groups" and the funding of their projects. Furthermore, practice-oriented research projects will be funded through Horizon 2020.
- In order to facilitate the flow of information and foster the exchange of knowledge and experience concerning innovative approaches, a dedicated EIP network has been created.