Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Networking European farms to boost thematic knowledge exchanges and close the innovation gap

Topic identifier: RUR-12-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
04 October 2016
Deadline: 14 February 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 11 January 2017 16:41

    As of 1st January 2017, Switzerland is associated to the whole Horizon 2020 programme instead of the previous partial association. More information on this matter can be found here.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Demonstration and pilot farms have a major role to play in peer-to-peer learning in the broader farming community and for the effective transfer of knowledge on practical farming approaches. They are also a perfect instrument for disseminating possible innovative approaches resulting from scientific work. In addition, demonstration on “real” farms allows actors to meet, network and exchange knowledge beyond the classical knowledge transfer activities. Existing demonstration farms or experimental farms in specific thematic areas need to be connected and networked within Europe so that they can do more with less. The financial crisis and the launch of the EIP "Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability"(EIP-AGRI)[1] raised awareness of the fact that farming infrastructure for demonstration purposes is costly and that thematic expertise should be shared within Europe. Beyond demonstration, thematic farm networks could develop increased interaction between science and practice, e.g. by for discussing research outputs, capturing research needs from practice, and providing a base to develop interactive innovation projects[2] responding to the needs or opportunities of the farming community. Connecting existing open-farm initiatives at local level with a view to better coordination is expected to generate 'EU added value'.


Projects should set up network activities between geo-referenced demonstration farms dealing with specific themes across Europe with a view to exploiting their potential to improve delivery of practice-oriented knowledge and enhance interactive activities. Projects should cover a wide range of themes to be chosen according to where most added value for the EU is to be expected, and should contribute to a more sustainable and resilient agriculture and forestry. The themes would cover both sectoral approaches (e.g. specific crops or livestock) and cross-sectoral themes, for instance specific farming systems, management of soils / nutrients / water / biodiversity / landscape / supply chains, resource efficiency, agro-ecology, precision farming, environmental/climate farming challenges, integrated pest management, animal welfare, effective, resilient and biosecure livestock systems, resilient cropping, energy production and management, speciality crops, biomass applications etc. As a minimum, 10 themes should be covered. Projects should organise knowledge exchange activities and provide for connection with, and structured output from, exemplary demonstration farms that appeals to the average farmer and can be shared across Europe, e.g. farm visits, visual material (photos, video etc), easy-to-read texts, etc. The project activities should ensure synergy and complementarity with the EIP-AGRI, by thematically showcasing and cross-fertilising innovative practices/methods, and by delivering related audio-visual material and practice abstracts in the common EIP-AGRI format for practitioners[3]. They should also seek to use and complement outputs from relevant European, national and regional projects or clusters around the chosen themes, e.g. Focus Groups[4], Operational Groups[5] and Thematic networks[6].

The demonstration networks should develop linkages with advisors and their activities. Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[7], involving a wide range of actors with practical experience, such as farmers/farmers' groups, advisors, innovation support services, researchers, Operational groups, EIP national/regional networks and enterprises, or other supply-chain actors where relevant. They should look for synergies with the inventory of demonstration farms and best demonstration approaches delivered under topic RUR-11-2016 and coordinate their strategy with the SCAR- AKIS Strategic Working Group. Activities and networks would extend for periods longer than four years where appropriately substantiated and organise synergies with activities and groups within the EIP-AGRI.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

This action should initiate structured networking activities between demonstration farms in a broad range of specific themes with a view to boosting innovation across Europe. The following impacts can be expected:

  • increased flow of practical information on specific themes between relevant geographical areas in Europe, exploiting possible complementarities with existing projects and networks;
  • a series of activities spreading thematic innovative knowledge, on which Operational Groups under rural development and the EU wide EIP-AGRI network can build;
  • support for the implementation of the EIP-AGRI, through a structured organisation of the flow of information on the specific themes between the relevant geographical areas, resulting in an increased networking and learning among open farms and farmers in Europe;
  • increased farmer-to-farmer learning and visibility of on-farm demonstrations on specific themes, helping to spread promising best practices and ensuring a timely uptake of research results by the farming community, and fuelling interactive innovation projects and approaches; and
  • a greater user acceptance of the shared information contributing to a more competitive, sustainable and climate-smart agriculture and forestry.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities


[2]For the interactive innovation model, see the introduction to this Work Programme.

[3]The common format for practitioners is available on

[4]See for the list of EIP Focus Groups

[5]See EIP website for the list of Operational groups

[6]See EIP website for the list of Horizon 2020 Thematic Networks

[7]See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
          For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

Coordination and supporting actions

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.


7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data

The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.
Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.
Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.
Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs.
Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement

Further information on the Open Research Data Pilot is made available in the H2020 Online Manual.


8.  Additional documents


Additional documents

  • H2020-RUR-2017-1-single stage flash call info en

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