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Agricultural research and innovation

Agricultural research and innovation

Research and innovation
Agricultural research and innovation

Farmers, foresters, food and bio-based industries need new knowledge and innovation to face future challenges.


Knowledge and the CAP

The EU pursues 3 objectives through its common agricultural policy (CAP):

  • securing viable food production 
  • ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and climate action
  • contributing to a balanced territorial development.

The objectives involve creating, sharing and implementing new knowledge, new technologies, new products and new ways to organise, learn and cooperate.

Long-term strategy

In July 2016, the European Commission has published a paper on a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation. Over 600 experts contributed to the paper through workshops, consultations and events.

The paper outlines the:

  • need for a strategy for agricultural research and innovation to tackle the challenges facing agriculture, rural communities and our society at large
  • 5 priority areas identified as critical to achieve sustainable food security, growth and prosperity in rural areas as well as resilience to climate change
  • cross-cutting issues that need to be addressed such as systems approaches, digital transformation or socio-economic research
  • implementation strategy through co-operation between EU countries, international partners and the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI)

Related information: Strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation (final paper)


The EU finances research and innovation mainly through

  • Horizon 2020 (research & innovation)
  • rural development policy (innovation)

The EU allocated an unprecedented budget of nearly €4 billion to Horizon 2020's Societal Challenge 2 'Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy'. Out of these, around €1,8 billion are of direct interest to agriculture, forestry and rural development. Aside from Societal challenge 2, several parts of Horizon 2020 are of interest to agriculture, forestry and the agri-food chain.

In synergy, the EU has set ' Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas' as the first priority for rural development policy 2014-20, with the EIP-AGRI as a main feature. Rural development programmes will finance agricultural and forestry innovation through several measures which can support creation of EIP operational groups, innovation services, investments or other approaches.

Funding instruments


The EU aims to ensure that research activities respond to ground-level needs and that solutions created are taken up by farmers and foresters.  For that reason, the EU created the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI).  

The EIP-AGRI brings together farmers, advisors, researchers, agribusinesses, NGOs and other actors as partners in agricultural and forestry innovation.