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European Partnership on Accelerating Farming Systems Transition - AGROECOLOGY

Funding:Horizon Europe, European Commission

Type of Action: Co-fund between European Commission and EU Member States, Associated countries and third countries. The Hungarian national contribution is provided by the National Research, Innovation and Development Office (NKFIH).

Coordinator: Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany)

Consortium partners: The partnership is comprised of 69 partners from 26 European and associated countries (21 EU Member States + Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Serbia and Iceland).

Duration: January 2024 – December 2031

European Partnership on Accelerating Farming Systems Transition - Agroecology Living Labs and Research Infrastructures

Current agricultural production systems benefit from several decades of scientific and technological innovation, which have contributed to ensuring food security in Europe. This has come though at the cost of a series of environmental, socio-economic and cultural degradations, intensification of agricultural systems and land use that have adverse impacts on the environment and the preservation of natural resources. Furthermore, farmers are increasingly confronted with the consequences of climate change and more frequent extreme climate events and must adapt to their diverse effects. There is increasing recognition that a major change is needed that would make the European agricultural sector more sustainable, resilient and responsive to societal and policy demands.

The assumption of this partnership is that we can address challenges faced by the European agricultural sector through agroecology (AE), which is an approach that builds on natural, biological interactions while using state-of-the-art science and technology, and innovation based on farmers’ knowledge and tested best practices. Therefore, AGROECOLOGY envisages to unlock the transition to agroecology so that farming systems are resilient, productive and prosperous, place-sensitive, as well as climate, environment, ecosystem, biodiversity and people-friendly by 2050 through capitalising on participatory research approaches such as living labs and research infrastructures.

Real testing and experimental environments, living laboratories, are suitable tools for accelerating the agroecological transition, while research infrastructures also contribute to the availability of scientific knowledge related to agroecology. Together, these tools enable ambitious experimentation at different scales, bringing together science and practice to provide science-based evidence of the impact of new approaches and accelerate the agroecological transition. The partnership combines the resources of the EU and the concerned states to finance high-level research that creates appropriate knowledge and technologies in line with the basic themes described in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, while carrying out a series of supporting activities, including the launch and evaluation of transnational research calls, awareness-raising, knowledge sharing and consultations.

Objectives of the partnership:

  1. Increase research-based knowledge on the benefits and challenges of agroecology and its potential for farming, food, climate, ecosystem services and environmental impacts reduction as well as resource use and societal impacts.

  2. Develop and co-create innovations to reduce and share the risks of transition for both individuals and collectives. Living Labs by definition, bring together actors to co-create innovation in real life conditions while reducing risks for both the individual farmer (or other actors) and the collective.

  3. Improve the sharing and access to knowledge on agroecology, as well as reinforce the agricultural knowledge and innovation systems for agroecology across Europe; this will be achieved through a network of Living Labs and Research Infrastructures, as well as targeted communication to different actors.

  4. Build a monitoring and data framework to measure progress of agroecology transition and improve data valorisation and sharing; harmonised methods and a set of common indicators will be developed to measure progress, integrating currently fragmented data repositories, including those of research infrastructures, and making them available.

  5. Exchange with policymakers (research and sectoral) and stakeholders on agroecology transition and mainstreaming of agroecology practices to contribute to improved governance, policies, and institutions, based on evidence and to provide supportive mechanisms.

ÖMKi leads a work package (WP8) responsible for the coordination of the European Network of Living Labs and Research Infrastructures, which include:

  • The organisation of the Network to accelerate transition to agroecology throughout Europe by connecting and empowering place-based innovation at various scales.

  • The co-construction of the operative structure of the Network through a governance scheme, preparation of internal co-creation processes for joint network and research activities and modes of internal communication to define the efficient working mechanisms of the Network.

  • The improvement of access and availability of AE LLs & RIs knowledge, data and experiences at various scales among AE LLs & RIs to foster information sharing and empower actors in the production of new and diverse knowledge.

  • The building of synergies with other international AE LL & RI networks and projects in order to value the role of these initiatives for agroecology transition at the international level, and to contribute to the continuous science-policy dialogue at different scales.

  • The evaluation of the Network’s performance and its contribution to the transition by putting in place a monitoring framework, and to ensure that the added value of the Network will be sustainable in the long run.

ÖMKi On-Farm Living Lab will also contribute to the shaping of this future European Network by being an active member.

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