Innovation: Agricultural Knowledge Systems In Transition: Towards A More Effective And Efficient Support Of Learning And Innovation Networks For Sustainable Agriculture

Last update: 30.06.2013
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Keywords: 
agriculture, sustainable development
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The overall objective of this project is to identify effective and efficient approaches for the support of successful LINSA (Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture) as drivers of transition towards Agricultural Innovation Systems for sustainable agriculture and rural development.
In order to achieve this objective the project will:
- Explore LINSAs empirically as bottom-up drivers of transition
- Improve understanding of barriers to complex learning processes and developing recommendations on how to avoid / remove them
- Create open learning spaces for actors outside the project by sharing and disseminating project findings
- Identify institutional determinants that enable or constrain existing AKS in supporting effective LINSA in the context of changing knowledge and innovation policies
- Develop a conceptual framework for innovation for sustainable agriculture and rural development.

TOPICS
The study will be carried out in 3 fields: a) consumer oriented networks ( b) non-food oriented networks and c) purely agricultural networks or networks for sustainable land use
Strategic objectives:
- Contributing to more effective research-practice linkages in the complex innovation and value chains.
- Contributing to a policy framework for innovation in agriculture
- a conceptual framework was developed as a basis for the analysis of national agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS), as well as the analysis of LINSA;
- a glossary of key terms has been started;
- relevant European Union (EU) policy documents that influence innovation and learning for sustainable agriculture were reviewed;
- the national country reports were integrated with the help of an innovation system performance (ISP) matrix into a comparative analysis of AKIS in Europe;
- a proforma has been developed to structure the case study work in the 17 case study LINSA;
- discussions have begun with respect to selection of five short show cases to be analysed by expert board members to provide additional insights in LINSA;
- a transdisciplinary research methodology has been developed outlining the overall approach of the project;
- an internal mid-term evaluation of the project has been carried out;
- setting up a website and internal site for collaboration amongst consortium partners;
- a project flyer presenting the project has been created and a first newsletter produced;
- the first international dissemination workshop has been organised;
- discussion on connections between AKIS and LINSA, as well as on policy recommendations have started;
- the revision of the conceptual framework and the work on the final project report has started through initiating reflection at the project meetings.

Main results achieved so far:
- the conceptual framework has been closely linked to the work to be performed in the analysis of the context for innovation and learning in the partner countries, as well as for the LINSA analysis;
- together with the draft conceptual framework, the glossary of key terms forms the basis for continuous reflection and further development of the final conceptual framework;
- an overview of European Union (EU) policies that influence innovation and learning processes for sustainable agriculture;
- eight country reports describing the national situation of the AKIS in the partner countries, including: the results of desktop research, the outcomes of expert interviews and SWOT workshops;
- a comparative report including an ISP matrix detailing the main enablers and barriers of the different national AKIS has been developed. It synthesises and compares the national country reports;
- 17 case study LINSA have been selected in the partner countries and at the EU level;
- a classification framework for LINSA framed around eight key characteristics (origin and function, scale, degree of integration, links between AKIS and LINSA, level of learning, level of innovation, governance and temporality) and LINSA type? (consumer oriented, non-food oriented, purely agricultural);
- 27 learning workshops and several interviews with LINSA have been conducted;
- for each LINSA, two synthesis reports have been written with the themes Degree of integration and Level of innovation;
- the transdisciplinary research methodology is used as point of reference for the methodology applied in the project. It consists of two layers: 1) elaborating a methodology for understanding LINSAs; 2) reflecting on the methodology and monitoring and evaluating the transdisciplinary approach.
- four-capacity building workshops have been conducted with project partners and members of the expert board, and have been used to refine the methodology for the work with the LINSA;
- the internal mid-term evaluation carried out revealed primarily positive impressions with the path of the project and satisfaction with the outcomes. However, the evaluation revealed some points for improvement that will help enable the success of the project;
- a project website, including a video about SOLINSA is available for the wider audience;
- the project flyer has been printed and 500 copies have been distributed by the partners;
- a first newsletter presenting first project results has been sent out to 330 persons;
- the first international dissemination workshop has been held with around 100 participants, in collaboration with the SCAR CWG on AKIS;
- a list of preliminary questions for the elaboration of policy recommendations was provided and discussed amongst the project partners in small groups at the project meetings;
- small groups are formed to work on particular aspects of the conceptual framework in order to further develop it and prepare the final project report.
In the end, the SOLINSA project will have a significant positive impact as follows:
1. an improved understanding of the actual and potential capacity of AKIS to meet the new agricultural and rural policy challenges in Europe;
2. a significant contribution to capacity building at European, Member States and regional level;
3. improved innovation support policies at European level, member states and regional level;
4. providing insights into gender aspects with respect to innovation networks;
5. the identification of relevant research gaps, and of promising lines of future research.

In the first period, in particular the first three intended impacts are starting to show. The analysis of the governance structures of AKIS in the partner countries increased the understanding of the capacities to meet the new agricultural and rural policy challenges in Europe. By conducting workshops in all partner countries, the national stakeholders were brought together to reflect on the current system and discuss strengths and weaknesses. This will have implications for their further work in the countries. In addition, the first international dissemination workshop was jointly organised with the SCAR CWG on AKIS, and attracted national experts of AKIS of several countries in Europe. In this way, the projects results were widely spread and can be taken up in the future work of both the SCAR CWG and the national AKIS experts.

The project will contribute to further developing the farm advisory system (FAS) by increasing the skills of researchers, and by developing a training course concept for advisors. So far, four capacity building workshops have taken place, in which consortium members and external experts participated. The activated learning processes regarding the interaction between research and practice in the AKIS. On the other hand, also the LINSA have partly learned from interacting with the researchers. They can use the project as a point for reflection of their own work, to discuss new ideas and find solutions to current challenges. The reflections of these processes will feed into the training course concept, which will thus be targeted to the real needs of the actors in the FAS.

The project contributes to the European innovation partnership agricultural productivity and sustainability in that it started from the beginning to look at its research agenda from a policy perspective. The analytical questions also include policy-relevant questions, which have been derived from linking outcomes of the study of governance structures with the analysis of the learning and innovation networks. Linking policy context with practical experience will help to close the knowledge gap regarding targeted support for innovation and learning for sustainable agriculture.

As regards impacts in the scientific society, first project results have been presented at various conferences, and special sessions have been organised to discuss the projects concepts with a wider scientific audience. In this way, the results will spread beyond the research institutions directly involved in the project.

List of websites: http://www.solinsa.net

Collaboration sought: N/A

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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Agricultural Knowledge Systems In Transition: Towards A More Effective And Efficient Support Of Learning And Innovation Networks For Sustainable Agriculture

Acronym: 
SOLINSA

Runtime: 
01.02.2011 to 31.01.2014

Status: 
completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR BIOLOGISCHENLANDBAU STIFTUNG

(Switzerland)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Dr. MOSCHITZ Heidrun

Phone: +41-628-657214

Contact

DEVELOPPEMENT DE L'AGRICULTURE ET DE L'ESPACE RURAL : AGRIDEA

(Switzerland)

Contact person: Mr. BOURDIN David

Website: http://www.agridea.ch

Phone: +41-216194453

Contact

EIDGENÖSSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZÜRICH

(Switzerland)

Contact person: Dr. DUMONDEL Michel

Website: http://www.ethz.ch

Phone: +41-446325398

Contact

INSTITUT DE L'ELEVAGE

(France)

Contact person: Mr. STETTLER Jean-Charles

Website: http://www.inst-elevage.asso.fr/

Phone: +33-140045160

Contact

MAGYAR TUDOMANYOS AKADEMIA KOZGAZDASAG- ES REGIONALIS TUDOMANYI KUTATOKOZPONT

(Hungary)

Contact person: Mrs. TÉSI-PALL Viktoria

Website: http://www.econ.core.hu

Phone: +36-13092662

Contact

NODIBINAJUMS BALTIC STUDIES CENTRE

(Latvia)

Contact person: Dr. TISENKOPFS Talis

Website: http://www.bsc.lv

Phone: +371-29417173

Contact

UNIVERSITA DI PISA

(Italy)

Contact person: Dr. FENILI Leda

Website: http://www.unipi.it

Phone: +39-502218919

Contact

UNIVERSITAET HOHENHEIM

(Germany)

Contact person: Prof. LIEBIG Hans-Peter

Website: http://www.uni-hohenheim.de

Phone: +49-7114590

Contact

UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE

(United Kingdom)

Contact person: RAYFIELD Chris

Phone: +44-1242714121

Contact

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND, BRISTOL

(United Kingdom)

Contact person: Prof. GOUGH Paul

Website: http://www.uwe.ac.uk

Phone: +44-1173282240

Contact

WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITEIT

(Netherlands)

Contact person: Ms. VAN DRIEL Ineke

Website: http://www.wageningenuniversiteit.nl/uk/

Phone: +31-317-485656

Contact