Identifying and prioritising research topics
Several European countries have initiated research in organic food and farming at both the national and regional level during the last decade. Progress in R&D could be speeded up by concerted research efforts at a Transnational level. Transnational R&D could develop synergy and complementarity so that all involved partners benefit. Areas, where these synergies are substantial, will be identified and described in depth.
Examples for fields of special interest for joint activities are:
Problems, which occur in different countries but not EU-wide (e.g. copper replacement in vine growing, selenium poor soils in North)
Research areas where there seems to exist a special need to gather specialised expertise and/or very high cost connected to the research
Solutions, which would need commercial R&D but where the market is still underdeveloped because of the marginal importance of organic farming (e.g. development of robot technology to be used for weeding purposes, or the development of specialised information technology)
Problems, which need a variety of climatic, economic or sociological environments
Problems, which would benefit from combining the experimental resources of a number of countries
In order to identify topics and research areas for future cooperation and to recommend on best practices for future programmes a number of activities will be carried out. This is namely:
Workshops will be held to create a list of knowledge, which is needed to improve the performance of organic farming and organic food production.
Lists of potential future research
Each participant country will prioritise independently the list of potential future research. The information on prioritisation will be shared between all participants, and a prioritisation matrix will be generated.
Specifications of research
Those countries, which are interested in any of the priority projects, will work together to develop a mutually acceptable specification for the research, and agree how the research should be let and funded.
To identify possible topics for future research which are of common interest to all or some of the ERA-NET participants, to prioritise them, and assess the level of interest in co-funding projects.
To identify research areas where an increased cooperation between national or regional programmes could bring major synergies and progress. In parallel, legal, organisational and administrative barriers for joining activities between national and regional research schemes will be addressed and recommendations will be made in order to overcome them.
To elucidate and recommend on best practice in research schemes or hubs on organic food and farming and to analyse opportunities for Transnational research for joint specific research programmes and utilisation of common research facilities in organic agriculture
Workshop to identify priorities for new research
Report providing list of topics, which require new research
Matrix showing each participant’s priorities for the research topics identified in task 6.1, and report describing the type and extent of the Transnational collaboration which is expected to occur
Flavie Salaun, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK)
Stefan Lange, Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (D)