LIAISON aimed to help unlock the potential of partnership working for innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural affairs.
Across Europe, agriculture, forestry and related sectors face major social, economic and environmental concerns and challenges … as well as many exciting opportunities.
New practical and effective ideas are needed to help farmers and foresters continue to meet the expectations of a wider society, while running their own successful businesses and working in harmony with the essential natural resources on which we all depend. Innovation is therefore one of the hottest topics of discussion today, from farm kitchen tables to meeting rooms in Brussels.
There are different types of innovation relevant to agriculture and forestry. Some innovations such as digitisation are highly technical, but innovation is not just about ‘technology transfer’. Innovation has many dimensions and faces and encompasses many processes. It is also about networking, information exchange, collective information and co-creation of new knowledge and ideas. Innovation is very much about farmers/foresters, advisors, researchers and others working together in partnership to find solutions to everyday needs, challenges and opportunities.
In January 2019, the Horizon 2020 project “LIAISON” launched a Europe-wide competition to look for innovative, inspiring and topical initiatives in agriculture, forestry and the agri-food supply chain.
A total of 220 businesses, projects and initiatives from 21 EU Member States and 2 neighbouring countries entered the competition. An international jury of independent professional experts selected 15 of them as European Rural Innovation Ambassadors representing a wide variety of innovative groups from different sectors and geographical areas.
More details about the 15 Rural Innovation Ambassadors can be found in the article European Rural Innovation Contest – EURIC.
Highclere Consulting (HCC) was involved in most of the project activities. I was responsible for bringing practitioners and stakeholders into the project and facilitating the dissemination and exploitation of project results. This included the development of the following materials:
- A series of detailed ‘How To’ guides for partnership building, project management and effective dissemination of results;
- Information on policies aimed at improving the institutional environment for innovation partnerships, projects and networks;
- Various communication materials, including videos and the LIAISON online platform, with examples and good practices from successful innovative partnerships in agriculture, forestry and related businesses or initiatives.