A strategic approach to EU agricultural research & innovation
The strategy was published for discussion as a draft document to coincide with the Conference on Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation which took place in 26-28 January 2016. Incorporating research and innovation activities into a long-term strategy will make it easier to identify strategic areas of short-, medium- and long-term interest, and so improve their overall consistency, sequencing and impact. Research is expected to address immediate problems while at the same time anticipating future needs. Today’s research will guide tomorrow’s farming solutions and approaches. Laying down strategic priorities for agricultural and forestry research in the EU will make it possible to reinforce synergies with Member States and non-EU research programmes. The strategy aims to harness EU investments in the framework Programme for Research and Innovation in view of the following main objectives: ensuring food security in the long term; addressing the environmental sustainability and resilience of land-based primary production as well as food and non-food systems; and boosting the sustainable growth of rural territories. In addition, the strategy seeks to improve the delivery of research for policy use.
Although the paper has a primary focus on agricultural research and innovation within the EU, international cooperation is also considered. It argues that international cooperation has a key role in boosting the competitiveness of European economy and the capacity of the European research and innovation system itself. This involves supporting the EU’s external policy dimension and ensuring coordination and leveraging effect in addressing challenges that can better be tackled internationally. International cooperation needs to take recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals as guiding objectives. In addition, activities in key areas are needed to support sustainable agriculture and forestry and food security.