VALERIE : VALorising European Research for Innovation in agriculturE and forestry

The overall objective of the VALERIE project (a FP7-KBBE-2013-7 project) is to boost the outreach of research with focus on the agricultural and forestry knowledge and innovation systems. Many EU and nationally funded research projects in the fields of agriculture and forestry provide excellent results. However, outreach and translation of these results into farming and forestry practices is limited.

The challenge here is to boost innovation by facilitating the uptake of formal and empirical knowledge, and its integration into field practices. This is to be achieved in a manner that ensures optimal valorisation of recently developed knowledge, avoids duplication of innovation efforts, and capitalises on work already done for other sectors.

In response to the above challenge, this project works on three types of activities:

  • Stakeholder-driven approach: We propose to set up ten case studies that are each centred around a specific supply-chain, a framing sector or a landscape. The parties (stakeholders) in the selected cases are already connected with each other in a continuous innovation process, to make their business more productive and more sustainable. They represent, therefore, the natural partnerships and networks that are the potential users and translators of research outputs and innovations. In the project, these stakeholder groups play a central role in driving the basic innovation structure of articulating innovation needs, retrieving tailored knowledge and implementing innovative solutions. We expect that three iterative cycles are necessary per case study to obtain the required formal vocabularies for automated knowledge retrieval, to acquire better-tuned end-user information and to articulate user problems and innovation needs.
  • Theme-driven approach: Over the last decades, European and national programs have generated a wealth of valuable outputs for sustainable productivity and resource use. Many of these are of direct interest to practitioners throughout Europe. To tackle this broad field, we will retain the thematic domains given in the call topic: (i) crop rotation, soil cover management and integrated pest management, (ii) eco-system and social services in agriculture and forestry, (iii) management of agricultural soils as integrated agro-ecological system, (iv) water management in agriculture, (v) integrated supply chain services and tools, innovative farm management, and (vi) recycling and smart use of biomass and food waste. These themes are the back-bone for structuring the annotation and summarising activities that provide the vast body of knowledge that will be accessible via the Communication Facility.
  • Knowledge disclosure via the Communication Facility: Innovation requires effective communication between actors in the field, as well as frequent interaction between researchers and practitioners. To facilitate these interactions while injecting new knowledge into the process, this project will launch a ‘Communication Facility’. The Communication Facility facilitates the users to find relevant information by matching state-of-the-art in semantically enhanced information retrieval with state-of-the-art in AKIS. The Communication Facility will be set up as a generic infrastructure that will enable ‘fresh’ stakeholder communities to apply the developed method, beyond the life of the VALERIE project.

With the three activities mentioned above, the project will succeed making agronomic and forestry management information and knowledge accessible to intermediate and end-users (advisors, farmers, enterprises), thereby confirming and extending the role of EU research as a world leader in producing high level scientific knowledge with high impact in terms of stimulating application and innovation.