A key element for fostering innovation and contributing to the competitiveness and sustainability of European agriculture are the so-called Agricultural and Knowledge Innovation Systems (AKIS) which exist at
level in the EU Member States and other countries. national / regional
The goal of AgriLink is to stimulate transitions towards more sustainable European agriculture by furthering the understanding of the roles played by a wide range of advisory organisations in farmer decision-making and enhancing their contribution to learning and innovation.
This will be achieved by a consortium of 16 partners from 13 countries working together to implement cutting edge research which develops a number of innovative approaches including ‘micro-AKIS’ analysis in 26 Focus Regions, analysis of the governance of farm advisory systems, socio-technical scenario development, and six ‘Living Laboratories’ (Living Labs) where farmers, advisors, and researchers develop and test together innovative advisory tools and methods.
At the academic level, the specific objectives of AgriLink are to:
Develop a theoretical framework utilising a multi-level perspective to integrate sociological and economic theories (with inputs from psychology and learning studies) and assess the functions played by advisory organisations in innovation dynamics at multiple levels;
Assess the diversity of farmers’ use of knowledge and services from both formal and informal sources (micro-AKIS), and how they translate this into changes on their own farms;
Develop and utilise cutting edge research methods to assess new advisory service models and their innovation potential;
Identify thoroughly the roles of the R-FAS (regional FAS) in innovation development, evaluation, adoption and dissemination in various EU rural and agricultural contexts;
Test how various models of (national and regional) governance and funding schemes of farm advice i) support (or not) farmers’ micro-AKIS; ii) sustain the relation between research, advice, farmers and facilitate knowledge assemblage, and; iii) enable evaluation of the (positive and negative) effects of innovation for sustainable development of agriculture;
Assess the effectiveness of formal support to agricultural advisory organisations forming the R-FAS by combining quantitative and qualitative methods, with a focus on the EU-FAS regulation and by relating them to other findings of AgriLink.