AGRILINK (Agricultural knowledge: linking farmers, advisors and researchers to boost innovation) is an international research project funded under the "Horizon 2020" Research and Innovation action (RIA) funding scheme. It is coordinated by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) (France) with participation of 15 partner organisations from 13 countries in Europe.
AgriLink aims to stimulate sustainability transitions in European agriculture through better understanding the roles played by farm advice in farmer decision-making. To this end, AgriLink will analyse and improve the role of farmer advice in 8 innovation areas that combine challenges identified in the “Strategic Approach to EU Agricultural Research & Innovation”. AgriLink builds on the premise that the full range of advice-providing organisations need to be included in the assessment of service provision and innovation adoption.
The methodology combines theoretical insights with cutting edge research methods within a multi-actor, transdisciplinary approach. It draws on ‘micro-AKIS’ (individuals and organisations from whom farmers seek services and exchange knowledge with) analysis in 26 focus regions, sociotechnical scenario development and ‘living laboratories’ where farmers, advisors and researchers work together. Research in focus regions will provide insight in farmers’ micro-AKIS, advisory suppliers’ business models, and regional farm advisory systems. This will feed an assessment of the efficacy of governance of farm-advice-research interactions across Europe. Newly developed advisory methods and new forms of research-practice interaction will be validated and further developed in Living Laboratories. A socio-technical scenario method will be used to explore, jointly with stakeholders, transition pathways towards more sustainable agriculture.
Crucially, AgriLink builds on insights and experiences from both research and practice. The consortium consists of researchers from different disciplines (institutional economics, innovation studies, AKIS studies, sociology of networks), as well as of advisors (from public, private and farmer-based organisations) from across the EU. Actors from advisory services will be active in the validation and dissemination of results, to ensure that all project findings are both scientifically sound and practically useful.