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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal AgriLink logo Europe


Why AgriLink?

A key element – among others – 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 national / regional level in the EU Member States and other countries. 

Despite their importance, our understanding of how exactly these AKIS function still remains relatively limited.  In particular, there is a need to analyse the specific role of advisors in the different AKIS that exist and how they influence the decision-making processes of farmers.

Project Objectives

The goal of AgriLink is to stimulate transitions towards more sustainable European agricultures by a) furthering the understanding of the roles played by a wide range of advisory organisations in farmer decision-making and b) 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.

In line with the multi-actor approach, AgriLink includes specific objectives at both the academic level and the applied level (i.e. for farmers, advisors, policy makers).

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.

At the applied level, the specific objectives of AgriLink are to:

  • Develop recommendations to enhance farm advisory systems from a multi-level perspective ranging from the viewpoint of farmers’ access to knowledge and services (micro-AKIS) up to the question of governance.  This will include recommendations for measures to encourage advisors to utilise specific tools, methods to better link science and practice, encourage life-long learning and interactivity between advisors;
  • Through interactive sessions with policy makers and advisory organisations build socio-technical transition scenarios for improving the performance of advisory systems and achieving more sustainable systems.  This process will include exploring the practical relevance of AgriLink’s recommendations;
  • Test and validate innovative advisory tools and services to better connect research and practice;
  • Develop new learning and interaction methods for fruitful exchanges between farmers, researchers and advisors, with a focus on advisors’ needs for new skills and new roles;
  • Guarantee the quality of practitioners’ involvement throughout the project to support the identification of best fit practices for various types of farm advisory services (use of new technologies, methods, tools) in different European contexts, and for the governance of their public supports.

Expected Impacts

The AgriLink project has high ambition to make a significant and meaningful contribution to enhancing the role of agricultural advice and associated advisory services / providers in farmer decision-making and the transition towards more sustainable European agriculture. 

The following impacts can be expected from the AgriLink project:

  • Improved understanding of farmers' decision-making processes across the EU and the impact of advice/advisory services on the sustainability of agricultural practices  
  • Enhanced impact of advisory systems on the strengthening of knowledge flows between science and practice, including suggestions for efficient support and training systems for advisors
  • A set of good examples and best practices for well-connected and effective advisory systems, focusing on ways of preserving practical knowledge in the long-term and including identification of success elements and possible novel roles for advisors with a view to boosting innovation and improving networking
  • Transition pathways and recommendations for improving the performance and effectiveness of advisory services, including interconnection and networking of advisory services and innovation support services at national / regional and EU level, supporting the implementation of the EIP AGRI
  • Suggestions for governance models and public policy mechanisms, contractual arrangements and appropriate funding instruments providing effective support for improved interactivity of advisors, enhancing innovation-driven research and advisory services to support the transition to more sustainable and climate-smart agriculture
  • Suggestions on how to deepen the networking capacity and impact of the CAP's horizontal Farm Advisory System, including a thorough understanding of the impact of and mechanisms under 2014-2020 rural development support for advisory services