The budget for agricultural research and forestry research through Horizon 2020, has been doubled compared to the previous programming period, according to Phil Hogan.

The budget is nearly €4bn now, and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said support to research and innovation is coupled together to develop cross-thematic activities and avoid traditional research in ‘silos’.

“The goal is to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation, delivers research from universities and institutes to the farm gate and the rural economy, and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in making innovation happen.”

In his area, he said he wants to concentrate on three main priorities:
1) increasing the efficiency, sustainability and resilience of primary production, while increasing its capacity for climate change mitigation and adaptation;
2) providing ecosystem services and public goods; and,
3) empowering rural areas to enhance support for innovation.

He said he, in particular, wants to ensure the coherence between the EU’s food security and climate change objectives.

“Under Horizon 2020, new project formats have been created which match the EIP concept. ‘Multi-actor projects’ are research projects where farmers and other end-users will be involved ‘all along the project’: here farmers should not just be the object of study but encouraged to be centrally involved in creating solutions.”

Horizon 2020, he said, will contribute to deepening the knowledge base in fields such as soil fertility, plant and animal health, and the functional role of biodiversity.

“Moreover, the fact that agricultural research and innovation under Horizon 2020 are now closely coordinated with the CAP (via innovation support under Rural Development) is a golden opportunity to bolster innovation actions at local level. This will result in more knowledge-based EU agriculture and forestry.”