Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor

Alvaro Durand-Morat

Committee Member

Pieter Spanoghe

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Miller

Keywords

Multi-Actor Projects, Horizon 2020, European Research and Innovation

Abstract

Horizon research programs are the European Union’s lighthouse for innovation and research concerning the agri-food chain, the management of natural resources, and the bioeconomy. Their innovation strategy approach is one that pursues the practical application of the research via the collaboration of all actors involved. Such strategy is the reflection of a Multi-Actor Approach as their procedure to enhance innovation. This paper presents the main trends and directions 101 Multi-Actor Projects (MAPs) are following on said approach towards innovation. The analysis is based on the use of well-defined “pathways” and “measures” proposed in the Guidelines for Evaluation of Innovation in Rural Development Programmes from the European Commission. Project coordinators from the 101 sampled MAPs were contacted to validate the initial assessment. Furthermore, analyses of the allocated budget, project type, and several other relevant project-specific variables were conducted to provide further insights on the innovation of MAPs. Results indicate an approximately equal distribution between projects working on identifying and developing new ideas (“Pathway 1”) and projects working on the implementation of existing knowledge (“Pathway 2”). Trends towards the development of new products, practices, and processes, as well as the horizontal and vertical co-operation among supply chain actors, were also identified. The results suggest that Horizon should consider strengthening investment in projects targeting Pathway 2 for livestock & permanent grassland and the permanents crops sectors, as well as conducting more actions towards the diversification of farming activities.

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