European Innovation Partnership
CAFRE is piloting a new scheme called European Innovation Partnership (EIP). It is designed to bring people together to help Northern Ireland’s farmers innovate and address the opportunities and challenges of a fast moving world.
The scheme is jointly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.
What are European Innovation Partnerships?
EIP schemes bring together expertise such as advisers, researchers and businesses to work in partnership with farmers to consider how practical solutions might be developed to address a particular problem or opportunity for the agri-food industry. We will be evaluating the pilot scheme to inform the development of future schemes.
How did funding work?
Funding was available in 2 stages. Initial Stage 1 funding was available to help bring together expertise as Operational Groups to consider how to develop practical solutions to a particular problem or opportunity facing farmers. Stage 2 funding was then available to enable the groups to deliver their innovative projects.
CAFRE awarded ten Operational Groups Stage1 funding, of which seven groups went on to receive Stage 2 funding of up to £120,000 to deliver their projects.
Farmer members from these seven groups were eligible to apply for additional funding of up to £30,000 for capital expenditure relevant to the project. Three Operational Groups availed of the opportunity and farmers will receive grant aid of 50% of approved expenditure.
What type of projects were funded?
The types of projects were very broad, but each project had to contribute positively to at least one of the following themes: improving productivity; increasing resilience; improving environmental sustainability or enhancing the supply chain.
Spreading the word
An important aspect of the EIP approach is the sharing of findings both at a local and European level. To support regional EIPs, the European Commission runs the EIP-Agri network through the EIP-Agri Service Point. The Service Point offers a range of tools and services which can help develop ideas and projects. These can be explored on the EIP-Agri website, where you can also see details of EIP-Agri Projects in other regions.
Are there plans for a roll-out of the scheme?
The pilot scheme is being evaluated and this will be used to inform any future rollout