Section 1 - Call for Proposals for the Thematic Area: Agro-food value chain
Topic: Implementing innovation in Mediterranean Agro-food chains by smallholders and SMEs
PRIMA-IS is launching a Call for Proposals to mobilize the Euro-Mediterranean scientific communities, stakeholders and private entities toward an Innovation Action (IA) that will be organised, managed and funded by PRIMA-IS (Section 1).
The call will aims to enhance innovations produced by different actors of the agro-food value chains, for the benefit of consumers and societies and is expected to produce a socio-economic impact in the near future.
In this call, participation of private entities is strongly encouraged.
Participants to this call will have to submit a scientific proposal to the PRIMA-IS, that will be evaluated in a peer review process according to the H2020 standard. The successful projects will be funded directly by the PRIMA-IS through the signature of a grant agreement between the selected consortia and the PRIMA-IS. The criteria for the evaluation, selection and monitoring of the project will be done according to H2020 rules.PRIMA-IS will be responsible for the evaluation of proposals. Participation of private entities (in their diversity, e.g. including companies/enterprises, SMEs, start-ups, non-profit organisations, NGOs…) will be encouraged in the research consortia, jointly with public research organisations, universities and end-users. The eligibility check of proposals will be done by the PRIMA-IS in line with eligibility criteria set forth in the Decision (EU) 2017/1324 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 (PRIMA Decision).
Calls will be launched following a two stage process and the grant agreement with the beneficiaries will be signed in 2019.
Scientific scope for the Call Section 1 - Topic 3: “Implementing innovation in Mediterranean Agro-food chains by smallholders and SMEs”
Horizontal and vertical fragmentation of the Mediterranean value chains and the lack of integration among the main food system actors are the biggest obstacle to the adoption of technological and organizational innovation. Furthermore, the small size of the firms and the weak entrepreneurial business culture make it even harder the adoption of such innovations.
Effective organizational and business models, replicable on most of the typologies of Med food companies are necessary to foster uptake of production of business solutions able to meet the needs of the market, food security needs and the opportunities given by Mediterranean values, heritage and biodiversity.
Adoption of technological and organizational innovations by smallholders and SMEs is one of the major challenge for Mediterranean economies and societies.
Proposals should clearly address food production and distribution in a changing social, economic and environmental scenarios. Activities should focus on chosen Mediterranean food product(s) and be in line with sustainability principles (e.g., consuming less water and energy, reducing environmental impact and waste, valorising by-products etc).
Activities should aim to produce plans for new, modified or improved value chains, products, processes or services in line with Mediterranean values and heritage and biodiversity, and promoting the scaling-up of sustainable solutions in a chosen agro-food sector (e.g. vegetables, fruits, cereals, animal products, etc.). For this purpose proposals may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, pilot projects or large-scale product validation and must include business and market replication analysis. Proposals are expected to produce innovative solutions for existing problems, as well as strategies that may potentially open new markets in an international context. Proposals may, if necessary, include limited research and development activities especially if there are clear market failures or cultural or behavioral barriers to overcome.
Proposals should include activities such as demonstration of the benefits for all the players along the food chain, validation of technical and economic performance at business and system level, identification of possible new standards in line with Mediterranean values and heritage, activities to prepare market uptake, ensure consumer acceptance and optimise dissemination of results towards the main sector’s players and the consumers. Work is expected to benefit from contribution of social sciences.
Demonstration activities will require the active involvement of food processing companies, retailers, civil society organizations and consumer associations, to bridge the gap between ideas that have been developed and their practical implementation. Cooperation among relevant Mediterranean stakeholders in the food production and supply chains is encouraged to ensure the adoption of innovative, sustainable, technological and organizational solutions in line with citizens and community’s needs.
Proposals could implement solutions to trace origin and identity, ensure safety or exploit digital opportunities. Liaison with EU and Mediterranean quality standardization bodies is encouraged.
To have the desired impact, proposals should show financial sustainability in the middle-long term, be harmonized in the context of the regulatory framework, implement communication and marketing strategies.
The proposal’s expected impacts should be clearly described in qualitative and quantitative terms (e.g. on new job opportunities, financial turnover, employment figures, market seize, IP management, increased sales, return on investment and profit). With a view to support more sustainable Mediterranean economies and societies, proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts, will be achieved with reference to the chosen agro-food sector:
Deployment of wider, faster and profitable innovative solutions by smallholders and SMEs, overcoming the barriers to market uptake.
Strengthen the food processing sector in line with Mediterranean values and heritage improving competitiveness.
Create opportunities for growth, diversification and job creation particularly for smallholders and agro-food SMEs.
Strengthen Mediterranean food value chains, supporting product quality, healthy food consumption and consumer trust.
Reduce the negative impacts of food value chains on the environment with particular reference to water.
Support the transition from a linear to a circular economy.
The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area will devise new R&I approaches to improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in a region heavily distressed by climate change, urbanisation and population growth