News - Press release | 14 Jun 2024

500 participants celebrated the achievements of EIP-AGRI Operational Groups

The EU CAP Network Conference ‘EIP-AGRI Operational Groups: Innovation in practice’ brought together 500 participants from across the EU in Estoril, Portugal, to highlight the achievements of Operational Group projects.

Exhibition stands

Since the launch of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) in 2012, EU Member States have kept investing in innovation for agriculture, forestry and rural areas through EIP-AGRI Operational Group projects. The 3 400 reported Operational Groups funded under the CAP programming period for 2014-2022 already exceed the number of projects that were initially planned. From 6 to 8 May 2024, the EU CAP Network organised the ‘EIP-AGRI Operational Groups: Innovation in Practice’ conference to highlight and celebrate the successful implementation of the EIP-AGRI through Operational Groups as one of its main building blocks, and to learn from these achievements to prepare the next generation of projects under the CAP for 2023-2027.

A total of 500 participants attended the event, representing all 27 Member States. In addition to farmers and foresters, innovation brokers and innovation support service providers, also joining the interactive discussions were researchers, NGOs, Managing Authorities, National CAP Networks and Paying Agencies.

The event was kicked off on Monday 6 May with field visits to four different locations, where participants could learn and exchange knowledge with several Portuguese Operational Groups. On Tuesday 7 May, the conference was officially opened by Portuguese Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries José Manuel Fernandes, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, and Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Agriculture Roberto Berutti.

After a presentation that set the scene on EIP-AGRI Operational Groups, two panel sessions looked back on the work done so far, and reflected on the path ahead. The first panel discussed the role of grassroots innovation for the future of agriculture, forestry and rural areas, while the second panel focused on effectively sharing, using and scaling up the outcomes of Operational Group projects.

To foster further networking and knowledge exchange, the conference featured an innovation exhibition that presented the work of 73 Operational Groups, as well as that of a selection of Horizon projects, the EIT Food project, the Portuguese CAP Network, and the EU CAP Network. The first day of the Operational Groups conference was closed by the ceremony of the EIP-AGRI Innovation Awards, celebrating the achievements of EIP-AGRI Operational Groups.

A second conference day was dedicated to taking stock of past experiences to prepare the next generation of EIP-AGRI Operational Groups. It included seven parallel workshops in which participants discussed topics that could support the successful implementation of an Operational Group project, foster collaboration with other innovative projects, and stimulate the creation of a new type of transnational Operational Group.

The event was organised by the EU CAP Network, with the support of the Support Facility for Innovation and Knowledge Exchange | EIP-AGRI, and in collaboration with the Portuguese CAP Network – Rede Nacional PAC.

The final agenda, all presentations and relevant conference documents can be found on the event page. A final report will be added on the same page.

Read about the EIP-AGRI Innovation Awards.