The European Commission has recently launched a public consultation on the past, present and future of the EU R&I framework programmes (FP) for Research & Innovation, Horizon 2020 (8th FP) and Horizon Europe (9th FP).

The public consultation asked participants to:

  • Identify achievements and shortcomings of the previous EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, its relevance and the procedures associated with the application process and funding management;
  • Express views on Horizon Europe’s design and implementation up until now;
  • Identify future priorities for Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2025-2027, providing inputs on emerging research and innovation needs, on synergies across EU programmes, etc.

CEMA has submitted its response to this public consultation. CEMA fully supports the European framework for Research & Innovation that responds in a precise way to some of the key challenges our planet will be facing for the years to come, including the need to “produce more with less” encouraging a more productive, resource-efficient, and sustainable agriculture. Additional focus is needed on energy efficiency, electrification and alternative fuels as well as advanced manufacturing technologies, to further reduce the use of energy and resources and to unlock deep operational efficiency and productivity gains.

EU funding for agricultural research should focus on precision farming, resource efficiency, alternative clean energies and digitization. Empowering farms to make advances in smart localized resource management and achieving significant aggregate productivity and sustainability gains in European farming must remain a top priority in the future Work Programme. The future Research Work Programme should further look at how to support and fund a real uptake of innovation in agriculture, thus facilitating the participation of new actors in the programmes (farmers, industry representatives, SMEs, etc.). Technology is available, but its uptake behind will play a fundamental role in reaching sustainable and competitive European agricultural production.

To ensure that future innovations will reach European farmers and will be used in the field, it will be important to further explore factors and perceptions that effectively act as barriers to technological change for farmers, and to design adequate financial support and incentive schemes to accelerate and further support such change. The re-industrialization of Europe, with the support of R&D, is key for reducing import dependence, thus making European economy more sustainable and more resilient to the market fluctuations.