EUREKA is building a wide agricultural knowledge base

Discover EUREKA, the sister project of EURAKNOS :

EUREKA is one of a growing ‘family’ of EU-funded projects that aim to strengthen and improve the flow of agricultural and rural-related knowledge and innovation at European, national and regional level. EUREKA is developing the 'FarmBook' - a single open source e-platform for collecting and sharing the many different types of end-user material produced by Horizon 2020 multi-actor projects. EUREKA builds on the experience gained in the EURAKNOS project which is aiming to optimize the flow of knowledge from one very specific form of multi-actor project, the so-called Thematic Networks.

The project brings together a diverse partnership of experts from 21 organisations in 15 countries to analyse the supply of - and demand for – the practical knowledge and innovative solutions generated in the 120 multi-actor projects that have been funded to-date under the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The work of investigating a broad spectrum of multi-actor projects in order to identify best practices within a number of key areas is in full progress and a thorough desktop investigation of more than 100 multi-actor projects has been carried out. Basic information has been gathered from the homepages of the multi-actor projects and from CORDIS, the EU Commissions’ portal for EU funded research projects, to identify a range of best practices when working in a multi-actor setting.

From this big pool of projects, a subsample of 19 has been selected for more in-depth qualitative analysis. These projects are presently being interviewed to get insights into the types of data and knowledge objects produced, how they are stored, disseminated and communicated, and how the projects have envisaged and applied the multi-actor approach.

Digital farmer

Getting to know the FarmBook end-users

An important process before building the FarmBook open knowledge platform is to understand who the potential users are, what are their requirements for accessing knowledge and how they would normally look for new ideas and information within their own sector. Along with the analysis of 18 personas (User journeys), the research will be combined with a wide end-user survey with more than 1500 respondents and 40 qualitative interviews with farmers.

As the Project Co-ordinator, Professor Pieter Spanoghe from Ghent University, explains: “To understand what the FarmBook platform should look like from the user perspective, we have applied methods that are commonly used in consumer product development to build user personas and user journeys. A series of face-to-face workshops were originally scheduled across the EU in Paris, Budapest, Tallin and Perugia. However, with the significant restrictions that COVID-19 placed upon travel and work, the team leading this process had to work quickly, be innovative and change their approach. The workshops were moved online and designed in an inclusive and engaging format for participants”.

Dr. Lisa Williams van Dijk and Emily Bull, from the Royal Agricultural University in the United Kingdom and Dr. Laurens Van der Cruyssen from the Leap Forward Group in Belgium, planned and facilitated the online workshops.

According to Lisa: “The change of format due to COVID-19 has been a challenge but we managed to engage successfully with farmers, forester and advisors - and more importantly, we were communicating with people in isolation across the EU, bringing them together to share their experiences online”.

This close consultation with potential end-users will continue as the EUREKA team constructs and optimizes the FarmBook before actively promoting it to the rapidly growing multi-actor project community and the huge number of potential beneficiaries of their work.

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