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					Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Discussion paper for the EU conference "Towards Future
Challenges of Agricultural1 Research in Europe" (26-27 June
2007, Brussels) - based on the report of the Foresight Expert Group
and output from the Stockholm Workshop


In 2006, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research recommended that foresight
methods and processes be used in identifying the long-term research needed to address
the challenges to agriculture2 and support the developing European Knowledge-Based
Bio-Economy. As a result, the European Commission established a Foresight Expert
Group (FEG) to gather and analyse foresight information on the eight major drivers
identified during the EURAGRI members‟ conference in 2005 (Annex 1) and to use this
information to formulate possible futures scenarios for European agriculture in a 20 year
perspective. An initial assessment of the implications for the RTD requirements of
European agriculture over the medium to long term was to be carried out on the basis of
these scenarios.

Work of the Foresight Expert Group

The outputs from the Foresight Expert Group (FEG) can be found at:


Papers were produced for each of the major drivers based partly on a selective review of
forward-looking literature. The FEG has indicated that a comprehensive review of the
available foresight literature was not possible due to time constraints and the range of
drivers under consideration and the level of review varies between individual papers.

These individual driver papers were then used in taking forward the development of
scenarios. During this process the FEG concluded that it would be more appropriate to
develop “disruption scenarios” because the baseline of “business as usual” scenarios
based on a continuation of existing trends led to a relatively short term disruption in
terms of Europe‟s competitiveness. Disruption scenarios were developed for the

 Climate shock
 Energy crisis
 Food crisis
 Cooperation with nature

These are summarised in Annex 2.

    Here the terms “agriculture” and “agricultural research” cover other areas such as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, etc.
  A workshop was held in Stockholm (29-30 March 2007) to widen the agricultural research foresight debate initiated by
the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) to address issues relevant to European agricultural research in
the long-term.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

FEG‟s main findings, summarised in Annex 3, are based on the EU being at the
beginning of a major disruption period in terms of international competitiveness, climate
change, energy supply, food security and societal problems of health and unemployment
- requiring rapid adaptation and the need to be proactive. On the basis that decentralised
systems are better than centralised systems in adapting to change, FEG concluded that
this requires an assessment of the systems of agricultural research and innovation to
identify and modify the places where centralised decision-making generates rigidity in
research and policy-making. FEG also considered that decentralised adaptation relies
on a high performance information system to support decision-makers with the best

FEG considered that a major hurdle in making the transition to a knowledge-based
bioeconomy was the growing challenge of knowledge failures and that European
agricultural research is currently not delivering the type of knowledge needed by end-
users in rural communities. FEG therefore concluded that new systems of education and
knowledge diffusion are needed and a consideration of the implications for education of
the shift from engineering, physical and mechanical sciences to “converging
technologies” (nano, info, bio, cogno, etc). Related to this FEG considered that
knowledge exchange strategies and policies already in place in some EU member states
need to be formalised and given a higher profile at the EU level, with good practice
shared with other member states.

Several recommendations by FEG have come out of these key findings. It considers
that emerging trends highlight the need for coordinated EU, national and regional policy
responses to the challenges facing the “world rural agri-economy”, and that this will
require a new strategic framework for the planning and delivery of research, which
should cater for four lines of action:

 Sustainability challenge
 Security challenge
 Knowledge challenge
 Competitiveness challenge

and a cross-cutting policy and institutional challenge facing policy-makers in
synchronising multi-level policies.

FEG considered that in re-designing the institutional framework for research would
require a transition research agenda to address immediate sustainability concerns,
and a more long-term high-tech research agenda to ensure the investment needed is
in place to retain EU agri-food competitiveness in global markets. A regionally-focused
demand driven approach to research and innovation also needs to be developed to
increase the capacity of rural regions to generate, absorb and integrate research
developments into economic growth.

The full list of FEG recommendations is at Annex 4. FEG also carried out an initial
consideration of research gaps (Annex 5), focussing on aspects of climate change,
energy, environment, and foresight.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Summary of the discussions at the Stockholm Workshop

The Swedish Government hosted a Workshop on "Foresight to Set Long-Term
European Agricultural Research Priorities" in close cooperation with the European
Commission. This was primarily to assist in the interpretation of the various foresight
results in terms of long-term research priorities in the broad field of agriculture, including
forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, bio-based handling of resources, rural development.
About 60 participants from different organisations and research disciplines attended the
meeting held in Stockholm on 29-30 March 2007, which provided an important step in
widening the debate on European agricultural research issues in the longer term.

The presentation of the major conclusions of the synthesis report of the Foresight Expert
Group was complemented by presentations from the SCENAR 2020 scenario study of
DG AGRI, the Foresight in the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment and from IPTS
foresight studies. Participants were then tasked with identifying key issues relating to the
long-term European agricultural research agenda by reflecting on foresight outputs and
considering the following areas:

   The need to redefine agriculture in moving towards a knowledge-based agro-
    business. What are the drivers, impact and implications for the research agenda?
   The need to think and act along the whole chain - research, innovation and
    education for the 4 Fs (Food, Feed, Fuel and Fibre). What are the priorities for
   Specificities of Europe in an increasingly competitive world - strengths, weaknesses,
    traditions and cutting-edge advantages of importance for a European research
    agenda. Are European capacities sufficient to cope?
   Dealing with the process of foresight - uncertainties of changes and their dynamics,
    direction, dimension and time-scale. Can research help?

Conclusions from the workshop can be considered under the following four broad

1. The Grand Challenges for the European Agro-System

The world is changing quickly and dramatically bringing a range of challenges to
European agriculture, including climate change, environmental impacts and pressures
on natural resources, globalisation and increasing competition, demographic changes,
advances in science and technology, and many others.. The need for research and
innovation is clear. However, many of these challenges and issues cannot be
addressed by applying the lines of thinking that contributed to their existence in the first

Agricultural research is also being asked to address issues that are both multi- and inter-
disciplinary. New technologies (ICT, nanotechnologies, biotechnology, remote sensing,
etc.) will become increasingly important. The wider rural economy including the public
goods aspects of land use also need to be considered. We will, therefore, need to go
well beyond the traditional understanding of agriculture and agricultural research to deal
effectively with these new demands as we move towards a Knowledge Based Bio-
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Convergence of knowledge from different disciplines is important to achieve a better
understanding of these complex and interlinked problems but also for a cross-fertilisation
of ideas and a better exploitation of new opportunities for European agriculture. For
example renewable resources can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions -
by providing alternative sources for fuel and other sources of energy – as well as other
industrial applications, while at the same time offering new opportunities for rural areas.

Anticipating the future is difficult and the complexity and uncertainties associated with
the variety of challenges being faced demand for a broadening of the research
perspective in order to understand the dynamics and likely impacts on the agricultural
systems within Europe and elsewhere.

Three major questions arise:

    -    Does the European Agro-System have the capacity to adapt (quickly) to
         changing circumstances, generate economic value and to remain competitive in
         the new international context highlighted by the Foresight Expert Group‟s four
         disruption scenarios?
    -    Are the competences currently supporting the Agro-system - scientific
         knowledge, technologies, practices, and know-how, still able to act as the main
         motors and drivers for the future research system?
    -    Do these competences still constitute a reservoir for innovations and knowledge
         likely to generate competitive advantages to the benefit of the European Agro-

2. Towards a European Agricultural Research Agenda

In order to make agricultural research systems more efficient and responsive a reform
and adaptation of these systems to new demands is essential. Therefore networking
across disciplines is gaining in importance to explore the connectivities in a more
efficient way (e.g. the food/non-food and ecosystems link or the food, health and
consumption link, complexity of ecology).

European agricultural research has to take a more pro-active approach, looking at
options which can provide an advantage in global competition. The growing importance
and potential of food, feed, fibre, fuel and „green‟ chemicals from land and water based
production systems has to be given more attention.

Pressures are increasing on natural resources such as soil, water and biological
resources and more attention will need to be paid to the role of agriculture (including
forestry) as a landscape steward and provider of rural services and heritage (in addition
to food production and food chains which meet welfare, safety and ethical demands).
The agricultural sector and society at large obviously depend on the provision of such
services and rural communities need to be more aware of their increasingly important
role as provider of “public goods”.

Interdisciplinary and long-term approaches are indispensable for three reasons:
     for an early identification of emerging problems,
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

     for the swift development of sound intervention strategies suited to improve and
      advance the long-term competitiveness of Europe‟s agricultural sector
     for delivering what is demanded by society and policy.

To enable long term sustainable development of European agriculture a European vision
for a future-oriented agricultural research building process is necessary. Issues to be
considered in addressing this include:

     A new balance has to be reached e.g. between applied and basic research;
      between natural/technological science and social science; between high-tech
      research and other areas of research.
     A predominant short-term approach, often linked to more immediate policy
      requirements, should be complemented by a much longer-term strategic agenda
      in research on which there is broad consensus in Europe.
     The rationalisation and progressive integration of the total European research
      effort (individual national RTD programmes) so as to achieve better synergies
      and a more efficient and effective use of limited resources, in line with the
      principles of the European Research Area (ERA). Possible outcomes could be:
      joint priority setting, pooling and/or joint development of research infrastructures,
      shared training schemes etc
     Public trust and confidence are also important issues requiring specific attention
      eg. by encouraging public debate and involving NGOs.

     Do we need to take more risks with the research undertaken?
     What is the public willing to pay for the provision of public goods? And what is the
      role of research in this area?

3. Adapting the knowledge generation and dissemination systems

Currently resources for agriculture-related research are in decline despite the fact that
new challenges are emerging as well as new opportunities that could make Europe more
competitive in a global market. It is important that the crucial role of a properly resourced
efficient agricultural research system in Europe is clearly highlighted at the political level,
and that political decision makers and other stakeholders are included more effectively in
the research process.

Any adaptation of the agricultural research framework must obviously take into account
the strengths and weaknesses of Europe‟s present systems, with better integration of
technology generation and implementation and avoidance of an overly diverse system
which might result in fragmentation of effort. Sustainable solutions, which include
investments in modernisation and new technologies, must take the aspirations and
demands of European citizens, also as consumers, into account as well.

Europe has a number of strengths (e.g. high standards of quality and security, quality
and potential of human resources and skills, the legal system), but at the same time
there are certain specific European weaknesses that have to be taken into account (e.g.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

demographic pressures, fragmentation of the research systems, lack of coordination in
decision-making etc.)

As already indicated, the agricultural knowledge generation systems must adapt to new
challenges in order to meet new needs and the role of agricultural research has become
much wider ranging. But for it to be effective and to explore, for example, the potential
of lead-markets, the research system needs to be able to provide swift and flexible
responses to new challenges.

Issues to be considered in addressing the agricultural knowledge systems include:
     Educational including university reforms; support for more interdisciplinary
      approaches; long-term monitoring (observatories) and synthesis of such data as
      well as out-reach and dialogue issues.
     In education and training, a career related to agriculture needs to be made more
      attractive and the multi-functionality of the agricultural profession has to be taken
      into account in curricula and in the skill development of researchers. Training
      needs to be more adaptive and reactive. Entrepreneurship in the agricultural
      sector should be stimulated through integration in the curriculum.
     The different time frames of science and policy development, or between
      conceptual research and the translation of research results into practice, have to
      be considered.
     Another important issue is human capacity which needs to be in place in its full
      range. Linked to this are education and flexibility questions and the flexible
      formation of local competence clusters.

These systems should be developed in a way to ensure a transfer of knowledge from
research to all potential users, in policy, industry and society and, in particular, to
facilitate innovation. This requires increasing efforts towards knowledge dissemination
and, for example, the development of researcher communication skills. The idea of
establishing (virtual) 'knowledge communities' to connect researchers and research
users should be explored. Also the roles of intermediaries/knowledge brokers and the
more traditional cooperatives should be looked into.

4. The importance of further foresight exercises

The various sectors of Europe‟s agricultural industry cannot afford to ignore an
increasingly competitive global market and the potential risk of losing market share ( as
has recently been the case for the pharmaceutical industry) The situation is further
complicated by many other challenging and interacting factors, and together, these have
profound implications for agricultural research, its organisation and the respective
policies setting the frame within which research has to provide its services

Forward thinking in times of great uncertainty about future developments is essential to
avoid being taken by surprise. The establishment of an early warning system, based on
regular foresight, would provide at regular intervals the scanning and assessment of
developments giving a better understanding and insight of existing and new challenges
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

so that they can be addressed in the most effective manner at European, national and
regional level. It will allow us to influence the direction and shape of European
agriculture and to spearhead a change to a Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy and a
sustainable society. The role of SCAR in this process is considered crucial.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Annex 1: Major drivers for agriculture (non-exhaustive list)

                                       Temperature
                                       Precipitation/Desertification
                                       Peak events
CLIMATE CHANGE                         Genetic resources to energy prod/cons
                                       Shifts of climate zones
                                       Water
                                       Tourism
                                       Biodiversity
ENVIRONMENT                            Fish stocks
                                       Land-water                                        technology
                                       Water
                                       Globalisation
ECONOMY and TRADE                      CAP
                                       Employment
                                       Competitiveness
RENEWABLES                             Energy
(incl. ENERGY)                         Material

                                       Demographic change (aging etc.)
                                       Consumer demands
                                       Lifestyles
                                       Tourism
                                       Role of agricultural areas for Urban Population
                                       Scepticism to new technology adoption
                                       Animal welfare
                                       Human (Food quality and safety)
                                       Animals (food and feed safety, diseases)
                                       Plant health
REGIONAL                               Regional development
                                       Research and innovation (translation)
                                       Infrastructure development
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Annex 2: Disruption scenarios

    Climate Shock starts with climate change and the acceleration of related
    environmental impacts as the driving disruption factor. This scenario starts with a
    primary business as usual scenario in which with differing geographical climate
    impacts, no European level action is taken, and a crisis situation ensues. A success
    scenario is built into it at the end, where positive action is taken on a national level. It
    underlines a fundamental challenge that Europe will increasingly face with the onset
    of climate change impacts on agriculture, namely how to coordinate European policy
    responses to diverse regional and local impacts of climate change bearing in mind
    different regional contexts and framework conditions.

    Energy Crisis focuses on the energy supply vulnerability of Europe as the key
    disruption factor and the acceleration of related economic and societal impacts as
    the key drivers. This scenario also combines a business as usual scenario, in this
    case a crisis engineered by the energy global players, with a success scenario
    developing at the end as a result of internet-based community empowerment and
    action. It implies a strategic research emphasis in the short-term at European level in
    support of improved networking of farmers and researchers. This is with a view to
    addressing urgent knowledge needs, instituting faster mutual learning processes and
    supporting communities of practice.

    Food crisis focuses on food connected to health and society as a source of disruption
    jointly determining a more community and consumer-oriented research agenda. This
    scenario combines an initial crisis situation with a success scenario approach with
    clear guidelines for an effective European research agenda. It highlights the
    advantages of citizen-oriented research where science and technology are
    effectively harnessed to address the real needs and concerns of citizens. The main
    priorities relate to quality, safe and functional foods for a range of emerging lifestyles
    and technologies to produce primarily citizen-oriented enabling environments for
    knowledge production and exchange together with socially-driven, environmentally
    effective products, processes and services.

    Cooperation with nature focuses on society and science and technology as key joint
    drivers evolving in a beneficially symbiotic relationship. This primarily Utopian
    scenario projects an ideal situation where science and technology have been
    effectively deployed to ensure sustainable development at all levels. The key to
    addressing these needs is the transition to local small-scale production and a
    shortened and more transparent food supply chain and use of Internet, open
    learning, ambient systems, creating more globally aware, sustainability conscious
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Annex 3: FEG main findings

Mankind is currently experiencing a combination of major challenges which have never
been experienced before, namely global warming, a growing world population and
changing demographic situation, together with ongoing processes of fast environmental
degradation. The major disruptions of Man-Nature relationships, namely the climate
change, energy, food security, social and knowledge drivers, are interacting in a
dynamic, complex and mutually reinforcing way, generating long-term impacts, cross-
impacts and feedback loops. The interactions between these and other driving forces
are building up slowly but steadily, and hence there is a need for guidance on how to act
in this period of increasing uncertainty.
     In spite of the excellent performance of Europe‟s agro-food system during the
       last decades, it appears that the European Union is now at the beginning of a
       major disruption period in terms of international competitiveness, climate
       change, energy supply food security and societal problems of health and
                   Disruption means fast change, resulting in both positive and negative
                   impacts. Therefore the main challenge facing agro-food actors is the
                   speed of adaptation and proactive responses to secure a European
                   lead in this area.
     Systemic approaches show that decentralised systems adapt themselves faster
       to change than centralised ones. A careful assessment of systems of agricultural
       research and innovation would be necessary to identify and modify the places
       where centralised decision-making generates rigidity, in research as in policy
       (subsidies allocations for instance).
     Decentralised adaptation relies on a high performance information system
       allowing the decision makers, each operating at his level, to use in real time the
       best upgraded data necessary to implement their rationality. Technology now
       offers the operational tools to put upgraded data at the disposal of the farmers
       and decision makers of the food chain and to allow an exchange of experience
       between actors.. Through satellite imaging and internet diffusion technologies it
       is possible now to build an early warning free access information system on
       climate change, and its long-term consequences for ecosystems. And this
       system has still to be developed and marketed and training provided to the end
     It is likely that satellite information through sophisticated image processing in
       different wavelengths will not prove sufficient to track the full extent of ecological
       change. To remind ourselves of the order of magnitude of change, present
       estimations of biodiversity range between 5 and 30 million different species, of
       which only 1.8 million are named and described. Detailed knowledge of all
       species might not be necessary, but wide basic ground observation systems
       need to be implemented and their results made freely accessible on-line in
       databases adapted to end user needs.
     The Internet is emerging as a powerful tool for facilitating the development of
       worldwide networks linking growing communities of practice in a number of
       agriculture-related areas and themes. The Internet not only changes the research
       framework and conditions, but also the link between researchers and end-users
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

         of research results. The Internet has the potential to facilitate a more proactive
         engagement of rural communities, farmers, and citizens in the design and
         implementation of ongoing research and knowledge exchange activity. In order to
         facilitate these interactions, eEurope strategies at European and national levels
         need to cater for the extension of broadband access at affordable prices to
         rural communities, farmers, citizens and other stakeholders.
     One of the major hurdles facing Europe in making the transition to knowledge-
       based agri-futures is the need to address the growing challenge of knowledge
       failures.. European agricultural research is currently not delivering the type of
       knowledge which is needed by end-users in rural communities as they embark
       on the transition to the rural knowledge-based bio-society. The problems are not
       exclusive to agricultural research but they are felt more acutely in this sector
       where the role of traditional, indigenous knowledge is already being undermined
       as a result of the growing disconnection with ongoing research activity. The
       social dimensions of the shift to the knowledge-based bio-society are rendered
       more complex by the demographic and mobility/migration factors. They call for
       new systems of education and knowledge diffusion and careful consideration
       of the implications for education as we enter a new system characterised by a
       shift from engineering, physical and mechanical sciences to converging”
       technologies (nano, info, bio, cogno...).
     Knowledge exchange strategies and policies, already in place in the more
       advanced EU member states, need to be formalised and given a higher profile at
       the EU level, as stand-alone strategies and not merely as complementary add-
       ons to research and innovation policies and good practices shared with other
       member states. Knowledge exchange policies differ from innovation policies per
       se, although they also inter-connect with them. The main emphasis of knowledge
       exchange policies is to ensure the relevance and accessibility of knowledge to
       communities, farmers, consumers, young people and educational institutions.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Annex 4: FEG Recommendations

1. The emerging trends highlight the need for coordinated EU, national and
regional policy responses to a range of challenges, affecting the world rural agri-
economy, as a result of the growing inter-related impacts of climate change,
environment, energy and food supply concerns, and the shift to a knowledge-
based biosociety. The predominant effects of climate change and the potentially
high impact of climate instability on agriculture and the biosphere will continue to
challenge the balance of basic agriculture functions in specific regions,
exacerbating in some cases regional differences. Multilevel European policies
addressing agriculture and rural development challenges thus need to reflect a
coherent, mutually reinforcing and yet flexible approach tailored to the realities
faced in different European regions.
2. The overview of emerging global trends, policy developments, challenges and
prospects for European agri-futures, point to the need for a new strategic
framework for the planning and delivery of research. The complex dynamics
operating between the domains of agriculture, food, environment, land use, society
and rural sustainability highlight the need for a new framework encompassing
research on agri-food and the related areas of environment and rural economies.
The framework needs to cater for four broad lines of action and a fifth cross-cutting
          Sustainability challenge : facing climate change in the knowledge-based
          Security challenge: safeguarding European food, rural, energy,
         biodiversity and agri futures
          Knowledge challenge: User-oriented knowledge development and
         exchange strategies
          Competitiveness challenge: Positioning Europe in agri-food and other agri
         lead markets
          Policy and institutional challenge facing policy-makers in synchronising
         multi-level policies
3. The complex, dynamic inter-connection of challenges, facing European
agriculture research from a forward-looking, 20-year perspective requires strategic
European policy responses right now. This will entail re-designing the institutional
framework for research and putting in place a two-track approach for agri-futures
          a Transition research agenda to address the more immediate
         sustainability and safety/security concerns and the radical transformation
         arising from the reform of the CAP, combined with,
          a more long-term High-Tech research agenda to ensure that appropriate
         high tech research investments are put in place so that Europe‟s agri-food
         industries and rural economies retain their competitive position in global
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

4. To raise the capacity of rural regions to generate, absorb and integrate research
developments into economic growth, a regionally-focused, demand-driven
approach to research and innovation needs to be developed. A basic requirement
is a dedicated funding system designed (i) to capitalise on the comparative
advantages of regions, by mobilising all resources available, towards attainment of
context-dependent and demonstrably attainable goals; and (ii) to exploit good
practices and models available in relation to the governance and delivery of
research, technology implementation and innovation.
5. In conclusion, the competitiveness challenge and the declining demographic
profile of the rural communities, combined with reduced global financial support to
agriculture, may lead the EU to adopt, under emergency pressure, a temporary
protectionist strategy (using the clause of the WTO treaty that allows trade
obstacles motivated by environment considerations (in the present case, taxes
based on carbon dioxide included in imported products, in order to contain climate
change and preserve biodiversity). But our conclusion is that long term, strategic
and institutional capacities in knowledge transfer, public early warning on
ecosystems evolution and decentralised creation are of even more central
importance in making the transition from a subsidies-driven to a knowledge-driven
6. Continued, active engagement in foresight is critical for enhancing the strategic
and institutional capacities of Europe‟s agri policy-making and research and
knowledge-transfer organisations.
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

Annex 5: Addressing research gaps

Agriculture, food and rural areas need to be studied as integrated parts from larger systems .
Agricultural research policy, the management of rural areas, and certainly food research can
benefit from integration with other research programming. The present separate governance of
the agro-food systems has increasingly negative effects. The size of the primary sector and the
social importance of food security may once have been very valid arguments for an almost
autonomous system of political and economic governance. But nowadays their future is so
dependent on factors lying outside of the control of agriculture, food and rural areas that barriers
to build strong systemic linkages at all levels (economics, markets, politics and research and
innovation) is necessary.
Climate change
    -    Adequate observation instruments to monitor and act on the effects of global warming, in
         terms of new cultivable land made available and how it is to be utilised.
    -    Management methods and technologies for mitigation measures in agriculture need to be
         further developed, if they are to be applied in a cost-effective manner. Some of the
         methods provide additional social and environmental benefits which need to be factored
         in (Freibauer et al., 2004).
    -    Links between adaptation and mitigation in agriculture to allow more prospective
         analysis, based on an interdisciplinary approach, where the research on adaptation in
         agriculture extends not only to effects on changes in productivity and economic viability
         but also to related environmental impacts of climate change and adaptation measures.
         Research on mitigation measures needs to extend from efficiency of such measures to
         examine the extent to which these measures and technologies are compatible with
         changes in climatic conditions and resulting changes in farming systems.
    -    Quantifying the costs of various adaptation measures and adaptation studies need to
         move from potential adaptation to adoption, taking into account the complexity of farm-
         level decision-making, diversities at different scales and regions, timelags in responses,
         and biophysical, economic, institutional and cultural barriers to change. The adaptation to
         climate change has in particular to be factored in as part of ongoing technological
         development in agriculture, including plant breeding, livestock feeding technologies,
         irrigation management, application of ICT, etc.
    -    The effect on secondary factors of agricultural production(e.g. soil, weeds, pests and
         diseases), the effect on the quality of crop and animal production, the effect of changes in
         frequency of isolated and extreme weather events on agricultural production, and the
         interaction with the surrounding natural ecosystems.
    -    Increased focus on regional studies of impacts and adaptation of climate change in
         agriculture, including assessments of the consequences on current efforts in agricultural
         policy for a sustainable agriculture that also preserves environmental and social values in
         the rural society.
    -    The full energy demand of the agricultural sector needs to be properly accounted for.
    -    Investments in the short, medium and long-term, the exploration, production and energy

          J.Leyten (2006) Expert Paper
          J.Olesen (2006) Expert Paper
Discussion paper: “Towards Future Challenges of Agricultural Research in Europe”

    -    Increasing energy efficiency, identifying measures to reduce the demand from the
         transport sector, promoting the development and deployment of technology.
    -    Prime immediate options for next 100 years: biofuels and other renewable sources like
         wind, solar, tidal, marine etc which are much more feasible commercially than hydrogen.

    -    Making use of new technologies to combine energy sources in an efficient way (e.g.
         photovoltaics with fuel cells or new large accumulators), especially in decentralised

    -    Agricultural nutrient abatement measures have received considerable attention in existing
         research. Future research should emphasize the practical point of view focussing on how
         nutrient abatement measures can be implemented and abatement targets achieved when
         heterogeneity of farms and regions is accounted for. Research should focus on the costs
         and benefits of nutrient abatement measures and result in the development of integrated
         tools that would take into account the ecological and socio-economic sustainability.
    -    Crop management in relation to climate change is a key topic of European concern. A
         priority is the development and further tailoring of climate models that would better
         incorporate agroecological and socio-economical parameters.
    -    Tackling the challenges in maintaining biodiversity at various spatial scales when the size
         of agricultural production units and holdings is increasing is an urgent research task. In
         addition, assessing the social cost of biodiversity loss in agricultural landscapes and
         developing new measures for promoting biodiversity in rural areas (e.g. nature value
         trade; conservation as a product of agriculture, landscape management activities) will
         require multidisciplinary research efforts.
    -    Assessing the economic viability and macro-level impacts of different forms of biofuel
         production. Furthermore, an integrated research approach is required to assess the
         green house gases and energy balances of different biofuel production chains. Numerous
         studies have been carried out with different outcomes, and much of the research in the
         field lacks an integrative approach.
    -    Research on the joint impacts of agricultural and environmental policies on the
         environment at the EU and global level is needed to redirect and build synergistic policy
The dominant traditional foresight focus on science and technology combined with the focus on
economic conditions and perspectives does not take into account systemic complexities and
incremental process innovations that are key to the development of agriculture and rural areas.
One has to be aware that foresight has its limits but can tackle many more issues than dealt with
up to now.
From a limited analysis of foresight studies (based on a review of those available through
EFMN ), there is a need for more foresights in the area of „food‟ and to a lesser extent for „rural
areas‟, and in both an emphasis on a highly systemic perspective.

          Mandil (2005)
          European Foresight Monitoring Network

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