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How to strengthen innovation support services in European rural areas: lessons learnt from AgriSpin

Faure G., Knierim A., Koutsouris A., Ndah H.T., Audouin S., Zarokosta E., Wielinga E., Triomphe B., Mathé S., Temple L., Heanue K.. 2017. In : Transformative learning: new directions in agricultrual extension and education. Chania : ESEE, 17 p.. European Seminar on Extension and Education (ESEE 2017). 23, 2017-07-04/2017-07-07, Chania.

The EU AgriSpin project aims at strengthening European capacities for innovation in the agricultural sector by taking into account the non-linear, complex and context-specific innovation processes. Brokering functions and new services are key in supporting actors to innovate by facilitating interactions for co-production of knowledge, co-design of technologies, and identification of new institutional arrangements. This paper aims at characterizing the key innovation support services (ISS) and providing lessons useful for practitioners and policy -makers. Within the EU AGRISPIN project, we carried out participatory analysis of 5 7 case studies with a team composed of practitioners and researchers. We used a common grid to characterize ISS according to the different phases of innovation process. Based on our data we identified common patterns and drew lessons. Our results show that ISS depend on various factors. ISS are depending on the phase of the innovation process. First, during the initial phases, there is a need for innovative, sometimes not easily anticipated support services (e.g. network building, support to innovator). In the last phases, there is a need for more conventional services (e.g. training, advice, credit) both at farm level, value chain level and territory level. Second, the institutional arrangements set-up to provide services depend on the type of innovation, and the institutional capacities of the actors involved in the innovation process. With these first results we link AgriSpin to previous results regarding advisory services and multi-actor learning, and expand theoretical bases towards an improved understanding of multi-actor innovation processes and support services.

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