Action Plan to Include Agricultural Sector Under Horizon 2020

The study on the “participation of the agricultural sector in the BBI JU: business models, challenges and recommendations to enhance the impact on rural development” has its origin in the decision of the BBI JU Governing Board taken in its meeting of 13 June 2018.

From April-August 2019, the task force (EC-BIC-BBI JU) created to implement this decision, has worked together first to prepare the tender specification of the study and after that, to supervise the draft of the study.

Three meetings (kick-off, interim and final meetings) were organised to discuss its implementation with the contractor (Innovarum).

The final report was submitted on 9 August.

The objectives set for the study were: to undertake a detailed assessment of the participation of the agricultural sector in BBI JU portfolio, and to identify business models, challenges and recommendations to enhance the impact of BBI JU initiative on rural development.

The study encompasses different chapters, including a set of 28 recommendations, besides the assessment of participation of the agricultural sector in the BBI JU portfolio, the identification of challenges, and the selection of very interesting and promising business models.

While all recommendations are formulated so as to improve the participation of the agricultural primary sector in BBI JU projects (in numbers and in relevance), the implementation of the recommendations would also contribute to enhance and consolidate the participation of the agricultural primary sector in the bio-based sector and its value chains, to help the sector enjoy benefits thereof, and to maximise the positive impact of the BBI JU overall, on rural development.

Aim of this document

The aim of this document is to present to the BBI JU Governing Board a proposal prepared by the task force with respect to the implementation of recommendations proposed in the study.

As also mentioned in the study, it is not feasible to implement all recommendations at the same time.

In addition, some recommendations might address one issue, while potentially having a negative impact on another issue (e.g. recommendation 2.7 promoting the participation of farmers from different geographical locations might hamper the participation of farmers by making it more complicated both to find partners and to run the project.

This recommendation is in contrast to recommendation 2.4 on providing funding to smaller projects).

It is important to note, that the study suggests recommendations that can be addressed by BBI JU and its partners at operational level.

However, some of the challenges can only be tackled by promoting structural changes in the agricultural sector and taking measures at a higher political level that are beyond the remit of BBI JU. Recommendations at that level has not been addressed in this study.


After analysing and prioritising the 28 recommendations presented in the study, the task force suggests to start with feasible actions for BBI JU and its partners, with expected high and medium impact, to be implemented during the lifetime of the current BBI initiative (2019-2024). These recommendations are highlighted in green in the table. If the proposed prioritisation is endorsed by the Governing Board, the following actions would also need to be considered at this stage:

  1. Adjust (slightly)/reinforce the 2020 Annual work plan  in order to implement recommendations 2.3., 2.6., 2.8, 2.9 and 2.1
  2. Update BBI JU guide for applicants in order to implement recommendations 2.6. and 5.3.
  3. Work in dissemination and communication activities (improving visibility of BBI JU for the farmer community) in order to implement recommendations 5.1, 5.2.,5.3 and 5.4
  4. Further explore synergies with EIP-AGRI and RDP in order to implement recommendation 6.1.
  5. Collect recommendations from BBI JU projects related to regulatory hurdles in order to implement recommendation 6.2
  6. The rest of recommendations, if feasible, should be implemented in the context of a future partnership, if any, under Horizon Europe.

Next steps:

  • To implement the short-term recommendations (points 1 and 2 above): adjustment of the draft 2020 AWP and update of the guide for applicants accordingly.
  • To present this proposal to the Governing Board for its endorsement.

The task force could meet once per year to analyse the implementation all the recommendations and adjust it according to the needs of BBI JU and its partners, and in view of new developments. The task force should report to the Governing Board the outcomes of this follow-up.

New study out on participation of the agricultural sector in Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) & #bioeconomy.

Check the recommendations & follow-up action plan.

Read The Document

Action Plan and Study Primary Sector_publication


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