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Estonian Agricultural, Food and Fisheries Science and Knowledge Transfer Development Plan for 2015-2021

This development plan is a framework document that provides courses of action on how to coordinate and plan the measures necessary for the development of agricultural, food and fisheries science under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, links different funding opportunities and provides input to other organisations that manage research and development.

 

Mission

This Estonian Agricultural, Food and Fisheries Science and Knowledge Transfer Development Plan for 2015-2021 describes how to develop the agricultural, food and fisheries science and innovation in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

Vision

Agricultural, food and fisheries science is sustainable and offers good scientific support to economic operators and policy makers in order for them to make research-based decisions.

 

Overall goals

In accordance with the national courses of action for the development of R&D, as stated in the “Knowledge-based Estonia” strategy, the target to be set should be a reduction in the fragmentation in financing research and innovation, which includes examining the possibilities and need for a consolidation of measures (particularly taking into account the great dependence on the resources of EU Structural Funds and the need for a future exit strategy)[1]. These principles have been taken into account when directing the courses of action related to the financing of R&D in agricultural, food and fisheries science.

In the “Horizon 2020” programme, resources are focused on the three pillars that reinforce each other and comply with the three priorities of the “Europe 2020” strategy and the “Innovation Union” flagship initiative: the objective of excellence in science is to improve the level of European science and to ensure the continuation of world class research to guarantee the long-term competitiveness of Europe; the objective of industrial leadership is to make Europe an attractive place for investments in research and innovation by promoting entrepreneurship-related activities; and the priority of societal challenges reflects the political objectives of the “Europe 2020” strategy and deals with the common concerns of citizens of Europe and other places.

Support for innovation and improvement of the knowledge base in rural areas is one of the objectives of the Rural Development Plan for 2014-2020, the public sector contribution of which is due to reach at least 3.87% of total funding by 2020.

The goal of the Estonian Fisheries Strategy for 2014-2020 is to develop cooperation between research, development and educational institutions and the sector. This involves 5.8% EMFF aid to partnerships between researchers and fishermen and the development of human capital and networks as well as 5.5% of aid to innovation in fisheries, including aquaculture, by 2020. This is also in agreement with more general national priorities.

To increase productivity, more attention must be paid to research, knowledge transfer, cooperation and innovation. Innovation activities can be used to improve product development and the technological capacity of enterprises together with the capacity of research institutions to offer economic operators required solutions and to motivate researchers and top specialists through the actual application of research results[2].

Measures that promote cooperation can also be used to widen the prospects of engaging young people, thereby guaranteeing the future of entrepreneurship and research in the sector.

Coordinated cooperation between R&D institutions and the advisory system – as well as the involvement of agricultural producers and processors, fishery entrepreneurs, their representative associations and professional associations in the development of advisory services and packages – in the identification of research needs and testing means that the needs of various parties are taken into account and will contribute to the improved competitiveness of these sectors.

If the share of knowledge-based activities in agricultural, food and fishery business is increased along with political decision-making, there will be less chance of ministries, companies and scientists not being able to forecast future needs, thereby making it impossible to make research-based decisions or innovate.

The agricultural sector (incl. both the agricultural, food and fisheries sector as well as the agricultural science and development sector) is facing several additional challenges this century, including the following: food security, food safety, climate change, urbanisation, limited resources (fossil fuel as well as biological resources such as fertile soil, water, etc.) and the resulting need for more efficient use of these, preservation of biological diversity, reduction in food waste, sustainable waste management, plus changes in consumers habits resulting from the effect of commerce and media, and the market needs of an aging population (e.g. health products).

All this leads to the greater importance of international cooperation in solving societal challenges.

Due to the objectives of “Europe 2020”, important branches of agricultural science are climate change and resource efficiency, food safety, healthcare and ageing, environmentally-friendly production methods and land use. Scientific research must also be ensured in fields where it is necessary due to international agreements. In addition, research institutions are an important partner to the state when it comes to making political decisions because they offer competent scientific support.

 

Development plan objectives

 

Competent scientific support for designing and implementing common agricultural policy and fisheries policy

The decisions made by the state must be based on research. Therefore, the applied research programme for 2015-2021 is even more focused on financing research that is in the wider interests of society (e.g. studies necessary for supporting any research-based decisions the state will make).

Indicator: number of studies necessary for policymaking

Activities: commissioning of studies necessary for policymaking

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Veterinary medicine 2 6

ARP[3], MoER,SF, RDP

Food technology and food safety 3 8
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding 1 4
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 3 6
Horticulture (berries, fruits, hobby gardening) 0 1
Fishery, incl. aquaculture 0 4
Economics of rural economy 4 4
TOTAL 13 33
 

Competent scientific support for the agricultural, food and fisheries sector

There are measures in the Rural Development Programme to support development activities in the interests of entrepreneurship, good examples of these being measures that support innovation clusters and projects of cooperation between companies and research institutions.[4] The technological development and innovation of fishing companies is supported through two innovation measures where cooperation with research institutions is an important part of project implementation.[5]

Indicator: number of cooperation projects co-financed from the RDP and EMFF

Activities: co-financing of studies / innovation projects ordered by the sector

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Veterinary medicine 1 2 ARP, RDP and EMFF measures
Food technology and food safety 2 5
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding 6 6
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 3 6
Horticulture (berries, fruits, hobby gardening) 0 2
Fishery, incl. aquaculture 0 20
Economics of rural economy 0 0
TOTAL 12 41
 

Sustainable research community

To ensure the sustainability of the research community, the share of young researchers must be increased. It must be ensured that all research domains have stable progeny.

Indicator: total number of researchers with a PhD/number of young researchers with a PhD

Activities: involvement of young researchers in national and international research cooperation projects and offering self-development opportunities in research institutions abroad

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Veterinary medicine 29/9 31/9 IRG[6], PRG[7],
DORA, Marie Curie, ARP[8],
EFSA, private sector orders
Food technology and food safety 9/1 13/4
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding 22/3 18/6
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 71/23 59/20
Horticulture (berries, fruits, hobby gardening) 7/1 8/2
Fishery, incl. aquaculture 17/5 24/10
Economics of rural economy 3/1 4/3
TOTAL

158/43[9]

157/54
 

Modern technical base and infrastructure

Research infrastructure means the conditions, resources and related services that the research community needs to effectively advance science at EU level as well as transfer, exchange and preserve knowledge. Research infrastructure includes main equipment, apparatus, collections, archives and structured information – these facilitate the use of information and communication technology-based infrastructure for research as well as other unique infrastructure.[10]

The list of sites on the Estonian research infrastructure roadmap is given in the annex to the implementation plan of “Knowledge-based Estonia”, Estonian RDI strategy 2014-2020, for 2014-2017. In the field of bioeconomy, the Estonian Agricultural, Food and Fisheries Science and Knowledge Transfer Development Plan for 2015-2021 highlights the sites given in Annex 2.

To achieve the objective, we need to contribute to modernisation of the infrastructure and excellence centres of national importance referred in Annex 2 and to the establishment of a coordinated network of testing stations.

 

Estonian researchers participate in international research cooperation

It is important for agricultural, food and fisheries science to participate more in international research cooperation, because being part of various international networks gives researchers (and therefore also producers, processors and advice providers) the experience and knowledge that are important for their professional development and helps ensure research quality in conditions of limited resources.

Indicator: number of international research cooperation projects

Activities: participation in international research cooperation networks and projects

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Veterinary medicine 2 4 ARP, JPI, ERA-Net,
Norwegian-Estonian Research
Cooperation Programme,
Interreg, 7FP, Horizon 2020,
ERMOS, MOBILITAS
Food technology and food safety 2 3
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding 2 3
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 23 18
Horticulture (berries, fruits, hobby gardening) 0 8
Fishery, incl. aquaculture 1 6
Economics of rural economy 0 3
TOTAL 30 45
 

Breeding and genetic resources of collected and stored ex situ crops

The aim of plant breeding is to develop varieties that help to ensure the competitiveness of crop cultivation and processing. Such varieties have an extensive spread potential and are high yielding, of high quality and are winterproof. Different varieties are bred for food, feed and technical use. Plant varieties, breed material and popular-bred varieties are the result of long work, and these must be preserved to retain biological diversity and conserve cultural heritage. Lost varieties and species cannot be restored, because unsuitable storage conditions have destroyed their living potential. Some of the preserved items are only in the collections of institutions participating in the Collection and Preservation of Genetic Resources of Crops Programme 2014-2020. Ensuring animal health and welfare affects healthcare, food safety and food security and it prevents economic losses resulting from infectious animal disease outbreaks. Furthermore, animal husbandry and breeding also impacts on biological diversity, climate change and other environmental aspects.

Indicators: number of new varieties bread in Estonia, number of preserved varieties and number of preserved cattle breeds

Activities: financing breeding and preservation of genetic resources of crops

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding and aquaculture 0/0/5 0/0/5 National programmes,
breeding support,
endangered species in the RDP
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 4/137/0 7/216/0
TOTAL 4/137/5 7/216/5
 

Effective knowledge transfer, including inter alia advisory services between research institutions and farmers

Better application of research results and cooperation are supported under “Improvement of knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas”, priority 1 of the Rural Development Programme. In fishery, knowledge transfer and networking of economic operators and their connecting links are improved through two measures: “Partnership between researchers and fishermen” and “Promotion of human capital and networking”. [11]

Indicator: number of training, knowledge transfer and advice projects under the RDP, Estonian Fisheries Strategy 2014-2020 and the Ministry of Rural Affairs and its subordinate agencies

Activities: co-financing of training, knowledge transfer and advice projects

Field Baseline in 2014 Target for 2021 Financing instruments
Number of projects/activities Number of participation instances Number of projects/activities Number of participation instances
Food technology and food safety 42 1 026 50 1 200 MoRA and subordinate agencies, RDP and EMFF measures, other instruments
Animal husbandry, incl. breeding 62 1 243 100 1 200
Crop cultivation, incl. breeding 93 2 437 80 2 000
Horticulture (berries, fruits, hobby gardening) N/A N/A 30 500
Fishery, incl. aquaculture 16 631 20 500
Economics of rural economy, incl. collective activities 75 1 901 100 2 000
TOTAL 288 7 238 380 7 400
 

Notes

[1] “Knowledge-based Estonia”, Estonian research, development and innovation strategy for 2014-2020

[2] Estonian Rural Development Plan for 2014-2020

[3] Agricultural Applied Research and Development Programme for 2015-2021

[4] Estonian Rural Development Plan for 2014-2020

[5] Operational Programme of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014-2020

[6] Institutional research grant

[7] Personal research grant

[8] Agricultural Applied Research and Development Programme for 2015-2021

[9] Researchers and senior researchers with a PhD are taken into account.

[11] Operational Programme of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014-2020

 

Last updated: 15 May 2017