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The aim of this document is to produce a state-of-the-art of the academic literature in order to identify theories and concepts available for: a) describing the structure, the dynamics and the functioning of agricultural advisory services; b) understanding how these services are embedded into national Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS), and into various agricultural and rural policies across the European Union (EU) countries; c) providing some conceptual elements to support the methodology for an inventory of agricultural advisory services in EU 27 countries (WP3 of the PR
This report explores the role of rural networks in enhancing innovation processes, questioning the features of the agricultural/rural networks could enhance farmers’ ability to co-innovate in cooperation with other actors. The prospect of this investigation is also to provide interesting and significant experiences that constitute examples for the ‘European Innovation Partnership’ by increasing farmers’ capacities to create, test, implement and evaluate innovations in cooperation with other rural actors.
Recently, Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKISs) have gained considerable attention in scientific and political forums in the European Union (EU). AKIS is considered a key concept in identifying, analysing and assessing the various actors in the agricultural sector as well as their communication and interaction for innovation processes. Using qualitative expert interviews and organizational mapping, the features of national AKISs were investigated in selected EU member states (Belgium, France, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and the UK).
Multi-actors networks are increasingly used by farmers to link between them and to be interactively connected with other partners, such as advisory organizations, local governments, universities, and non-farm organizations. Given the importance assigned to the agricultural innovation by EU resorting to the networking between the research chain actors and the farmers, a strong focus on enhancing the creation of learning and innovation networks is expected.