Conceptual framework

In common with many other Horizon 2020 projects, one of the first steps in LIAISON has been the development of a robust theoretical basis for the project – a so-called ‘conceptual framework’.   


Innovation is a complex concept that often means different things to different people. 

One of the main purposes of the conceptual framework is to establish clear definitions and common understanding of the specific terms that we use in the LIAISON project, as well as those that are used more generally to describe the different types of innovation commonly encountered in agriculture, forestry and rural development.


The LIAISON project sets out to examine the very specific concepts of ‘interactive innovation’ and the ‘multi-actor approach’ to research and innovation – what we describe more generally as “working in partnership for innovation”. 

There are numerous processes involved both in the formation of such partnerships and in the subsequent co-creation and dissemination of new ideas that have real application in agriculture, forestry and rural development. 

The LIAISON conceptual framework takes care to identify and define these processes in order a) to establish a robust basis for their empirical investigation and b) to identify relevant practical actions and policy interventions to facilitate and foster them in the full diversity of rural context that exists in the EU.  


The LIAISON project aims specifically to address the challenge of ‘optimising’ the interactive innovation project approach and the improved delivery of EU policies to speed up innovation in rural areas. 

The conceptual framework explores this notion of ‘optimisation’ by drawing on the extensive body of scientific and policy literature available at national, European and international level. Consideration of the situation outside of the EIP-AGRI policy framework is especially important for enriching our thinking.

Finally, the conceptual framework helps to provide a benchmark against which policies and practices for optimising interactive innovation can be evaluated.