Scientific details

LIAISON aims to make a significant and meaningful contribution to optimising interactive innovation project approaches and the delivery of EU policies to speed up innovation in agriculture, forestry and associated value chains.

The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was launched by the European Commission in 2012.  The core concept promoted and facilitated by the EIP-AGRI is the ‘interactive innovation approach’.  

This is an exciting new approach that’s already working well in EIP-AGRI Operational Groups and Horizon 2020 multi-actor projects, but there is potential for it to work even better.

The overall goal of the LIAISON project is to help improve and optimise the future implementation of the EIP-AGRI by developing and disseminating better understanding of the factors that both enhance and hinder interactive innovation in practice.  This includes identifying the optimal governance structures for fostering co-design and co-creation.

Research is being undertaken on a carefully selected range of interactive innovation projects that are both:

  • Currently supported under the EIP-AGRI, notably the Operational Groups and Multi-actor Projects funded respectively by a) national / regional implementation of EU rural development policy and b) the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme;
  • Set-up and running outside of the funding framework of the EIP-AGRI.

Our work is based on a mixed-method approach that takes account of the cultural, social, economic and institutional diversity that exists in the conditions influencing the success of the interactive innovation approach across Europe and beyond. 

One unique and valuable element of our work is the co-creation of practice-ready recommendations and tools / methods based upon the practical knowledge of our diverse consortium and our own experiences working together in partnership as a Horizon 2020 multi-actor project.


LIAISON has seven principal work packages (WPs):

  • WP1 develops a co-designed conceptual framework during the lifetime of the project that ensures a shared, but versatile understanding of the key terms and concepts that we are working with;
  • WP2 aims to enhance the participatory methods we use to work together within the LIAISON project and feeds into our practice-ready recommendations and tools / methods;
  • WP3 involves a ‘light-touch’ review of 200 projects and initiatives through which we assess the contemporary landscape of interactive projects at national and European level. This process is enriched greatly by our European Rural Innovation Contest (EURIC) which makes visible a significant number of ‘under-the-radar’ projects and initiatives for critical examination;
  • WP4 narrows down and builds upon the fieldwork undertaken in WP3. It guides the in-depth assessment of 32 interactive innovation projects in a range of sectors and countries;
  • WP5 aims to develop, test and enhance methods for assessing the effectiveness and impact of interactive innovation projects and initiatives;
  • WP6 performs the critical function of integrating all findings and synthesising the main recommendations. This includes the co-ordination of four macro-regional stakeholder groups that ensure the embedding of LIAISON in the cultural, social, economic and institutional diversity of Europe;
  • WP7 brings practitioners and stakeholders to the project and facilitates the dissemination and exploitation of project results via various communication channels.