FACCE JPI: Successful European cooperation

Louis Fliervoet was a  policy officer at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He was also a member of the FACCE Joint Programming Initiative from 2012 to 2015. He retired last month. In this interview Fliervoet looks back on what this JPI has achieved so far. He also looks forward to further benefits FACCE JPI can bring.

Merits of FACCE JPI
FACCE JPI is a huge success, says Fliervoet: “FACCE JPI’s main achievement is its successful European cooperation. Twenty-one countries from all parts of Europe participate in FACCE JPI and six new research programmes and networks have already been established.  Thanks to these programmes, research has been aligned within and between countries and open access to research and knowledge has also been achieved.”
“Without FACCE JPI this cooperation could only be made possible  by many bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation agreements”, Fliervoet says.  “With FACCE JPI, long-term cooperation between 21 countries is established in just one single agreement”.
“The Netherlands has a concerted approach of programming between government and researchers. This process usually starts with different interests.  On the one hand, government strives to maintain the comparative advantage of Dutch agriculture. On the other hand, researchers aim to advance science. Within FACCE JPI we successfully combine both aims”, Fliervoet says.

What can we expect from FACCE JPI in the in the future?
Louis Fliervoet mentions two important developments. First, FACCE JPI has proposed topics for new ERA-NET Cofunds. In the coming years Cofunded calls, in which member states and the EU jointly fund research, may be launched for several themes, including food supply and food quality; reduction in the emission of agricultural greenhouse gases; water in relation to agriculture; sustainable animal production and sustainable crop production. The newly formed ERA-NET Cofunds each encompass at least one transnational call for research proposals in their own research area.

Second, Fliervoet expects applicable knowledge to become available from MACSUR. MACSUR is a knowledge hub within FACCE JPI that collects research on livestock, crop and trade science. MACSUR’s work is organised into three "themes" crop modelling, livestock modelling and socio-economic modelling. Fliervoet: “Over the next two years these models will be applied to regional field conditions after which the results can be widely shared. This knowledge can then be effectively used in practice, for example, by policymakers.”

FACCE JPI, interesting opportunities for researchers
Louis Fliervoet argues that FACCE programmes are interesting for researchers who want to conduct research within a clear social context and who are focused on finding solutions. “The research topics within FACCE JPI are mostly interdisciplinary. In JPI research projects researchers in the natural sciences often collaborate with economists or sociocultural researchers. I find it is very important that researchers are able to look beyond their own field of study.”  

Advice for the future
“Research with impact must always be the common denominator within FACCE JPI”, states Fliervoet. “We must ensure that our end users get everything out of research.”

Interview with Dr Louis Fliervoet, Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands
09-07-2015 Herman van Keulen


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