To achieve its mail goal PRIMA Initiative will be underpinned by two ‘drivers’:
1. To advance existing knowledge and innovation for water management, food security, and food quality through long-term cooperation
2. To ensure the adoption of knowledge and unlock its innovation potential through end user-friendly and societally-affordable solutions
In order to achieve not only scientific but also socio-economic impacts, PRIMA intends to support the whole innovation chain to ensure that research results are translated into economic development. Previous initiatives supporting scientific collaboration on themes relevant for PRIMA, such as the FP6 and FP7 programmes and ERA-Nets, more specifically, have led to three to four years of research projects dedicated to various but disparate topics through one-shot initiatives. Discontinuous and short-term project time-lines didn’t allow continuity of research activities in order to achieve tangible impact and enhance real innovation.
Furthermore, several topics that are crucial for the Mediterranean require long-term research protocols, i.e. networks of observation of water dynamics to understand underground water trends, long-term cropping system trials to design low-input production systems, etc. They require continuous and stable research networks to be implemented, particularly because open field trials and pilot adoptions have to be conducted under natural conditions of an extremely variable nature. Also, PRIMA is designed as an Open Innovation initiative. Key issues of open innovation management have been addressed in order to identify the correct research, development and implementation strategies among partners, along the entire value chain, from new science and technology to the definition of new markets and adoption scenarios. Community of users will also play a significant role into the co-development of solutions.
As regards to the thematic priorities, and in accordance with the analysis of the main national research programmes highlighting food and agriculture as well as water and environment as the most shared thematic challenges, the PRIMA consortium has identified eight operational objectives (identified in the document submitted in December 2014). They can be summarized along 3 main pillars:
1) Sustainable management of water for arid and semi-arid areas;
2) Sustainable farming systems under Mediterranean environmental constraints;
3) Mediterranean food value chain for regional and local development.
All the 3 identified pillars are designed to ensure a long-term, economically sustainable, agro-food sector that safeguards natural resources. This is in line with the recently-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and with the forthcoming European Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS). PRIMA activities will focus on SDG targets falling under goals:
– 2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,
– 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities,
– 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,
– 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation,
– 12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns,
– 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts -and-
– 15 – Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss