What is EPI-AGRI?

The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) is an exciting and new approach to research and innovation.

EIP-AGRI was introduced by the European Commission (EC) in 2012 and focuses on the agriculture and forestry sectors. It is part of the EU’s growth strategy for this decade, with the expectation that it will contribute to the implementation of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

EIP-AGRI is one of the five European Innovation Partnerships (EIP’s) set up by the EC to promote rapid modernization by stepping up innovation efforts. Other EIPs are aimed at issues as an aging population, smart villages, water resources and so on. EIP oriented challenges and focus on social benefits and modernization. The EMIs support cooperation between partners in research and innovation in order to achieve better and faster results than existing approaches.

EIP-AGRI was created as a way to increase the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and forestry in order to allow the sector to better cope with today’s challenges such as increased competition, rapid changes in market prices, climate change , stricter environmental rules, etc.. To achieve this goal, EIP-AGRI brings together actors in innovation (farmers, consultants, researchers, business, NGOs, etc.) and helps build bridges between research and practice.

The legal framework of the EIP-AGRI

ЕThe EIP-AGRI is mainly implemented through Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, which provides funding for innovative Operational Group (OG) projects. COs are targeted innovation projects that address specific practical issues and opportunities tailored to the needs of the agricultural and forestry sectors.

The EIP-AGRI consists of a Member State (MS) component, with the RDP 2014-2020 financing innovative projects of actors in the field of innovation and a component at EU level. Both components are funded by the EAFRD.

MS RDP 2014-2020 is one of the main sources of funding for innovation in agriculture and forestry through Measure 16 “Cooperation”, which aims to support the implementation of the EIP-AGRI.

Measure 16 “Cooperation” of the RDP 2014-2020 in Bulgaria provides for the implementation of the following measures:

⇒16.1. Support for the establishment and operation of operational groups of the the EIP;

⇒16.2 – support for pilot projects, and for the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies

⇒16.4.– support for horizontal and vertical co-operation among supply chain actors for the establishment and development of short supply chains and local markets, and for promotion activities in a local context relating to the development of short supply chains and local markets.

The component at EU level consists of the EIP-AGRI Network, which aims to bind OGs, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, expertise and good practices and establish a dialogue between agriculture and the research community.

What is innovation?

The Innovation in EIP AGRI

Innovations within EIP-AGRI can be technological, non-technological, organizational or social and based on new or traditional practices. A new idea could be a new product, practice, service, production process or a new way of organizing things, etc. Such a new idea becomes an innovation only if it is widely accepted and demonstrates its usefulness in practice. Then it can only be determined whether a new idea has led to true innovation.

In short, innovation is “one idea that is successfully implemented.” Therefore, it is important to involve practitioners not as a research subject but as partners in view of using their entrepreneurial skills and practical knowledge to develop a solution or opportunity.

The RDP 2014-2020 defines the following definition for innovation: “Innovation is the development and implementation in practice of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), a new process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method, the organization of the workplace, or External links leading to economic, social and environmental efficiency. “

What is an interactive innovation model?

To speed up the process of developing and implementing new approaches, EIP-AGRI employs a comprehensive concept based on the “interactive innovation model”.The concept is based on collaboration between participants with complementary knowledge (practical, entrepreneurial, scientific, etc.) working together in innovative projects to develop solutions that put into practice and disseminate the results broadly.Knowledge is created jointly by practitioners, scientists, consultants, businesses, NGOs, etc. in a process involving the consideration of various dimensions, including technical, organizational and social aspects, which helps to bring science and practice closer together by applying a “systematic approach”.

EIP-AGRI was created to ensure that the activities of the participants in the field of innovation meet the specific needs and that the decisions created are taken by farmers and foresters. It better links CAP and research policy and works to facilitate the wider use of innovative on-site solutions and to develop a research agenda that is more tailored to the needs of farmers and foresters.

What is Operational Group?

Operational Groups (OGs) are the main instrument of the EIP-AGRI to turn innovative ideas into real practical solutions.The OGs funded under the Rural Development Programs are based on many actors who, on the basis of a joint project, solve a specific practical problem or opportunity that can lead to innovation. The OG is aware of this problem / opportunity and makes the best use of different types of knowledge (practical, scientific, technical, organizational, etc.) in an interactive way.

OG consists of those key players such as farmers, consultants, researchers, businesses, NGOs, etc., that are in the best position to realize the objectives of the project and to share their experiences widely. The composition of the OG is tailored to the objects of the specific project and varies from project to project.

The OGs share the results of the projects with the wider EIP-AGRI Network so that their achievements can be used by other people facing similar challenges in different parts of Europe.

Thes Working group’s  approach makes the best possible use of various types of knowledge (practical, scientific, technical, organizational, etc.) in an interactive way.

The National Rural Network works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to support and build a network between the Operational Groups of Bulgaria, as well as to study and disseminate information about the Bulgarian projects under the EIP-AGRI.

What is the EIP-AGRI Network?

An important element in the implementation of the EIP-AGRI is the EIP-AGRI Network, which is managed by the EC (DG Agriculture and Rural Development) with the assistance of the Service Unit. The EIP-AGRI Services Unit is the link between all partners in the Network. It coordinates various events – conferences, focus groups, seminars and trainings, as well as the interactive Meeting Room on the EIP-AGRI website, assists in finding project partners, answers questions, facilitates networking activities, organizes functioning of a subsidiary bureau, web site and database for EIP-AGRI, production and distribution of publications.

The EIP-AGRI network is expected to support the development of an EU Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Register through the EIP-AGRI website and project database (dissemination summaries).

The EIP-AGRI Network is an EU-wide network of agricultural innovation stakeholders (ie farmers, forest managers, researchers, consultants, businesses, environmental groups, consumer interest groups and other non-governmental organizations) supporting the activities. on the EIP-AGRI by ensuring the exchange of information and interaction.

The ultimate goal of the EIP-AGRI network is to stimulate dialogue and cooperation between science and practice and to facilitate the involvement of all stakeholders in the knowledge sharing process. In addition, the EIP-AGRI Network is expected to provide information on the OGs created in the various MS and regions to establish cross-border links and create synergies.
But the network is not just for OGs – everyone, including participants in multi-stakeholder projects and Horizon 2020-funded thematic networks who want to share and exchange information with other stakeholders on specific agricultural issues. The long-term objective is to develop a web-based database for EIP-AGRI as a unique EU repository for projects with practical impact and practical knowledge in agriculture.

EIP-AGRI Network Publications

An electronic database for agro-sector innovation

The establishment and maintenance of the electronic database aims to support the processes of promoting information on the results and achievements in the field of innovation in the agricultural sector and the food industry.Here you can find useful information on various innovative solutions, examples of realized EIP-AGRI partnerships, good practices and projects of innovative EIP-AGRI operational groups from the country and the EU, as well as various analyzes, studies and reports related to the topic of agro-innovations.

EPI AGRI 120 examples of agro-innovations_2019 ENG

Evaluation study of the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability ENG

Best Environmental Management Practice for the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Sector 2019_en

Standing_committee_on_agricultural_research_AKIS in Transition_reflection paper_en

RDP analysis: Measure 16 ‘Cooperation_en

ENPI analysis RDP analysis Measure 16 Cooperation Sub-measure 16_4_en

EIP_Research for the Commission AGRI_Environmental Impact of the Digital Economy and the CAP_2019_en

EIP_AGRI Network 2015_bg

EIP_AGRI seminar_Revolution of the data_new data-based business models in the food sector_2016_bg

EIP_AGRI_ Inspiring ideas_Herbivorous Project2017_en

EIP_AGRI_Report__Research needs from practice_2019_en

EIP_AGRI_infographic_short food supply chains_en

EIP_AGRI_Innovative projects catalogue _2019_en

EIP_AGRI_a booklet of examples of EU operational groups _en

EIP_AGRIEvaluation of operational groups  2019_en

EIP_AGRI_examples of AGRI Innovation operational groups projects2017_en

EIP_AGRI_seminar Data revolution new business models at _bg

EIP_AGRI_brochure Innovation in short supply chains_en

EIP_AGRI_brochure Operational groups Turn ideas into innovation_bg

EIP_AGRI_brochure_ Horizontal 2020 multi-stakeholder projects_bg






EIP_AGRI_agriinovation_magazine 6_en


Innovation.ruralnet.bg is an online platform for communication and exchange of ideas between the representatives of the advisory and innovative support units, including the established EIP-AGRI Operational Groups under Art. 56 of EU Regulation 1305/2013.

The Innovation.ruralnet.bg platform was created and maintained by the National Rural Network Management Unit in connection with the implementation of Contract No. РД 51-51 / 10.04.2018 for the award of a public contract with the subject “Maintenance and strengthening of the NRN National Support Unit of the RDP (2014-2020) “(briefly here the” Project “).

With the platform aims to create conditions for:

*active connection and communication between stakeholders – representatives of advisory units, innovative support units, farmers, processors, IT companies, scientific and research teams, established EIP-AGRI Operational Groups, etc .;

*demand, contact, exchange of ideas / materials / data on results and achievements in the field of innovation in the agricultural sector among those registered in the Platform;

*support and dissemination of projects of the EIP-AGRI Operational Groups under art. 56 of EU Regulation 1305/2013, as well as examples of EIP-AGRI partnerships implemented within the RDP 2014-2020 and in EU Member States;

*promoting innovation in agriculture, food production, forestry and rural areas;

*providing a mechanism for active involvement of the NRN stakeholders as well as potential members of the Agro-sector Innovation Network;

*stakeholder participation of NRN as well as potential members of the Network in the implementation of project activities;

* strengthening and broadening the scope of the Network during the RDP 2014-2020 period.

 Platform Innovation.ruralnet.bg. Registration is required.

Technical guidelines for working on the platform Innovation.ruralnet.bg


  1. When you first log in to the platform, select the “Register” menu to create your account.
  2. Fill in your details and complete your registration.
  3. Enter your username and password from the login menu and enter the platform.

Instructions for registered users

The platform Innovation.ruralnet.bg has several basic functionalities.

  1. In the Activity submenu you can watch:
  • what are the latest topics published on the platform;
  • do you have new messages received; do you have any friends invitations;
  • do you have any friends invitations;
  • the creation of new groups and their activity;
  • registration of new users.
  1. The „Groups“ submenu.
    This is where different groups are created, dedicated to different topics of innovation and EMI-AGRI. Within each group, topics and / or useful links can be posted for comments by members, as well as attachments that are accessible to other members of the group.
  • The “Groups” submenu are listed all the groups that you can join.
  • To join a group, first click on the name of the group you selected. When you are already in the group, click on the “Join the group” button to become a member and be able to comment on posts and share files.
  • When in Group, four submenus appear vertically to the left. Select “Activity” to see the latest activity and be able to post a topic.
  • To comment on a topic you have already posted, click the comment icon located in it.
  • The Files submenu allows you to share files in a group. Click on the “Upload a New Document” button and attach your file.
  • The “Invite”  submenu allows you to invite participants registered on the platform to join the group you are currently in.
  1. The “Messages” submenu. This is where all the messages you sent or received from the members of the platform will come out.
  2. The “Profile” submenu. Here you can customize your profile by changing your picture and name;
  3. The “Notifications” submenu. Here you can check when someone wrote you a post, commented on your post, etc.”
  4. ” Members” submenu. Here you can see all the members of the platform and add friends registered already.
  5. The „Settings“ submenu
  • In the “Basic” section, you can change your password as well as your email.
  • In the “Email” section, you can change the platform’s activity notification settings for your email.
  • In the „Group invites”  section you can see the invitations sent to you to join a group.
  • According to the GDPR regulation, in the “Export data” section, you may request the withdrawal of your personal data.

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