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14. December 2015 15:04

RETHINK Final Conference held on 2 December 2015 in Brussels

All presentations now available

Since summer 2013, teams from 14 countries have been exploring differing trajectories of development and modernisation, and trying to identify potential synergies between farm modernisation and sustainable rural development. On 2 December 2015 the results from over two years of research work were presented and discussed among the ca. 100 participants at the project’s Final Conference (programme flyer). The audience was composed of representatives of agriculture and rural development organisations, administrations, universities and other research institutes, civil society organisations, consulting companies, as well as the European Commission and Parliament.

Opening addresses were given by RETHINK’s Scientific Coordinator Karlheinz Knickel, Institute for Rural Development Research at Goethe University Frankfurt/M. and by Elfriede Fuhrmann, RURAGRI ERA-Net representative and Head of Research and Development of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW).

Janez Potocnik, amongst others Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel, then drew the ‘bigger picture’ through a very positively received keynote. Particularly remarkable in his presentation were the connections he made with the questions raised in RETHINK and some of the project’s key findings. Elke Rogge, ILVO Vlaanderen and University of Ghent (Belgium), and Sandra Šumane, Baltic Studies Centre (Latvia), then represented some key results on RETHINK’s cross-cutting themes of Governance and Knowledge & Learning. Conference participants were given the opportunity to zoom in closer on the individual stories and key lessons from the 14 case studies conducted in the EU as well as Israel and Turkey during a lunch and ‘telling stories’ posters session.

The afternoon was dedicated to an interactive ‘fishbowl’ session where RETHINK researchers and other participants engaged in a very lively discussion facilitated by Mark Redman from Highclere Consulting SRL. Key issues included the discussion of different development trajectories in agriculture, the governance of science-practice interactions, the importance of making connections across disciplines, economic sectors and sector policies, and the manifold opportunities for research, policy and practice in sustainable agriculture and rural development outside mainstream thinking and acting.

Concluding talks by Rob Peters, Head of Research and Innovation in DG Agri and Lukas Visek, Unit Agricultural Policy Analysis and Perspectives of DG Agri highlighted some of the opportunities for innovation and policy development discussed during the day and connected these with current initiatives in the European Commission.

Presentations and other materials from the Final Conference are available Opens internal link in current windowhere.