Further Information

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Your Contact Partners

Nicola von Kutzleben
Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas


Innovation Support Service for Agriculture and rural Area in the Federal State of Hesse

Agriculture, forestry and food industry contribute substantially to quality of life in Hesse. In addition to providing healthy and high-quality food and bio raw materials, the agricultural sector protects and maintains natural resources and offers a viable perspective for rural areas. Furthermore, challenging global developments such as climate change, demographic change, or structural change in agriculture require flexible and sustainable adaptation and advancements. Cooperation between research, consultancy and practice as well as high innovation dynamics are important elements for making agriculture, forestry and food industry sustainable. The precondition of funding cooperative developments as well as implementation of ideas and new approaches were created by the guidelines of the Federal State Hesse to promote innovation and cooperation in agriculture and rural areas (RL-IZ). The Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS) has been assigned to support the process as “Hessian Innovation Service Provider”.

Overall, four sections are funded by the directives:

A. European Innovation Partnership on Agricultural Sustainability and Productivity (EIP-Agri)

For the above-mentioned reasons, Hesse is taking part in the European Innovation Partnerships on Agricultural Sustainability and Productivity (EIP-Agri)

By creating a so-called ‘Operational Groups (OGs)’, innovation dynamics in the fields of agriculture, forestry and food industry are to be supported and innovation projects implemented, in order to make agriculture more sustainable and productive.

Furthermore, the cooperation of different stakeholders and the setup of clusters and networks concerning the following three topic areas are funded by Hesse:

B. Cooperation within the scope of short supply chains and local markets

C. Cooperation in support of activities in climate change mitigation and adaptation

D. Cooperation in support of local strategies which are not included in already existing measures of local development programs conducted by local groups

The adjoining information sheet gives you an overview of the different funding opportunities.

Our tasks

Part of our tasks is to support the OGs and other applicants as well as to accompany the administrative authority for EAFRD.

IfLS provides assistance from developing and establishing OGs to the point of applying and realizing projects. In this regard, IfLS links OGs within Hesse and nationwide.

Furthermore, the IfLS is responsible for publicity and providing information.

Recognition procedure for Operational Groups

The expression-of-interest procedure that is taking place in 2015 will already offer an opportunity to focus on specific interests of potential OGs and at the same time make use of the innovation service provider’s consulting service and start networking nationwide. Letters of interest can be sent via email to the Hessian Innovation Support Service Provider.

Prospectively, interested OGs can submit a plan of action which will be valued independently from the formal application procedure. The plan of action form can be found in the sidebar.

The formal application procedure for the recognition as OG is organized in two steps. In the first step, the plan of action has to be submitted to the Hessian Service Provider which describes the project in more detail and also includes a cooperation contract. The deadline for application is on 17 May, 2016.

The EIP advisory council – consisting of representatives from the granting authority, the Hessian Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and from practice, consultancy and science – will decide on the submitted projects corresponding to a ranking of available financial recourses.

Subsequently, the OG will send an application to the regional council in Gießen (the granting authority) before the first of August 2016. The approvals are to be issued from October 2016 onwards. For this reason, the projects can be started to realize still in 2016.

Basis of funding law

Basis of funding law is constituted by the “Guidelines of the Federal State Hesse to promote Innovation and Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Areas (RL-IZ)”. These guidelines of the federal state of Hesse can be found in the sidebar.