Development of EIP-Agri England Operational Groups – Uplands workshop Newton Rigg, 18th September 2015

 The RPA and Defra co-hosted a workshop with the Uplands Alliance at Newton Rigg College to discuss the funding opportunities under the EU European Innovation Partnership Agri grants scheme.

The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri) provides support to projects which show innovation in linking research with farming or forestry practices. It provides grant funding to operational groups to help projects that aim to improve productivity and sustainability.

As part of the Countryside Productivity scheme under the RDP there is £5m available to fund EIP Operational Groups. Grants of between £5000 and £150,000 are available for groups to come together to develop and test ideas to shared problems. The aim of EIP-Agri is to take research and develop it into a solution for a recognised industry problem in a new and innovative way. Its aim is not to fund primary or additional research.

Those who had submitted an uplands related notification were invited to the workshop in Penrith to provide them with an overview of the application process, more information on what’s available and to provide the opportunity to develop networks with other operational group members and develop ideas.


An Expert Panel consisting of Julia Aglionby (Foundation for Common Land), Robin Milton (NFU), and Samuel Boon (AHDB) discussed the current challenges in the uplands, the scope for innovation to help develop solutions and the benefits of working collaboratively. It was highlighted that in the uplands, it isn’t just about developing new technologies, there is a wider issue about how to take a new idea and make it happen on the ground and how to encourage people to take up new things. There were discussions around how innovation is defined and the importance the definition including the application of something we already know but in a different way/context in an innovative way.


Lord Inglewood (President of Uplands Alliance) attended the event and said a few words about why EIP operational groups were important to the Uplands Alliance and to offer our help and support. The aim of the EIP funding is very similar to the aims of the Uplands Alliance – to bring together practitioners, researchers and policy makers to work collaboratively to better understand the challenges and work together to find solutions that work for all.  These operational groups are a great opportunity to help start to develop new networks of people that want to work together to achieve a common goal. It is important that the ideas are developed in a coordinated way in order to maximise the outcomes achieved right across the country. The Uplands Alliance is keen to be involved so that we can coordinate and strengthen the work, avoid duplication and facilitate communication between groups, resulting in better applications and ultimately make a difference at farm level. The Uplands Alliance wants to help in any way we can, whether that be by bringing people together, perhaps from other parts of the country or signposting other areas of work – please let us know how we can help.


Another similar workshop is being held by the Uplands Alliance in the South West on the 28th October for anyone interested in creating or being involved in an operational group. If you would like to attend please email us at


The application window is now open until 2017. There will be 4 assessment periods, late spring 2016 (deadline 31st March), winter 2016, summer 2017 and autumn 2017.


Please see this link for details on how to apply.

For more information on how the Uplands Alliance can help – please email


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