Strategic time for INCREDIBLE NWFP

With twelve months to go, the INCREDIBLE project brought together partners and advisory board members to Barcelona to focus on the work remaining for the project’s final year and the strategic decisions to resolve in order to ensure maximum impact of the project.

Photo: Sarah Adams

Autumn brought a rich harvest of ideas and information as partners from the INCREDIBLE project met in Barcelona for their third General Assembly. The project, which fosters innovation in science and practice exchange via five networks for Mediterranean non-wood forest products (NWFP), is moving into its final year and, as such, the time was ripe for in-depth reflection on how to use the remaining time most effectively, for maximum impact.

Partners from seven countries attended the meeting, held at project coordinator EFI’s Barcelona offices on 16-18 October. The five Innovation Networks (iNets) gave an update on progress to date, which has included the identification of areas for research or focus for innovation, as well as the organisation of various Science-to-Practice events, seminars and interregional workshops. Attention now shifts to the lasting impact each iNet would like to achieve by the end of the project and ideas on the continued support for these vital networks.

Several working sessions enabled partners to advance considerably in various tasks that will be key to the long-term impact of the project. The longest was a session dedicated to the “White Book on NWFP”. This booklet, summarising policy recommendations on NWFP for European countries, will be the cornerstone of the INCREDIBLE Policy Forum, to take place in June 2020, where NWFP stakeholders and policy makers will debate the most appropriate policy measures to develop and enhance NWFP value chains in the Mediterranean context.

One of the sessions of the INCREDIBLE General Assembly at the EFI offices in Barcelona. Photo: INCREDIBLE project

A further session was devoted to the update of the communication and dissemination strategy, in order to prioritise project outcomes and outputs for dissemination and specifying formats and target audiences. Additionally, a session was dedicated to the “stories” that will come out of the project, looking to turn a report, summarising the lessons learnt by project partners on fostering innovation in the NWFP sector, into a user-friendly handbook.

INCREDIBLE partners were also glad to welcome three members of the project’s Advisory Board, from the FAO, SCP/RAC and LURESA, who contributed to the Project Management Team meeting with their knowledge and experience. As the project is moving into its final year, this was an appropriate moment for strategic reflection and their input was highly appreciated.

Finally, during the afternoon of the first day, the Assembly hosted a Responsible Research and Innovation Social Lab, promoted by the NewHoRRizon project. Entitled “Reflection Café on Multi-Actor Approaches”, participants could share their experiences, doubts and challenges faced when participating in projects using the multi-actor approach. Representatives from various current H2020 or past FP7 projects and thematic networks joined the workshop, including AFINET, BEST4SOIL, SINCERE, SIMRA, EURAKNOS, and BEWATER.

Now, after the rich harvest of ideas shared over three days, comes a year of hard work bringing them all to fruition.

INCREDIBLE is an Innovation Network open to all those involved or interested in creating economic, social and environmental value through improved production, collection, processing, marketing of Mediterranean Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs). INCREDIBLE is funded by the EU Commission H2020 framework programme for the period November 2017 to October 2020.

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‘Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation to highlight the value and potential of Non-Wood Forest Products to support sustainable forest management and rural development. INCREDIBLE is coordinated by the European Forest Institute, bringing together universities, research centres and professional organisations.