Work Packages

WP1: Framing, Co-creation, and Dissemination

WP1 sets the fundamentals for VITAL by developing a theory-based analytical framework and a transdisciplinary co-creation and impact strategy. The framework defines the scope and understanding of SI, operationalizes SI into indicators, and develops generic scenarios for transformation to SI. The analytical framework follows a systemic approach for SI in applying concepts including resilience and those related to the bioeconomy. Land use systems as well as innovation goals of diverse but integrated food and biomass production and transformation systems are analysed for mutual relationships using literature reviews and expert surveys, capitalizing knowledge from FACCE–MACSUR. A co-creation strategy verifies the relevance of VITAL’s research, and supports the case study implementation (WP2 – WP4) and upscaling to national and European scale (WP5). A transdisciplinary impact strategy integrates project results towards products for different user groups.

Lead: agrathaer GmbH

WP2: Actors and networks in transitions towards SI

WP2 establishes the transdisciplinary grounding of VITAL. Transition processes (focussed on SI) will be studied in the context of actors and stakeholders in agricultural food and non-food systems. In a transdisciplinary process, the implementation potentials of alternative SI options are tested in different sites. The research will focus on actor and stakeholder roles and mutual relationships within actor networks. Methodologically, WP2 applies stakeholder mapping and social network analysis (SNA) to identify relevant actors as well as their relative relevance and influence in conditioning local SI pathways. Finally, stakeholders will assess current SI pathways in order to explore ways to overcome shortcomings and exploit potentials in a foresight analysis based on the identified pathways towards sustainable intensification by WP1.

Lead: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

WP3: Farm level pathways towards SI

WP3 identifies causal links explaining the mechanisms behind farm level SI pathways. Based on the analytical framework developed in WP1 and the insights on stakeholder roles from WP2, WP3 will identify driving forces and innovation environments for pathways towards SI based on farm level empirical data. Therefore, a survey of farm households will be carried out in all case studies. The primary data will allow linking farm characteristics to SI pathways as it will cover farm historical development, structure, specialisation, farm household socio-demographics, individual values and knowledge and choices regarding SI practices. The analysis aims to contribute to better understanding of drivers of SI like management innovation, technological packages and new practices; spatial framework conditions, such as geophysical and site related production conditions and market access, and relationships among actors and cooperation.

Lead: Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V

WP4: Landscape scale analysis of SI pathways

WP4 focuses on transition pathways towards SI at the landscape level. Past transitions are studied through different analytic and modelling methods in order to understand the land use system trajectories and their drivers and the role of SI in these. The likelihood, the sustainability and the feasibility (ability to trigger, realise) of different trajectories are addressed accounting for the environmental and socioecological context. A set of variables will be selected as possible drivers of land use system dynamics that include SI. Importance of these possible drivers for land use system transitions will be tested through a statistical modelling approach. Driver selection will be based on the results of WPs 2 and 3. Additionally, the operational exemplar sites provide concrete data documenting historic and on-going transitions and stakeholders will be actively engaged in development and assessment of feasible future SI pathways.

Lead: Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)

WP5: Upscaling of SI trajectories to European scale

WP5 concerns the scaling up of regional SI pathways. The WP integrates findings from WPs 1-4 by contextualizing these for agricultural areas in Europe and testing their relevance for large areas. Building on the framework and indicators from WP1, and the insights on actor roles, farm and landscape level pathways and drivers from WPs 2-4, the potential for SI at EU scale is explored. Constraints and opportunities for SI are upscaled using EU scale spatial data, thus identifying ‘windows of opportunity’ for SI. SI trajectories developed in cooperation with stakeholders in WP1 are evaluated for their contribution to food and biomass production and sustainable development upon large-scale uptake. Finally, priority regions for SI implementation are identified based on the windows of opportunity while aiming at maximum complementarity across Europe to maximize supply of food, biomass, and environmental outcomes. Global-scale displacement effects and environmental rebounds are quantified.

Lead: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam