Research priorities

ORC has been involved in consulting on research priorities for the organic sector in the UK and also in contribution to the wider debate on what topics agricultural research should address, such as engaging with the European Organic Sector Research Platform TP organics.

Organic research priorities and projects in the UK

In 2005 Defra commissioned a study to identify and analyse issues and aspirations that organic stakeholders felt should be addressed by publicly funded organic food and farming research in the UK. A series of 12 workshops were undertaken throughout the UK, attended by nearly 300 stakeholders. These workshops used participatory approaches to identify and record the most important issues and aspirations from those attending.

A short article summarising the process can be found here. The full report to DEFRA can be found here and Organic Research Centre Elm Farm was also involved in a review of funded organic farming research in the UK in 2003, of which details can be found here.

TP organics – the European Technology Platform for the organic sector

Dr. Susanne Padel and Dr. Bruce Pearce have been involved in the TP Organics, the European platform for organic food and farming research which joins the efforts of industry and civil society in defining organic research priorities.

The main output of the platform so far has been a triology of documents:

  • A Vision for Organic Food and Farming Research in 2025
    By Urs Niggli et al. (2008). The Vision reveals the huge potential of the organic food production to mitigate some of the major global problems of the century from climate change, to food security, to the whole range of socio-economic challenges in the rural areas. A summary of the vision can also be found at orgprints.
  • Strategic Research Agenda for Organic Food and Farming
    By Otto Schmid et al (2009). The Strategic Research Agenda list the outcome of extensive consultations with stakeholders in Europe about specific research priorities and projects that could enhance the development of the organic sector in Europe. The document is the basis for suggesting suitable research topics to potential funders of research for organic food and farming, including the EU Commission and national governments. The full document can be found at orgprints.
  • The Implementation Action Plan
    By Susanne Padel et al (2010) addresses how to approach, carry out and follow up the research proposed for the best possible effect and completes the trilogy of key documents. It also takes the first steps towards outlining how organic sector research can contribute to Europe’s progress during the period of the EC’s 8thFramework Programme. The full document can be found at orgprints.

TP organic uses these documents to actively lobby for organic farming and agro-ecology topics to be recognised in the developing the European Research Agenda by organising events and participating in consultation.

More information about the platform can be found at the website

Further Publications related to TP organics in organic E-prints can be found here.


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