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LIFT - Low-Input Farming and Territories

Integrating knowledge for improving ecosystem-based farming

A research project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme “H2020-EU. – Increasing production efficiency and coping with climate change, while ensuring sustainability and resilience” under the topic “SFS-29-2017 – Socio-eco-economics – socio-economics in ecological approaches”.


To identify and understand how socio-economic and policy drivers impact on the development of ecological approaches to farming. To assess the performance and sustainability of such approaches, taking into account different farming systems at farm, farm-group and territorial scales.

Project description:

Ecological approaches to farming practices are gaining interest across Europe. As this interest grows there is a pressing need to assess the potential contributions these practices may make, the contexts in which they function and their attractiveness to farmers as potential adopters. In particular, ecological agriculture must be assessed against the aim of promoting the improved performance and sustainability of farms, rural environment, rural societies and economies, together.

The overall goal of LIFT is to identify the potential benefits of the adoption of ecological farming in the European Union (EU) and to understand how socio-economic and policy factors impact the adoption, performance and sustainability of ecological farming at various scales, from the level of the single farm to that of a territory. To meet this goal, LIFT will assess the determinants of adoption of ecological approaches. It will evaluate the performance and overall sustainability of these approaches in comparison to more conventional agriculture across a range of farm systems and geographic scales.

LIFT will also develop new private arrangements and policy instruments that could improve the adoption and subsequent performance and sustainability of the rural nexus. For this, LIFT will suggest an innovative framework for multi-scale sustainability assessment aimed at identifying critical paths toward the adoption of ecological approaches to enhance public goods and ecosystem services delivery. This will be achieved through the integration of transdisciplinary scientific knowledge and stakeholder expertise to co-develop innovative decision-support tools. The project will inform and support EU priorities relating to agriculture and the environment in order to promote the performance and sustainability of the combined rural system. At least 30 case studies will be performed in order to reflect the enormous variety in the socio-economic and bio-physical conditions for agriculture across the EU.


17 partners from 12 European Union countries: Teagasc (Ireland), INRAE (France), VetAgro Sup (France), SRUC (United Kingdom), KU Leuven (Belgium), SLU (Sweden), UNIBO (Italy), BOKU (Austria), UBO (Germany), JRC (Belgium), IAE-AR (Romania), MTA KRTK (Hungary), IRWiR PAN (Poland), DEMETER (Greece), UNIKENT (United Kingdom), INRAE Transfert S.A. (France), ECOZEPT Deutschland (Germany).



  • Growing Organics 


Dr. Mary Ryan - Project Coordinator - Rural Economy & Development Programme, Athenry, Co. Galway 
Dr. Kevin Kilcline – Research Officer/Economist - Rural Economy & Development Programme, Athenry, Co. Galway  
Elaine Leavy – Organic Specialist - Teagasc, Grange Advisory Office, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath
Dan Clavin  - Organic Farming/Rural Development Specialist - Rural Economy & Development Centre, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway:

Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue- Dean of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies 

See also CORDIS 

Duration: 48 months - May 1, 2018 - April 30, 2022.
Budget: EUR 5 mln.

This research is part of the LIFT ('Low-Input Farming and Territories – Integrating knowledge for improving ecosystem-based farming') project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770747.

European Project Partners

INRAE (Project Coordinator) – French National Institute for Research on Agriculture, Food and the Environment, France www.inrae.fr

SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College, United Kingdom www.sruc.ac.uk

VetAgro Sup – Institute of higher education and research for food, animal health, agronomic and environmental sciences (Institut d’enseignement supérieur et de recherche en alimentation, santé animale, sciences agronomiques et de l’environnnement), France. www.vetagro-sup.fr

KU Leuven – Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Belgium. www.kuleuven.be/english

UNIBO – University of Bologna (Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna), Italy. www.unibo.it

BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (Universität für Bodenkultur Wien), Austria – Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Economics. www.wiso.boku.ac.at/en/afo

UBO – University of Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn), Germany – Economic Modelling of Agricultural Systems Group, Institute for Food and Resource Economics. ec.europa.eu/jrc/en

IAE-AR – Institute of Agricultural Economics of Romanian Academy (Institutul de Economie Agrara, Academia Romana), Romania. www.eadr.ro

MTA KRTK – Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies – Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Közgazdaság – és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont), Hungary. www.krtk.mta.hu/english

IRWiR PAN – Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of Polish Academy of Sciences (Instytut Rozwoju Wsi i Rolnictwa Polskiej Akademii Nauk), Poland.  www.irwirpan.waw.pl

DEMETER – Agricultural Economics Research Institute (Ellinikos Georgikos Organismos – Dimitra), Greece. www.agreri.gr

UNIKENT – University of Kent, United Kingdom. www.kent.ac.uk

IT – INRAE Transfert S.A., France www.inra-transfert.fr/en

ECOZEPT – ECOZEPT GbR, Germany www.ecozept.com

Follow the LIFT Project on the following platforms:

Website: http://www.lift-h2020.eu 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lift_h2020
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lift-h2020
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lift.h2020
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/project/LIFT-Low-Input-Farming-and-Territories-Integrating-knowledge-for-improving-ecosystem-based-farming-H2020-Project