Sustainable Intensification (SI) is a topic both supported vividly and debated heavily. It is regarded by proponents as a promising, and even crucial, development in light of feeding an expanding world population. Critique however hinges on the complexity of balancing what can be perceived as opposing critical needs. In order to realise sustainable intensification in agriculture, the challenge is to target optimization of these trade‐offs between critical needs. Next to a number of existing national networks several international organisations among which OECD (TempAg) and the FAO (GACSA) are working on sustainable intensification in agriculture.
FACCE-JPI acknowledges the importance of sustainable intensification in two consecutive Implementation Plans and in its recently revised Strategic Research Agenda where it is linked as cross-cutting priority to Core Theme 2: Environmentally sustainable intensification of agricultural systems and Core Theme 4: Adaptation to climate change.
The Knowledge Network on Sustainable Intensification is a new instrument being developed by FACCE-JPI. It is expected to be a broad expert community connected by a Committee of National Science Leads and Funder Representatives and an informal web of nodes and interactions. The network will be formed by ongoing projects, programmes and various national and international science-policy-practice interactions. Its general objectives are:
- to facilitate collaboration across Europe
- to increase return on investment of public R&D funding
- to create synergy and avoid duplication and
- to enable complex research.
The launch of the network is currently being prepared and foreseen for spring 2016 with a kick-off meeting in Wageningen. The initiative is led by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and supported by Defra and BBSRC and WUR of the FACCE Secretariat. To date, ten countries have expressed their interest in joining the Network.