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PLAID Peer-to-peer Learning: Accessing Innovation through Demonstration

PLAID Organisations

The PLAID project which launched in January 2017 is funded by the European Union under Horizon 2020. The project aims to increase the innovativeness and sustainability of European agriculture by enabling a wider range of farmers and farm employees to access high quality peer-to-peer learning opportunities on commercial farms. Demonstration activities have been key knowledge exchange mechanisms in agriculture for over 100 years. Recent research has demonstrated consistently that “other farmers” are farmers’ most frequently reported source of information.

Project Objectives

  • To develop a conceptual framework  through  multi-actor  and  multi-stakeholder  interaction,  empirical  assessment  and critical evaluation of contemporary and emergent demonstration farming activities (WP2).
  • To produce a comprehensive database and search tool that usefully classifies and locates the numerous types of farms and supporting organisations  engaged  in  demonstration activities  on farms  in Europe (WP3).
  • To produce sets of best practices for different types of demonstration which are applicable across a range of national and regional settings. This will lead to guidelines, indicators and decision-support tools (WP3-6).
  • To assess the utility of the governance and funding mechanisms supporting demonstration on farms across Europe and develop recommendations for policies on how to support effective demonstration, both within and outside of traditional agricultural knowledge systems (WP3, WP5, WP6).
  • To identify, assess and publicise the innovative approaches to demonstration currently underway in Europe (WP3-7). In particular, PLAID  will  assess  and further  develop  the  potential  of  ‘virtual  demonstration’  with commercial farmers (WP4).
  • To assess the equity of access to demonstration activities, in relation to gender, age, location, employment status and farming type, leading to recommendations, evaluation indicators and targeted decision-support tools (WP3-6).
  • To add value to the European Innovation Partnership “Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability” through integration of the inventory to its database and involving EIP Focus Groups, Operational Groups and Rural Development Plan Managing Authorities in PLAID activities (WP7).
  • To establish the foundations for a more integrated ‘demonstration’ community in European Farming Systems through multi-stakeholder activities and community-building activities (WP7).

Further Information

The PLAID project will achieve these objectives through actively involving farmers; public, private and charitable agricultural advisors; agricultural educators; researchers from multiple disciplines; agricultural equipment and input suppliers; policy makers and NGOs specialising in facilitating demonstration activities (multi-actor approach).   The institutions in the PLAID consortium have their own demonstration farms and/or have substantial experience with organising demonstration activities on commercial farms.

SEGS Staff involved

Lee-Ann Sutherland (Project Coordinator); Orla Shortall; Claire Hardy

PLAID colleagues at the start up meeting held in Ghent.

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.