Last week, on 11 October, members of the Agrolink Flanders partnership met at Agrotopia in Roeselare to further map out the future. Agrolink was established in 2014 to ensure synergy in agricultural research.
Source: Agrolink Flanders
Agrolink Flanders, the umbrella body for bringing agricultural research together, grew out of the diversity and geographical spread of the research landscape in Flanders. In 2020, the network revamped its operation to further enhance cooperation between its 18 members. Since then, Agrolink Flanders brings together knowledge thematically in nine platforms, each time with two members in the lead role for a period of two years. In each platform, researchers involved exchange knowledge and ideas to align the research of knowledge institutions.
Alignment remains necessary
After two years in the revamped operation, the Governing Board brought together the leaders of the platforms. This should keep the thematic meetings dynamic. Agrotopia, the rooftop greenhouse Inagro commissioned just last year, was the host venue for a brainstorming session on the future of Agrolink Flanders. This showed that members see the knowledge exchange between the different research levels as particularly valuable. Moreover, a balanced composition of the platforms offers the best guarantee for optimal functioning.
The link between Flemish and European policy also remains important, as does the mutual alignment with the Platform for Agricultural and Food Research and European platforms such as ERIAFF. "Alignment ensures that research results but gaps in knowledge also certainly flow through quickly. Agrolink is also increasingly becoming the contact point for bringing together research questions in new themes, such as local protein and new cultivation substrates," says Mia Demeulemeester, president of Agrolink Flanders, since the end of 2021.
Action plan and annual meeting
Agrolink Flanders is now converting the valuable conclusions of the brainstorming into an action plan that will further optimize the functioning of the platforms. This is necessary to address the many challenges facing the agriculture and horticulture sector. "An annual meeting between members of the board of directors and the leaders of the platforms already seems to me to be a good basis for further strengthening the mutual cooperation," Mia Demeulemeester concludes.
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