4 June 2024

Prepsoil announces a webinar on smart financing for Living Labs and Lighthouses

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The first of two webinar events organized as part of the Prepsoil Project will be held on June 13. Main topic: solutions for Living Labs and Lighthouse farms, which are key players in the development of soil best practices

by Matteo Cavallito

 

In order to ensure the success of the EU Mission A Soil Deal for Europe, it is necessary to protect the long-term sustainability of Living Labs and Lighthouse Farms, which are key players in the development of new ideas and solutions for soil health. Achieving this goal, at the same time, also requires the presence of funding and other related elements.

These are the main themes that characterize the webinar organized by Prepsoil, a project, launched in 2022 and funded by the Horizon Europe program, that involves several partners, including Re Soil Foundation, in outreach and dissemination activities on the goals of the Mission itself. The event, (click here for registration) will take place online and will be divided into two different appointments on Thursday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 18.

Living Labs and Lighthouse farms

Launched as part of Mission Soil, Living Labs are research and co-innovation infrastructures that work on a regional or territorial scale by carrying out research and testing of innovative solutions. These solutions are then disseminated to so-called Lighthouse Farms, that is, those prime farms that are able to produce food and ecosystem services in a way that is sustainable for the environment and soil in particular.

These entities, Prepsoil observes, have historically faced some funding difficulties: back in 2011, in particular, a survey by Ulster University noted that more than 80 percent of Living Labs (LLs) “confirmed that access to funding had been a problem.”

For about 43 percent of them, “main sources of funding came from the public sector.” At the same time, “universities accounted for 14,3%; and private organizations contributing 10,7%.” In addition, “Also the European Commission provided for 19,6% of funding, becoming the second main source for the continued existence ofLiving Labs.”

Webinar program

The goal of the webinar is to “to bring ideas of smart financing and sustainability of soil health living labs and lighthouses, combining current research, services in place, and hands-on experiences of both matured and young living labs.” The two sessions, Prepsoil points out, are framed within the knowledge transfer and co-creation goals of the Living Labs themselves.

In this sense, Prepsoil intends to provide a map of these entities to identify potential partners for the creation of consortia within the Soil Mission and beyond. Other initiatives include the development of a taxonomy to classify entities based on specific criteria for each land use type, the writing of a report on business models for soil health as well as “a service package for increased performance and accelerated maturity of LLs & LHs, contributing to optimize the running of those entities.”

The Prepsoil Project

Prepsoil, which involves 20 partners including Re Soil Foundation, with the aim of supporting the implementation of the EU Mission and “creating awareness and knowledge on soil needs among stakeholders in regions across Europe.” It also aims to improve basic knowledge on the issue by working together with innovation centers on field and reaching a broad audience including universities, citizens, students, teachers, soil monitoring agencies and civil society as a whole.

Among its goals is also “the identification of existing soil needs in contrasting regions across Europe.” The project also aims to provide stakeholders with “tailored digital networking tools to connect and exchange” and to monitor “frameworks and soil indicators.” As a partner of the project, Re Soil Foundation is contributing in dissemination activities, communication, stakeholder engagement, identification of soil needs, mapping of innovative actors, monitoring, and promotion of education and knowledge.