MIND STEP is a European research project aiming to improve exploitation of available agricultural and biophysical data and will include the individual decision making (IDM) unit in policy models.
WHY MIND STEP?
MIND STEP addresses the Work Programme Topic RUR-04-2018-2019, contributing to Rural Renaissance by further developing analytical tools and models to support policies related to agriculture and food. A.  Developing new models supporting policies related to agriculture.
Agricultural policies like the EU CAP are widening the scope to contribute to the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainability Development Goals. From the Commission's legislative proposals (June 2018) it is expected that the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be redesigned in line with this. Consequences are among others a move of the CAP to farm specific measures and an improved link to environment, climate change and ecosystem services. It is proposed that Member States and regions develop their own CAP strategic plan with more attention to the regional implementation of the CAP. This wider scope and measures with a focus on individual farmers ask for a new generation of impact assessment tools. Current state-of-the-art agricultural models are not able to deliver individual farm and local effects as they are specified at higher levels of aggregation.
The overall ambition of MIND STEP is to support public decision making in agricultural, rural, environmental and climate policies, taking into account the behaviour of individual decision-making units in agriculture and the rural society.
The MIND STEP specific objectives are
- to develop a highly modular and customisable suite of Individual Decision Making (IDM) models focussing on behaviour of individual agents in the agricultural sector to better analyse impacts of policies,
- to develop linkages between the new IDM models and current models used at the European Commission to improve the consistency and to broaden the scope of the analysis of policies,
- to develop an integrated data framework to support analysis and monitoring of policies related to agriculture,
- to apply the MIND STEP model toolbox to analyse regional and national policies and selected EU CAP reform options and global events affecting the IDM farming unit, working together with policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders,
- to safeguard the governance and future exploitation of the MIND STEP model toolbox.
The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research is concerned with the use, development and protection of natural and urban spaces. The focus of our research is on solving problems to do with the responsible use of landscapes and forests and a prudent approach to natural hazards, especially those common in mountainous countries. WSL occupies a leading position internationally in these research areas. We also provide groundwork for sustainable environmental policies in Switzerland.
WSL has, from the start, been active in all regions in Switzerland. In 1888 the first experimental plots were set up across the country to find out more about tree growth and yield. Today WSL maintains more than 6000 experimental and research plots, including large experimental stations for studying rock fall or debris flow, study areas for monitoring the effects of climate change on forests and sites damaged by storms or fires for investigating the impact of these natural hazards.
WSL is a research institute of the Swiss Confederation. It is part of the ETH Domain and employs approximately 600 people. In addition to the headquarters in Birmensdorf, near Zurich, and to the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos, branch stations in Lausanne and Bellinzona (opened in 1991) and Sion (1996) generate local synergies and reach out to professionals.
As part of an ETH Domain research institute, the Confederation requires the WSL to provide cutting-edge research and social benefits, particularly for Switzerland. One of the WSL's important national functions is to conduct the Swiss National Forest Inventory (NFI) and long-term forest ecosystem monitoring (LWF). It is particularly active in applied research, but basic research is also among its duties. SLF employees develop tools and guidelines for authorities, industry and the public in order to offer them support in natural hazard risk management and in the analysis of climatic and environmental changes. They also share their knowledge by teaching at domestic and foreign universities and by training other professionals.
From the origins of the European Economic Community (EEC), during the 1950s of last century, the Primary Sector began to be regulated through the use of the Common Agricultural Policies (CAP) trying to reconvert both spaces and agricultural production for the common progress of states members.
However, the realities and needs of the sector have been necessary for the CAP to adapt to the new circumstances in which it is appearing over the decades; and, for this reason, the European Union (EU) has focused its efforts towards improving the Primary Sector, such as the orientation of production and crops, to take care of the level of life of its members, so with the implementation of environmental measures.
From these efforts comes the CONSOLE project, focuses on promoting the delivery of Agri-Environmental Climate Public Goods (AECPGs) by agriculture and forestry through the development of improving contractual solutions (that is, the relationships between the public administration (at different scales) and the farmers).
SUPREMA: Support for Policy Relevant Modelling of Agriculture
Impact assessments in areas of agriculture are often based on projections delivered by models. Policies affecting agriculture are becoming more and more interrelated. So the need arises to improve the capacity of current models, connect or redesign them to deliver empirical evidence on increasing varieties of policy objectives, and also to explore future directions for agricultural modelling.
SUPREMA comes to address this challenge by bringing models closely together that are already linked through various platforms and networks. In this regard, SUPREMA helps to close the gaps between expectations of policy makers and the actual capacity of models to deliver relevant policy analysis.
The SUPREMA model family includes ‘core models’ already used in support of key European impact assessments in agriculture, trade, climate and bioenergy policies. The SUPREMA meta-platform of the core models, the enhanced linking and some key applications melt down in a Roadmap for future directions for agricultural modelling in Europe.
The project has four coherent objectives:
- A SUPREMA roadmap of future directions for modelling
- An enhanced and strengthened SUPREMA model family
- Exploring and testing Future directions of modelling in agriculture will be explored and tested.
- A SUPREMA meta-platform will be established, to share and discuss the findings of the work with existing model platforms, research communities, and policy makers.