HNV-Link Approach

The HNV-Link Thematic Network was conceived as an innovation brokering process, coordinating and stimulating 10 High Nature Value (HNV) farming Learning Areas (LA) through 5 work packages (WP). Our aim is to contribute to the sustainability of HNV farming areas by helping to build capacity in the LA to develop and implement innovations addressing their specific HNV farming challenges and needs. (Read more on the Learning Area approach in Newsletter 1.)

The project has four phases over its three year life span:

Phase 1: Framing the Network. The project engages key actors within the LAs following iterative and participative multi-actor approaches, to explore the situations on the ground, ensuring that the Network is truly bottom-up. It is finalized through a methodological seminar (1st Network Meeting). The key output is the Literature Review (see Outputs). Read more in Newsletter 2.

Phase 2: Shaping the Network. Each LA team, in close collaboration with local actors, carried out a ‘baseline assessment’ and set out a HNV farmland vision for its area. It also documented also identified specific innovation needs in the LA and highlighted innovations within the LA and elsewhere in the same Member State which may be of relevance to other partners. This led up to the Innovation fair (2nd Network Meeting), where LA representatives presented their best innovations to the other areas and chose those innovations from across the network which they felt best addressed some of their needs. The key outputs of this phase are the Baseline Assessment, Atlas, and Innovation Compendium (see Outputs). Read more in Newsletter 3 and Newsletter 4.

Phase 3: Using the Network. Each LA has created an action plan based on the 2nd Network Meeting and a prioritisation process locally involving the LA stakeholders. The plan focuses on two key activities: (1) regional/national meetings and dissemination events, and (2) peer learning through the Network cross-visits. The latter allow each LA to explore in detail how innovations and innovation processes which have proved successful in other LA can be transferred and adapted to the situation at home. Phase 3 involves active communication of the results from the previous phases so that the lessons learnt can be fed into national and regional policies. At this stage, the Network is also producing key outreach materials, such as an Interactive Map for public use, as well as Educational Materials for higher and vocational education (see Outputs).

Phase 4: Expanding the Network. The last phase includes efforts to enlarge the Network approach through new European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) and other applied research & innovation development projects, which would focus at filling the identified gaps, related awareness-raising, feeding into mainstream policy instruments. It also includes the overall assessment of the project’s process and activities through self-evaluation and reflection on the Network’s role and achievements. It culminates in the Final Conference (which is also the 3rd Network Meeting), which brings together the final results and promotes action for HNV-relevant innovation at European level. The key outputs are scientific papers, policy briefs, dissemination materials and seeds for new regional groups and projects. Phase 4 contributes to strengthening the EU networking on HNV farming.

WP1: Assessing baseline situations and needs

Leader: AScA

The main objective is to create a socio-economic and environmental baseline for each Learning Area (LA). The baseline information will include: institutional and governance setting of the area, biodiversity data, state of environment, relative importance of multidisciplinary/multi actor involvement etc.

Main outputs:

  • A typology of each LA based on socio-economic and environmental characteristics
  • A synthetic output which highlights both the challenges and success factors that need to be addressed in socio-economic and biodiversity sustainability altogether = Atlas - online
  • Indicators for future monitoring of socio-economic viability in HNV farming as well as its environmental value


The Baseline Assessment in HNV-Link project: the work leader Xavier Poux

WP2: Learning innovation from grassroots

Leader: EFNCP

WP2 focuses on learning about HNV farming innovation at the grassroot level. The partnership will find out what types of innovations and innovation processes are improving the socio-economic viability of HNV farms and communities, and what types of innovation are less successful in this respect.

Main outputs:

  • Development of adapted innovations (new products, processes, regulatory framework, etc.)
  • Reduced costs and increased efficiency of HNV farming systems
  • Co-innovation across different institutional levels through enhanced cooperation between different stakeholders
  • Innovation Compendium - online


Guy Beaufoy, of European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism and leader of HNV-Link's work package on innovation, explains

WP3: Communication and Dissemination

Leader: University of Helsinki

The main objective is to raise the impact of the project through promoting the uptake of the project results within and outside the project areas, effectively disseminating project results to groups of the identified stakeholders as well as communicating with a wider audience.

Main outputs:

  • Construction of a rationale for taking into account the specific needs of HNV systems in the context of innovation so as to help develop other projects to support HNV farming
  • HNV-Link project materials are available to open up new innovative pathways for HNV farming
  • Promoted awareness in vocational schools and advisory services on HNV concepts, project findings and the need and potential for innovating in HNV systems
  • Interactive online maps with innovation examples


What is HNV? Not a disease! - explains Irina Herzon, the project communication leader, University of Helsinki, Finland

WP4: Network coordination and stimulation


WP4 will ensure a coherent coordination of the overall HNV-Link network, while guaranteeing the efficient and dynamic management of networking activities. The objective is to establish multi-actor groups, at the level of each LA, acting as active innovation brokers, able to sustain long-term territorial dynamic on HNV innovation, exchanging best practice and up to date research results. WP4 will also ensure HNV-Link network reflexivity and deepening, through the 3 main Network Meetings (methodological seminar, innovation fair and final conference).

Main outputs:

  • Active peer-learning within the project networking/partnership during and after the project
  • Sustainable and active multi-actor groups focused on innovative HNV farming solutions
  • Achieving a common understanding at the EU scale of the issues and challenges facing HNV farming systems in the context of innovation
  • Empowerment not only of individuals/HNV holdings, but also of the institutions which impact on the sustainability of HNV farming


Fabrice Gouriveau of CIHEAM-IAMM, reflects on the role of networking and exchange in HNV-Link project, just after the cross-visit to Sweden

WP5: Coordination & Management


The main objective of WP5 is to ensure the overall administrative and financial management of the project. WP5 is an overarching work package designed to ensure the smooth exchange of administrative and financial information and data. WP5 will guarantee that the resources are made available on time to each WP and LA in order for them to implement their tasks as foreseen, and will ensure the communication between the consortium and the European Commission.

Main outputs:

  • High quality and effective management, allowing meeting project goals and milestones
  • Accurate, timely and appropriate record-keeping and reporting of both expenditure and outputs
  • Smooth exchanges and coordination of the partners ensure long-lasting links between the consortium partners