Ager is the first Agri-food Research Project promoted by a Partnership of Foundations that pursue agri-food sector growth by funding scientific research in that field. The 13 foundations in the Partnership have allocated in the aggregate nearly €30 million for this project.
Under Ager the Foundations fund research in the following segments:
1. fruits & vegetables (apples, pears and meal-ready produce)
2. cereal crops (durum wheat and rice)
3. grape-growing & wine-making
4. animal husbandry (hog farming value chain)
Priority is given to research with the potential to yield major innovative applications and lead to improved production processes, development of novel technology, promotion and enhancement of the value of human capital in a sector which is made up of over 270,000 establishments, employs 1,650,000 people and posts annual sales of over €180 billion, accounting for 12% of Italy’s GDP and 22% of Italian exports.
Ager is intended to fund collaborative research projects that bring together players in the field, universities and research centers, either private or public, leveraging their networks which are often already in place.
Spanning three years, Ager is coordinated by the temporary special purpose vehicle whereby the Foundations partnership operates, run by a Management Committee and a Scientific Committee. Composed of 12 members, the Management Committee is responsible for planning activities, resources, tools and implementation as well as for approving the accounts. The Management Committee has the authority to appoint external advisors. The Scientific Committee consists of 24 members (scientists, professors of economics and agro-food related subjects, business leaders) and is responsible for guidance, follow-up and evaluation of results.
The first “call for ideas” was launched in December 2008.