The SYAL ERG (European Research Group) was created in January 2008 after the decision adopted during the SYAL Workshop in Collecchio-Italy (12-14 November, 2007 – Parma Declaration) to promote research on LOCALISED AGRIFOOD SYSTEMS at the European level.
A cooperation convention was established between thirty institutions of eight European countries. All staff members taking part in the SYAL ERG research projects shall continue to be employed by their respective institutions, laboratories, research departments or centres.
Research activities of the SYAL ERG are dedicated to the following thematic areas and issues:
- Localised Agri-food Systems: Characteristics and distinctive elements of the concept, concerning the new challenges of the European agricultures. Sustainable development, preservation of biodiversity, environment resources. Localisation/delocalisation of production activities. Links between localisation factors and local economic activities.
- Links between Agri-food localised systems and rural changes: Territorial public goods, externalities and governance of Agri-food activities. Agri-food synergies and local territorial synergies. Public goods and multifunctionality, natural and cultural heritage, landscapes. Collective promotion of the territory.
- Local firms and institutional networks related to production, innovation, marketing and consumption: Links between stakeholders. Diversity of entrepreneurial and organisational patterns. Relationships of Localised Agri-food System with the market, agribusiness sectors and consumers.
- Territorial systems for training and innovation: Links between the local know-how and innovation. Territorial networks for research, development, innovation and training.
- Distinctive signs, territorial labels and certification processes: Protected designations of origin, geographical indications, organic agriculture, integrated production, fair trade agriculture. Rules, technical standards and organisational requirements. Quality innovations, territory and vertical coordination. Traceability and quality assurance systems.
- Food and gastronomic cultures: Economic and social values of the different food cultures. New relationships between rural and urban worlds. Rural tourism.
- Social capital, social exclusion and territory: Poverty, local employment and rural development. Colective action and cooperative enterprises. Territorial social networks and governance
- Policy instruments suited to the Localised Agri-food Systems: European Union policies and programmes. Comparison betewen EU policies and those in other countries/regions of the world.
- To develop scientific research applied to the local Agri-food development.
- To develop teaching and training oriented to the enhancement of knowledge and skills in this field.
- To provide a scientific basis to analyse and to give information on sustainable local development strategies to the public opinion.
- To provide technical assistance for the design of public policies, legislative regulations, public and private strategies and other types of frameworks for cooperation and negotiation between local actors.
- To serve as a platform for launching initiatives and projects for further European and international cooperation (for instance, the European Research Framework Program) on sustainable local development activities and Agri-food systems.
- To strengthen the cooperation with non-European countries to develop research applied to the problems of Localised Agri-food systems.
- To promote the publication and diffusion of relevant information and research results for the welfare of the civil society.