Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-2020 Stage 2: Final Proposals

Stage 2 document setting out the final proposals for the new rural development programme period (2014-2020).

Section 15: Knowledge Transfer And Innovation Fund (KTIF)


304. Under the current SRDP programme the Skills Development Scheme (SDS) funded a range of innovative projects including the Monitor Farm Programme. The scheme initially focused on skills development but latterly was more focused on knowledge transfer.

305. In the stage 1 consultation 75% of the respondents were in favour of building upon the existing SDS and making it more holistic by broadening the range of opportunities available. Additional areas that respondents suggested should be covered included environmental and agro ecological innovation. It was suggested that it should also target a wider audience and range of delivery agents than previously. There was support to build on the monitor farm approach and to ensure that it is adopted more widely. Respondents felt that the fund should be fully integrated with other sectors and schemes and that it should be made widely accessible to third sector organisations, small businesses on the edge of urban areas and crofters.

306. Under the new programme it is proposed that the KTIF will continue to provide funding for vocational training and skills development in the form of workshops, training courses, coaching, information actions and farm visits. The regulations do not permit funding for normal education programmes at further or higher levels.

307. We will continue to fund monitor farms and similar types of projects in order to translate innovative approaches into agricultural and land management practice in order to promote:

  • Knowledge transfer and innovation
  • Enhanced competitiveness
  • Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems
  • Resource efficiency and shift to low carbon climate resistant economy

308. The KTIF will be aligned with the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for agriculture productivity and sustainability. The EIP aims to promote a faster and wider transposition of innovative solutions into practice, and create added value by enhancing the uptake and effectiveness of innovation-related instruments. It will also help fill gaps by better linking research and practical farming. This will ensure learning from across Europe can be potentially translated into innovative projects in Scotland, and learning from Scotland available to farmers and land managers in Europe.

309. Operational groups within member states will form networks and clusters to address identified issues and issue calls for proposals around key themes. The learning from projects once proven, will be promoted through the Advisory Service, Scottish Rural Network (SRN) and delivery partners with a view to feeding into revision of options and guidance.

Question 29

Do you agree with the range of options being included within KTIF scheme? Yes/No/No opinion.

Please tick the appropriate box in the online questionnaire.

310. The scheme will be aimed at farmers, foresters, crofters, land managers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and other parties interested in taking forward projects to help drive knowledge transfer and innovation. The aim will be to infuse scientific knowledge and innovative and best practices in all of these sectors.

311. LEADER and the Food and Drink Support will also facilitate the development and implementation of innovative projects and practices through their own specific arrangements designed to relate to those sectors. These areas will also tie in with the EIP to ensure Scotland and wider Europe can benefit from full cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Legal basis

312. The KTIF comes under RDR article 15 which is strongly linked to article 16 and article 36 co-operation.


313. Under the last programme the SDS was responsible for funding 53 innovative projects (SDS awards) totalling some £5m of investment. Up until September 2013 around 13,500 participants had taken part in workshops, demonstration days, training sessions and monitor farm events. Of these 14% were foresters and 86% were from the agricultural sector.

314. Under RDR priority 1, "Foster knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas" an analyses of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats was undertaken and following on from this a statement of need was developed:

"Continue skills development and take up through; improved co-ordination and integration of advisory services; increased focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and business management; development and expand monitor farms; develop stronger links to, and take up of, research, technology and best practice."

Financial allocation

315. The profiled spend over the current programme period for the SDS is £5m. Given that the proposals for the new KTIF are more expansive and will focus on a wider range of delivery agents and topic areas it is suggested that the budget allocation over the new programme period should be increased to £10m.

Options & purpose

316. It is proposed that the KTIF will provide funding for vocational training and skills development in the form of workshops, training courses, coaching, demonstration activities, benchmarking, information actions and farm visits. Those with responsibility for the KTIF will also be members of the EIP network.

317. The training, knowledge transfer, skills and information providers should be organisations already involved in promoting or supporting the development of land or business management. This could include public bodies. Staff delivering the events will need to have the appropriate qualifications and carry out regular training. Initiatives will need to fill a gap in existing provision or offer a new and effective way of meeting a training need. In relation to the EIP network applicants for KTIF funding would be defined as operational groups. The scheme will be aimed at farmers, foresters, crofters, land managers, people involved in the food sector and SMEs.

Link to other schemes

318. Discussions are currently on-going but in relation to skills there will be further funding available under European Structural Funds, directed towards further and higher levels of education. There will be strong links with the Advisory Service, the SRN and the Support for Co-operative Action. The proven benefits from the innovative projects developed through this fund should also ensure that improved practices to benefit the environment, climate and agricultural sustainability are rolled out further through the variety of schemes delivered through the SRDP.


319. KTIF will be targeted through the assessment of the merits of individual applications. We are also considering the benefits of focussing the scheme on key priorities to be addressed. This may be done on an annual basis given priorities can change.


320. Co-operative and joint projects will be strongly encouraged under the KTIF with strong links to the EIP. The KTIF will be administered from the advisory hub and will link in with public bodies as well as the SRN.

How it will work

321. The SDS under the current programme has benefited from a very simple application process involving the submission of an outline proposal followed by a full business case on acceptance in principle. It is proposed that the KTIF likewise would have a very simple application procedure. A Project Assessment Committee (PAC) will provide a forum to assess applications. It would also provide a forum for monitoring the operation of the Scheme and considering whether any changes in priorities should be introduced. It is envisaged the PAC Secretariat and Chair will be provided by the Agriculture and Rural Development Division of the Scottish Government, which would be responsible for overall policy and management of the scheme. It will include representatives from other relevant areas of the Scottish Government and public bodies and external stakeholders. Where appropriate, additional expertise or knowledge could be sought from other areas of Government and related bodies on a case-by-case basis.

322. The PAC will meet on a regular basis, depending on the number of applications and other issues to be considered by the PAC.

323. Operational groups will have responsibility for ensuring the results of projects funded can be disseminated through the SRN, Advisory Service and EIP. We will also seek to disseminate good practice through websites, publications, conferences and workshops.

Question 30

How would you rate your broad satisfaction with the proposals for KTIF? Please tick the appropriate box in the online questionnaire.

Very satisfied
Quite satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Quite dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

If you are dissatisfied please briefly outline your reasons (in the space given in the online questionnaire).


Email: Julie Brown

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