Delivering on the EU Green Deal: What role for innovation and disruptive technologies in agriculture

The EU Green Deal seeks to “transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use”. The development of innovative solutions is thus of key importance.

There are numerous efforts aimed at achieving a more sustainable future through inventions, including in the field of agriculture, which is both strongly impacted by climate change and a driver of climate change at the same time. Its role is therefore key for a sustainable future. New technological solutions in the field of biotechnology for instance have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to make agricultural resources more resilient to climate change.

In addition to a solid framework for innovation, a smart Intellectual Property (IP) system is considered as being essential in order to promote research in innovative technologies. On the other hand, initiatives such as Open Source Seed have emerged which seek to promote sharing access to genetic resources in the field of agriculture. These initiatives are inspired by the free and open source software movement that has provided alternatives to proprietary software.

Stakeholders disagree about which model is best suited to deliver and provide for sufficient innovation for society. Are patent protection and open source incompatible alternatives, or do both play an important role to bring innovation to life?

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