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22-23 May 2014

Annonce. © SenS

SISA 2 - System Innovation towards Sustainable Agriculture

Second International workshop on System Innovation towards Sustainable Agriculture organized by the Inra SenS research unit.

Mis à jour le 17/03/2014
Publié le 03/12/2013

This scientific meeting will address three main issues and cover several agricultural subsectors for emerging system innovations in the agro-food systems.

  • The issue of analysis : Analysing the relation between concrete projects and programmes and dynamics in agro-food systems, including system innovations, knowledge regimes and design practices that are currently ongoing in transitions.
  • The issue of acting : reporting and assessing collaborative action in system innovations, knowledge regimes and organizational design aiming at sustainable transition.
  • The issue of governance : Understanding how government agencies and other actors organize themselves and what they do to encourage and influence to make the agro-food systems more sustainable and resilient.
  • The subsectors include (but are not limited to) animal production/arable farming/conservation and biodiversity/agroecological systems/glasshouse horticulture/biomass production for fuel and fibre.

Key themes

Contributions should address one or more of the following themes:

  • Understanding system innovations in the agro-food sector, a.o..
  • How can system innovations in the agro-food sector be characterised?
  • What is the role of various actors in different phases?
  • How are barriers associated with system innovations overcome and what is the role of learning in this process?
  • How do local initiatives challenge existing structures?
  • What is the role of changes in consumption preferences in system innovations?
  • Knowledge regimes in transition, a.o.
  • What is the resilience of scientific knowledge production?
  • How do the ‘matters of concern’ about sustainability redefine the relation between scientific production and innovation?
  • What are the types of problems that researchers, engineers and extensionists have to face to address sustainability?
  • What are the characteristic and effects of learning in boundary settings and projects?
  • Influencing transitions in the agro-food systems, a.o.
  • What role do science and research play in influencing transitions?
  • What kinds of interventions of governmental agencies most effectively seem to ‘manage’ system innovations?
  • What is the role of the public versus the private sector, and how diverse are the positions of public and private actors?
  • What is the specific role of intermediaries and how do innovation brokers operate?
  • Design practices in transitionss, a.o.
  • What is the role of ‘system builders’ in different phases?
  • How are participatory design and settings of collective experiments shaped and implemented?
  • How do design practices stimulate learning towards system innovation?
  • What are the frames and politics of reflective practitioners in situations of change?
  • How do agency, discourses, frames and interferences contribute to perfom R&D agenda for sustainability transition?

Invited participants

  • Participation is by invitation only. Participants will be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts. The format emphasises in-depth discussion and therefore only 15 to 20 papers will be selected. Participants without a paper will act as discussant at the workshop for one or two selected papers. Researchers, whose paper is rejected, may still be invited as discussant. Contributing postdoctoral colleagues are invited to present their research in the form of a poster in a poster session.
  • The invited participants will have a variety of disciplinary backgrounds such as Innovation Studies, Economics, Rural Sociology, Science & Technology Studies (including constructive and interactive technology assessment studies), Policy Studies (including studies of network governance, learning and the impact of regulation), Organisation Studies (including studies focusing on management of structural change and leadership) and Practices based Studies.
  • To stimulate ‘fresh input’ in the discussions a number of junior scientists (Ph.D students) will also be invited in addition to senior researchers. We also seek participation from policy-makers and representative of cooperative and professional networks (app. 5) to bring in their experiences and ways of framing insights.

Format of the Meeting

The format of the meeting is meant to stimulate in-depth discussion of various issues rather than having many presentations and only brief discussions. To achieve this, the key features are :

  • Plenary sessions only
  • Intensive interactions among a limited number of participants (30-35). All participants will have an active role, either as paper authors or discussants or both.
  • Participation is by invitation only on the basis of submitted abstracts (for researchers) or known expertise (for policy makers).
  • All papers are written and distributed prior to the meeting.
  • Papers are not presented at the meeting but expected to be read beforehand.
  • Invited discussants will present comments on papers to kick off the discussions. Two discussants are invited for each paper.
  • The meeting consists of two kinds of sessions : 1) paper sessions focussing on a theme ; 2) ‘harvesting’ sessions without a paper submission. The latter sessions aim at teasing out lessons for governance and to define a further research agenda. They will summarise progress made at the conference and develop a clearer view on issues to discuss further. To kick off the discussion in the harvesting sessions, two persons will be invited beforehand to present their conclusions from the preceding sessions.
  • Poster session


The conference and its follow up will provide the following outputs:

  • An international meeting supporting the development of a research-policy network
  • Contributions by discussants and proceedings from two harvesting sessions
  • An edited book and/or a special issue of a scientific journal of the papers and discussions (provided that the quality of the contributions is sufficiently high)
  • A policy report with the main findings of the workshop tuned in a platform like white paper
Contact(s) scientifique(s) :

Requests for abstracts

  • State name, affiliation, full address and e-mail
  • Maximum 800 words
  • Abstracts should address issues and themes mentioned below in the “Background” section. Include : (1) theoretical framework, (2) analytical perspective and matters of enquiry, (3) empirical domain, (4) main findings, (5) discussion.
  • Deadlines: Submission of abstract, 17 Jan. 2014; Notification of acceptation, 14 Febr. 2014 ; Full paper due, 25 April 2014

See also

The book edited after the SISA 1 (Open access)

  • Barbier M. and Elzen B. (eds), 2012. System Innovations, Knowledge Regimes, and Design Practices towards Transitions for Sustainable Agriculture. Inra [online]  >>>