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Annual Meeting Pisa 2024

Five Key Takeaways from the FRAMEwork Annual Meeting in Italy!





Over the course of some sunny days from the 18th-21st April, forty-one representatives of the FRAMEwork project met for this year’s Annual Meeting. Consortium partner Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, led by Associate Professor Camilla Moonen, kindly hosted what proved to be a great opportunity to share work and celebrate progress. 


There was a huge variety of activity, from presentations on current research and output strands through to collaborative workshops on achieving impact and legacy. Read on to discover key takeaways we’ll be carrying forward from Pisa! 



1 ~ International Collaboration Builds Momentum


Highlighting diverse perspectives and leveraging international connections has always been a cornerstone of FRAMEwork, stemming from our interdisciplinary ethos and broad consortium.  Meeting in person allows us to see those principles in action, with conversations between colleagues from each of our partner countries moving things forward and opening up new approaches, below you'll find many examples of this!



2 ~ Data Updates are Invaluable


On top of the complexities inherent to mapping ecology in relatively short windows of time, data collection has been challenged by a number of outside factors like the pandemic. Nevertheless, thanks to the stellar efforts of our consortium the data pipeline is advancing.


Four years into the project, reviewing data together at Annual Meetings allows us to celebrate successes and troubleshoot challenges. In Pisa, partners discussed the status and contents of their biodiversity monitoring data at this stage. They drew out cross-project insights within groups examining key strands such as birds, insects and vegetation which are consistently recorded across the project’s Farmer Clusters.


Representatives from coordinating partner Hutton, GWCT and TAL held sessions on navigating data management challenges, preparing data for research publications and reviewing and developing publications emerging from this science. Lisette Cantu Salazar (LIST) also held a useful break-out workshop on biodiversity monitoring methods feedback. 



3 ~ Getting the Word Out is Important


On the second day of the meeting, Dr Graham Begg (HUTTON) and Alastair Simmons (TAL) expanded the focus further in a productive discussion on publications and their pathways, inviting researchers to share updates on papers currently in progress. A galvanising round table discussion emerged, highlighting a number of papers currently in the works with a strong breadth of subject matter - from the methodological to the conceptual. 


Participants were also challenged to collectively brainstorm new ideas, resulting in new authorial teams connecting over potential papers. There was a real sense that FRAMEwork insights are making their way out into the world!


Since the last Annual Meeting in Salisbury, a project team convened by TAL, UVA and GWCT has taken forward the idea of Video Abstracts -  media versions of research article summaries. This outreach is particularly relevant to FRAMEwork which focuses on research that can be applied or provide systems thinking. It’s also useful in a pan-european context where reaching target audiences in different languages is important. 


Laura Mansier (UVA) and Theo Simmons (TAL) presented on the team’s progress refining workflows, creating examples and onboarding project participants. Workshops were then held where attendees could draft scripts and practise filming. These enabled researchers to build confidence and leave with script drafts and a real sense of how to engage target audiences. The Team plans to build on this momentum by following up with keen participants.


This session interlinked with a further presentation from TAL, where they played the latest mini-documentaries produced on the projects’ Farmer Clusters and outlined the development of media and communications activities to-date and those ahead.



4 ~ Let's Synthesise Insights for Stakeholders


As well as speaking directly to farmers, FRAMEwork research aims to provide a knowledge base for policy and decision-makers. Going into the project’s penultimate year, this is something we’re continuing to develop.


At the Annual Meeting, work packages gave updates on the development of policy guidelines on different topics. These topics include land sparing vs. land sharing within Italian olive farming systems - where research suggests pest control is being challenged by increasing rates of land abandonment requiring innovative natural measures. 


There were also relevant sessions and workshops on key areas like: considering the financial future of Farmer Clusters in Europe with Dr Niamh McHugh (GWCT) and Alastair Simmons (TAL) and analysing the sustainability of Farmer Clusters with Trinity Ndlovu (HUTTON), Rachel Nichols (GWCT) & Claudio Petucco (LIST).


Sessions on the development of the project’s platforms and tools also proved galvanising. The project’s Information Hub and Citizen’s Observatory ‘Recodo’, led by IIASA, is developing into an attractive, accessible and rich resource for achieving impact and legacy. Meanwhile, the FEAST Decision Support Tool (UOH) has incorporated new data and features useful for land managers and policymakers making ecosystem assessments and land-use decisions.


The interrelation of digital resources like these with the project’s Data Hub (CREAF) and other resources will provide interested parties with applicable information from across Europe and the UK. It was great to see the latest updates on these in sessions from Gerid Hager and Lindsay Crockett (IIASA) as well as Dr John Tzilivakis (UOH) and to discuss further integration of project outputs.



5 ~ It Pays to Bring Abstract Discussions Back Down to Earth


All of these conversations left our brains buzzing with complex theory and the particulars of project activity. An olive oil tasting workshop with local Val Graziosa Farmer Cluster farmer Francesco Elter got noses tingling instead! Following field trips on the afternoon of day three also provided a valuable opportunity to return to the landscape and think about the context and application of our work.


We visited olive groves in the Monte Pisano region and heard presentations from researchers linked to the groves. Alice Caselli (Pisa Sant’Anna) spoke about her research on pest populations, demonstrating several different insect monitoring methodologies, while researchers from the group Agro-Eco Diversity presented their Eco-Olives project linking biodiversity conservation with ecosystem management.


Sitting among fragrant grass species, observing an abundance of insect life up-close-and-personal, with the Monte Pisano landscape providing a stunning backdrop, it was easy to connect back to the value of the work we’re doing together. This sense of purpose was deepened by a visit to Pisa’s nearby Natural History Museum, which invited reflection on the history of landscape and species’ evolution. 


Overall, FRAMEwork partners came away from this year’s Annual Meeting with a refreshed sense of what there is to play for, the progress made, and the work that remains ahead. We are all grateful to Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna for hosting an invigorating event.




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