“Filling the Gaps”: Spanish National EJP SOIL Workshop was a Success

Over 100 participants gathered to share, collaborate, and drive forward the future of sustainable agriculture in Spain under the EJP SOIL umbrella. The national meeting was a success say two participants.

Photo: Line Carlenius Berggreen

The Spanish National EJP SOIL Workshop, organized by INIA-CSIC at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid immediately before Mission Soil Week, concluded with participants calling it a major success. The event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to share insights and foster collaboration in soil health and sustainable agriculture.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Javier Renovell Sala, a young environmental scientist from CSIC working on the Into-DIALOGUE project, reflected on his experience.

"The national workshop was a chance to see a bigger picture, to understand how our research translates into policy and fills knowledge gaps. It's essential for me as a young scientist to focus my career on supporting real change."

For Javier Renovell Sala, it was important to meet policymakers and other actors that rely on his research for their work. He wants to align his own work in a way that meets their needs. He also emphasized the importance of networking and integrating research projects.

"Seeing all the different branches and projects under the EJP SOIL umbrella was eye-opening. I'm now more determined to align my work with the larger mission."

Renovell particularly appreciated the focus on methodology clarity for policy implications.

"You have to be clear in creating and communicating methodologies so that policymakers can trust and use our results," he explained.


Bridging Research and Policy

Elena Rodríguez-Valín, national coordinator for EJP SOIL in Spain, shared her insights into the event's dynamics.

"We had over 100 participants, including researchers, policymakers, and representatives from farmers' associations. Our main goal was to facilitate an exchange of experiences and results among these diverse groups."

The workshop successfully brought visibility to the project's magnitude, according to Elena Rodríguez-Valín.

"We've identified key research gaps in Spanish agriculture and soils. This event has been instrumental in gathering results and guiding our focus moving forward."

Both Javier Renovell Sala and Elena Rodríguez-Valín emphasized the need for more interactive time and suggested extending the duration of future workshops.

"The event was a success in my eyes. The only thing I would wish for next time is more coffee breaks for informal talks. That would enhance networking opportunities, an essential aspect of events like this,” said Javier Renovell Sala.

The workshop, hailed as a success, has set a strong foundation for future collaborations and policy-making in the realm of soil health and sustainability. Elena Rodríguez-Valín aptly summed up the event.

"Both researchers and policymakers benefit immensely from such interactions. They gain a better understanding of each other's needs, paving the way for informed policies and more targeted research."