MIND STEP addresses the Work Programme Topic RUR-04-2018-2019, contributing to Rural Renaissance by further developing analytical tools and models to support policies related to agriculture and food. 

Agricultural policies like the EU CAP are widening the scope to contribute to the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainability Development Goals. From the Commission's legislative proposals (June 2018) it is expected that the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be redesigned in line with this. Consequences are among others a move of the CAP to farm specific measures and an improved link to environment, climate change and ecosystem services. It is proposed that Member States and regions develop their own CAP strategic plan with more attention to the regional implementation of the CAP. This wider scope and measures with a focus on individual farmers ask for a new generation of impact assessment tools. Current state-of-the-art agricultural models are not able to deliver individual farm and local effects as they are specified at higher levels of aggregation.


The overall ambition of MIND STEP is to support public decision making in agricultural, rural, environmental and climate policies, taking into account the behaviour of individual decision-making units in agriculture and the rural society.

The MIND STEP specific objectives are

  • to develop a highly modular and customisable suite of Individual Decision Making (IDM) models focussing on behaviour of individual agents in the agricultural sector to better analyse impacts of policies,
  • to develop linkages between the new IDM models and current models used at the European Commission to improve the consistency and to broaden the scope of the analysis of policies,
  • to develop an integrated data framework to support analysis and monitoring of policies related to agriculture,
  • to apply the MIND STEP model toolbox to analyse regional and national policies and selected EU CAP reform options and global events affecting the IDM farming unit, working together with policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders,
  • to safeguard the governance and future exploitation of the MIND STEP model toolbox.


  • improvement of the capacity to model policies dealing with agriculture and related natural resources, food and international trade
  • improvement of policy design, impact assessments and monitoring
  • strengthened transdisciplinary research and integrated scientific support for relevant EU policies and priorities


The consortium of MIND STEP consists of 11 partners from 7 countries in Europe (the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Norway and Hungary). It includes partners from the private and public sector representing:

  • Academia and higher education (UBO, UCSC, WU).
  • SME dealing with research consultancy, data collection, strategic advice, normalization and policy in the field of energy, environment and sustainable development. This SME has also a strong track record in the field of communication, stakeholder engagement and exploitation (GEO)
  • Public government bodies dealing with agricultural and environmental research and data collection and building agricultural models at different scales (WR, IIASA, IAMO, THUENEN, INRAE, RURALIS, JRC)
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This project has received funding from the European Union's research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817566
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