Research project Encouraging Farmers towards sustainable farming Systems through policy and business Strategies

In progress ENFASYS

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Fleur Marchand

Fleur Marchand

Scientific director of Social Sciences department


Main research question

In current food systems, researchers observe multiple lock-ins that prevent farmers from moving to more sustainable food systems. The ENFASYS research project contributes to (1) a better understanding of lock-ins and levers in agricultural and food systems; (2) a better understanding of behavioral factors of farmers, consumers and other actors in the food chain; (3) more and better evidence on the potential effectiveness of possible interventions; and (4) a more structured approach to link knowledge to action. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the transition to sustainable and resilient agricultural systems by developing improved public (policy) and private strategies (business models, social innovations) that actually lower the threshold for farmers to change their production systems.

Research approach

Using system analysis and behavioral economic analyses, ENFASYS will investigate how possible policy and business interventions can have an effect on the farm and thus encourage the farmer to produce more sustainably. The effectiveness of these policy and business interventions will be tested in 12-15 countries across Europe through experimental studies (discrete choice experiments, field experiments and randomized trials) and system dynamic modeling. ENFASYS, together with stakeholders, designs innovative policy mixes, business strategies and social innovations. In order to maximize the intended impact of the project, we develop a tailor-made strategic communication and work on capacity building for all our target groups.


ENFASYS seeks to make a substantial contribution to the objectives of the European Farm to Fork Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy and Green Deal. This will be achieved by designing and stimulating evidence-based policy mixes, business strategies and social innovations. From 10 concrete cases, including one in Flanders, ENFASYS will learn which turn out to be the more optimal solutions to get a potentially sustainable production system implemented, when it would otherwise not find sufficient acceptance due to lock-ins.

Enfasys and eu