The Fondazione Cariplo is an Italian banking foundation established in 1991 in Milan. Among the main grant-making areas are Environment and Scientific Research, in which the foundation supports projects in Lombardy that serve the common good and the construction of a sustainable and just society.
AGER Food and Research Project
Scientific knowledge from various disciplines has not just enhanced the understanding of the dynamics of climate change. It is also vital in finding solutions across different sectors.
One of the foundation's priorities in funding Research & Development is to contribute to sustainable food production and find strategies that alleviate the negative effects of climate change on agriculture. In addition, the Fondazione Cariplo is committed to enhancing the climate resilience of cities in Lombardy. In this context, the foundation promotes the dissemination of research results to public institutions and citizens. This translation of scientific insights is crucial in the development of municipal climate strategies and in the societal transformation.
Application in Practice
One of the Fondazione Cariplo’s major funding programmes is AGER (Agri-Food & Research). Since 2008, 32 projects have been funded with the aim of promoting the emergence of sustainable technologies in the agri-food sector. As an example, the programme supports research on the effects of climate change on glaciers, which provide valuable water for irrigation, and pastoral farming in Lombardy. It is the largest agri-food research programme in Europe, carried out by 18 Italian foundations.
As part of its F2C programme (Fondazione Cariplo for Climate), the foundation promotes initiatives to improve knowledge and awareness of climate change among institutions and the public. One of these initiatives is ClimaMi, which brings together climatologists with architects, engineers and technicians to develop science-based climate data for Milan and promote its integration into spatial planning and policymaking.
The research projects funded under the AGER programme seek to improve the understanding of the impact of climate change on agriculture. Furthermore, the foundation's support facilitates the transfer of research outcomes innovate agricultural practices and technologies. For example, the Fondazione Cariplo ensures that methods which can increase the resilience in food production (e.g. against droughts) are shared with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders.
By supporting the ClimaMi project, the foundation facilitates the integration of scientific results into the decision-making processes of spatial planning in Lombardy, leading to evidence-based adaptation strategies to local climate change.
What has worked well?
- Integrate local stakeholders: Talk to local stakeholders before designing call for research proposals. This helps to understand the context and identify the needs.
- Utilise your local ties: Climate change is not only a global problem, but also a local one, with different challenges for each locality. Foundations with ties to a specific geographical region should use their local connections. Proximity to a region is not an impediment to finding solutions to a global problem but, rather, and advantage as it enables deep cooperation with local stakeholders.
- Take one step at a time: When embarking on a new direction, it can be helpful to start with a smaller project to understand current developments and identify research gaps.
What are opportunities for new funders?
- Facilitate the translation of science into practice: Often useful research results already exist, but do not find their way into practice. Promoting scientific communication and scientific literacy among practitioners can close this gap.