The INCREDIBLE Open Innovation Challenge (OIC) will select the five most innovative ideas with the potential to increase the environmental, economic or social value of Mediterranean non-wood forest products (NWFPs). OIC winners will be invited to attend the INCREDIBLE business acceleration programme organised by leading forestry and business experts. The initiative responds to challenges for NWFP value chains analysed by the INCREDIBLE team during the first year of the project and aims to identify innovative solutions.

Contact us for more information, APPLICATION IS  NOW CLOSED



Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) have the potential to become a real social and economic resource for the Mediterranean and its people but they are currently undervalued and under-exploited. The INCREDIBLE project, funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, is a Thematic Network to share knowledge, connect people and foster social, technological or managerial innovation in Mediterranean NWFPs through transversal and multidisciplinary approaches. iNets for cork, resins, wild mushrooms & truffles, medicinal & aromatic plants, and wild nuts & berries bring experts together for regional and international exchange, while a Community of Practice explores cross-cutting themes across the different sectors.
Find out more about INCREDIBLE


From 2017, NWFPs experts from across the Mediterranean have been engaging with a broad range of stakeholders on how to create value for Mediterranean NWFPs. They have identified several knowledge gaps and potential challenges through international workshops and seminars involving stakeholders from across the region. The way forward is to search for innovative and creative ideas able to fill these gaps.

Through the INCREDIBLE Open Innovation Challenge (OIC)!


The OIC is the tool used to collect innovative social, technological and environmental solutions to challenges across five themes:

1 – cork;
2 – resins;
3 – wild mushrooms & truffles;
4 – wild nuts & berries;
5 – aromatic & medicinal plants.

Candidates are asked to present innovative ideas or approaches to tackle challenges identified in the first phase of the INCREDIBLE project. Once all the applications are received, the five most brilliant ideas will be selected.
The winners of the OIC will take part in the ETIFOR business acceleration programme created by an international team of NWFP experts as part of the INCREDIBLE project. During the acceleration service, that will last 10 days (beginning of 2020) and will be based in Padova (Italy), the ideas of the winners will be boosted thanks to seminars, mentoring activity and targeted workshops. For winners, the acceleration programme will be free of charge and travel costs will be covered by the project.

These were some of the challenges that emerged in the preliminary phase of the INCREDIBLE project. Participants can work to find solutions and novel ideas to solve these gaps or contribute to other topics related to NWFPs. Be creative and innovative!

Knowledge gaps/challenges identified


• resource modelling in a context of climate change
• progress in the compatibility of resin harvesting with other forest uses
• improvement in working conditions of the resin tappers
• development of new natural resin derivative products

Aromatic & medicinal plants

• supporting production and marketing capacities
• natural Resource Management and biodiversity conservation
• legal framework adjustment
• certification and traceability


• climate change adaptation and cork oak decline
• evaluation of Ecosystem services (life cycle approach)
• profitability
• policies targeted on multifunctionality
• communication (to consumer, to research, etc.)
• some crucial policy innovation ideas (stronger regulations to minimise the grey economy; establishment of PES models; maintenance/ development of regulations to assure the sustainability of the cork oak ecosystem; multifunctional ecosystem policies)

Wild mushrooms & truffles

• marketing
• management of truffle plantations and development of mycosilviculture
• regulation and taxation systems and training

Wild nuts & berries

– Chestnut value chain
• Increase processing quality
• Standardisation of supply
• Develop new products (chestnut beer or chestnut flour)

– Mediterranean pine nuts
• immaturity of the sector: lack of management and good practices guidelines.
• organic food labels: better marketing and communication of certification brands and labels

-Knowledge gaps in common
• pests and diseases: how to solve severe yield losses especially due to new exotic pests.
• Arbutus unedo and berries are not promoted adequately

The winners of the OIC will take part in the ETIFOR business acceleration programme created by an international team of NWFP experts as part of the INCREDIBLE project.

Everyone (individual, startup, company) with an innovative idea to solve a problem or to boost the NWFP value chains is welcome!


The application process, now closed, involved two steps; application  had to be submitted in English:

1) applicants will complete the online module with basic information about their idea;

2) applicants will be contacted via e-mail and requested to:

Proposals will be evaluated by the Evaluation Panel composed of five experts included in the INCREDIBLE consortium, with representation from each iNets, according to the following criteria:

  • coherence with the knowledge gaps
  • innovativeness of the idea
  • potential impacts for the sector
  • CV


The Open Innovation Challenge will be open from April to August 2019. DEADLINE FOR THE APPLICATION HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 15TH SEPTEMBER 2019.

The five winners will be selected by Autumn 2019 and will be invited to the acceleration programme. For winners, the acceleration programme will be free of charge and travel costs will be covered by the project.

The acceleration program will take place in winter/spring 2020 at the Agripolis Campus, Padova, Italy. It will be a 10-day full immersion programme, where participants will have the chance to attend seminars, with support from mentors and experts for coaching, in order to develop their innovative ideas.

The topics of the acceleration service will be defined according to the needs of the participants selected. Nevertheless, some basic and transversal topics will be present: business modelling, marketing strategies, trademark communication, traceability tools, etc. Participants will also have excellent networking opportunities, both with colleagues and company and academic representatives.

Be innovative, be involved, be inspiring!

We offer several opportunities for those who will support INCREDIBLE initiatives (Open Innovation Challenge and acceleration service):

Support our accelerator and make your impact. Your brand and company will be part of our selected community of experts and entrepreneurs working with NWFPs; you will be involved in our events offering excellent opportunities for networking.

Be the first to get in touch with our innovators that will boost the NWFP value chains!

Be part of the change, contribute to transform brilliant ideas in projects that can also change your business!
Contact us to receive a tailored proposal!

Among more than 30 applications received from 16 different countries, the INCREDIBLE project consortium selected the five business ideas judged as the most innovative, sound and interesting. We are thrilled to announce the winners of this Open Innovation Challenge call!

Competition organisers are very grateful to all the candidates for their participation in the call and for the high quality of the proposals we received.

And the winners are…

  • Cork iNet: Giuseppe Uras from Italy – Corkymat: an innovative technology for the creation of complex cork objects.
  • Resins iNet: Mokhtar Baraket from TunisiaEconomic impact on the local population of resin extraction from Aleppo pine: increase income through improved exploitation techniques.
  • Wild Nuts & Berries iNet: Álvaro León from SpainBellota y Raiz: explore new value chains for Oak nut based products.
  • Aromatic & Medicinal Plants iNet: Jesús Fernández-Moya from SpainAromas del encinar: improve the consumer-experience by making them be a key participant in the sustainable management of forest with shrubby wild aromatic and medicinal plants.
  • Wild Mushrooms & Truffles iNet: Richard Splivallo from SwitzerlandNectariss: an innovative technology to produce natural truffle flavour.