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Furthering food systems science and federating researchers across the European Research Area


This topic should support and strengthen the science, and the science-policy interface relevant to food systems, in particular in relation to delivering on farm to fork and Green Deal policy priorities. Successful proposals are expected to address one of the three inter-connected transformation actions:

Action a) Advance food systems science through:

  • Mapping of existing food systems and typologies and design of new/existing indicator sets that could be applied at different spatial levels (local to global), with a focus on Europe.
  • Development of methods and means to assess food system sustainability, such as establishing an overall food systems sustainability score incorporating common agreed Life Cycle Analysis methodologies.
  • Development of innovative cause-effect simulation models that include all food system sectors and actors beyond the economic focus and which can integrate the three pillars of sustainability to explore the potential impact of different food systems transition options and scenarios delivering co-benefits, while minimising trade-offs.
  • Providing sound evidence for policy and regulatory science needs to deliver food systems transition towards sustainability; including on how to transition to a true cost of food and food systems services that adequately embed social and environmental externalities relevant to various levels (global to local).

Action b) Contribute to building up a food systems European Research Area – part 1 - through:

  • Launching new and assessing ongoing food systems foresight activities (building on existing ones including the fifth SCAR Foresight), detecting emerging trends, and delivering early warnings to policy makers and other relevant actors.
  • Establish a project for policy support capacity to extract, summarise and disseminate findings and achievements of relevant EU Horizon projects and clusters of projects to policy makers, food systems actors and the public.
  • Perform measurement of, and increase research impact of food system science (for example by assisting scientists to adopt inter and transdisciplinary approaches), and encourage the exchange of scientists for mutual learning and knowledge transfer across disciplines
  • Foster citizen science in support of food systems transformation by assessing existing attempts, communicating successes, and catalysing new citizen science initiatives across Europe, in particular by engaging with youth, women, and under-represented communities

Action c) Contribute to building up a food systems European Research Area – part 2 – by creating an interdisciplinary pan-European academic network for food system science that integrates the social sciences and humanities, natural science and engineering, and design. This should:

  • Federate universities, academics and researchers across Europe to support and engage in inter and trans-disciplinary research, foster debate, reflexivity and responsible research and innovation (RRI) in support of food systems transition and improved policymaking at all levels from global to local.
  • Develop and share freely available open access educational material/curricula to be used by Higher Education Institutes (bachelors and post-graduate levels) to help strengthen their exiting food systems-related teaching and research with an inter and transdisciplinary systems dimension that integrates all three aspects of sustainability, and farm to fork policy and Green Deal priorities.
  • Support researcher training, mobility, mutual learning and knowledge sharing, and open science approaches.
  • Disseminate and communicate scientific outcomes adapted for multiple audiences including researchers, policy makers, industry, science media and society. This will also include the organisation of a major international annual/bi-annual conference dedicated to advancing food systems science.
  • Establish a high-level liaison with EU and relevant international initiatives.

Proposals must involve a wide diversity of food system actors and conducting inter-disciplinary research to implement the required multi actor approach (cf eligibility conditions).

All projects should explain and map how co-benefits should be achieved relevant to the four Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowerment of communities.

All projects should ensure a clustering mechanism with each other and feedback mechanisms with other governance topics and provide general scientific advice for related food systems oriented Horizon Europe projects.

All projects should set out a clear plan on how they should collaborate with other projects selected under this and any other relevant topic/call, by participating in joint activities, workshops, as well as common communication and dissemination activities and channels.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.