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ERA-Net Cofund on Sustainable Food production and consumption (SUSFOOD2)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SUSFOOD2 (ERA-Net Cofund on Sustainable Food production and consumption (SUSFOOD2))

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-01-31

The aim of SUSFOOD2 Cofund is to foster research and innovation in the field of sustainable food systems through enhanced cooperation and coordination between EU member and associated states. It is thereby contributing to the overall EU objective of building the European Research Area as well as a newly emerging Food Research Area.
Major challenges will influence future food chains asking for innovative solutions to
- respond to increased demand for food by increasing production sustainably (Food and Nutrition Security)
- make optimal use of resources while mitigating impact on the environment
- reduce losses and waste - following a whole food chain approach from production to consumption
- improve competitiveness of the European agri-food-business

SUSFOOD2 focusses on sustainability in post-harvest food production, covering relevant fields from natural sciences to food engineering and social sciences. Building on the achievements of its predecessor in FP7, SUSFOOD2 strengthens efforts to support and fund excellent research in the food area. Therefore, the consortium pursues a three-fold approach:
i) funding activities for maximum support of the research community,
ii) strategic work, creating impact and interaction with other initiatives following the SUSFOOD2 objectives
iii) strengthen networking and research and knowledge transfer among various stakeholders (i.e. by workshops, stakeholder events etc.).

With the outlined approach SUSFOOD2 will contribute to reach the following overall objectives:
- maximizing impact of transnational cooperation, pooling resources (material and intellectual) and implementing best practice
- using synergies and reducing overlap by interacting and aligning with related (international) initiatives
- promoting the outputs of SUSFOOD2 network and funded projects via targeted dissemination; sharing a common vision and creating awareness for the field of food sustainability.
Since its start, SUSFOOD2 has made substantial progress towards its objectives. A considerable amount of work had been done before the official start in January 2017. By the start of the ERA-Net, the cofunded call was ready to be launched, the preparation of the evaluation process and the expert’s panel were already at an advanced stage and the website was updated.
During this reporting period, SUSFOOD2 could implement successfully its co-funded call with the help of all partners. SUSFOOD2 could also make considerable progress in the preparation of additional activities and two additional activities have been realized within the reporting period. Moreover, the SUSFOOD2 network is now well established in its organizational and operational tasks, including communication activities.
Main results are listed below:
• General organizational set-up of the network (including the Consortium Agreement, working procedures, internal reporting, communication)
• Preparation, launch and implementation of a cofunded call (following EC rules)
• Start working on follow-up activities for the cofunded call including monitoring as well as organization of project seminars
• Preparation, provision and conducting of communication activities (including a communication strategy, online channels like website and twitter, printing material as well as event promotion and organization
• Additional activities:
o Strategies for impact: conducting a workshop with the External Advisory Board and SUSFOOD2 partners in December 2017 and preparation of a review report on the strategic scene
o Action for networking and visibility: organization and realization of an event in collaboration with EFFoST in November 2017
During the 5-year runtime of the SUSFOOD2 ERA-Net, efforts will be made to further strengthen the transnational cooperation between the partners but also among different related initiatives and relevant stakeholders in order to support research and innovation and knowledge exchange in the field of sustainable food systems from production to consumption. A main goal is thereby to share the vision and implement the objectives and priorities of SUSFOOD2.
More specifically, SUSFOOD2 aims to implement the following results by 2021:
• Develop and implement a sound and effective monitoring system for projects funded under SUSFOOD2 (including evaluation and impact assessment of the projects)
• Launch additional funding activities, preferably in collaboration with other initiatives; preparation towards a joint funding action is ongoing and a scoping workshop is planned for mid 2018
• Maintain efforts to spread information about the network as well as the funded projects and create awareness for the field through effective communication and dissemination actions
• Strengthening networking and knowledge exchange via additional activities as well as outreach towards potential international collaborations
• Further development of SUSFOOD2 network and follow-up on the strategic work (including analysis, planning and implementation)

With reference to the three-fold approach of SUSFOOD2, potential impact is expected in various ways:
Impact via the SUSFOOD2 funding activities
-Direct support of researchers in order to close knowledge gaps and contribute to solve challenges in the field
-More holistic research approaches with maximized outcomes through increased innovation capacity
-Collaboration between science and industry, especially SMEs leading to enhanced knowledge and technology transfer and new innovations
-Working towards harmonized procedures for efficient collaboration within the SUSFOOD2 network (call implementation, monitoring etc.)
Impact via strategic work in SUSFOOD2
-Alignment of national programmes and priorities to work towards common objectives and research topics
-Synergy among the network partners to learn and benefit from each other
-Synergy with other related initiatives for impact beyond the network to enable multidisciplinary approaches and broader impact
Impact via increased networking and knowledge transfer
-Exploiting synergies with related initiatives through enhanced networking and in joint undertakings
-Build connection across the food value chain aiming at a food systems approach by involving different stakeholders
-Spreading knowledge and creating awareness of the public to value sustainable food production and consumption