Skip to main content

FOOD 2030 Flagship Conference on Research and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security and Quality Empowerment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FOOD 2030 FLAGSHIP (FOOD 2030 Flagship Conference on Research and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security and Quality Empowerment)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-09-30

Bulgarian Presidency Flagship Conference
Research & Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security – Transforming our food systems
14-15 June 2018, Agricultural University - Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU organised a Flagship Conference dedicated to Research and Innovation (R&I) as a driver of sustainable food systems transformation. Such a transformation requires a new way of doing science, research and innovation that puts the food system at the centre. This is a means to ensure food and nutrition security in a changing world and the combined pressures of climate change, resource scarcity, biodiversity decline, malnutrition, shifting demographics and migration. The systemic approach, as called for by FOOD 2030, requires linking land and sea; connecting producers to consumers – and back, in order to achieve four overarching priorities: nutrition for healthy and sustainable diets, climate and environmental sustainability, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities.

Future-proofing our food systems will have important positive effect on Europeans in terms of healthier lives, cultural and societal benefits for urban and rural communities, cleaner environment, more sustainable production and consumption, lower import dependency and more vibrant enterprises.
Planning the project involved considering Presidency calendar of events, specific thematic EU and national strategic documents and continuity of joint efforts of parties involved on the topic.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria (MES BG) was the sole applicant and beneficiary for the project. Planning, both financial and in terms of organization, had started upon the approval of the initial concept for the conference by the Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria Mr. Krasimir Valchev in the beginning of May 2017.

An Advisory Board was constituted to support the project for the conference by providing advice and competence in regard to the conference programme and conference output, nominations and contacts with speakers, key stakeholders, renowned and influential thematic field representatives, policy and decision makers.

Adhering to the approved concept refined by the Advisory Board, the purpose and goals set for the conference, conference structure and content was coherent with the Bulgarian Presidency priorities regarding science and education (knowledge and skills). Balance was sought with regards to political commitment, excellent science, EU/EC strategy, relevant financial instruments, competitiveness on global level, knowledge and skills needed, sustainable development and management, concepts and viable solutions to support research & innovation for food and nutrition security. For speakers and panelists balance was also sought with regards to male/female expert perspective on the topic and countries represented.

In close and continuous cooperation MES BG, the Bioeconomy Directorate of the EC and the Agricultural University Plovdiv worked on the organisation of the event. Together with the Advisory Board the teaming of the involved orgaisations and the adequate planning allowed for the adoption and implementation of a result-oriented approach towards the organization of the conference.

The profile of the participants was various and contributed to achieving maximum possible in-conference promotion and coverage. Registered participants represented European institutions (Bulgarian Ministries, EC, EU Member states), agencies and regulatory bodies, universities and research centers, international thematic projects, SCAR members, international organizations and companies, NGOs, research infrastructures and research teams.

At the opening of the conference Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis had welcome speeches and Commissioner Hogan had a video message to the participants. The structure of panels was the same during the conference days which also facilitated better time-management. Moderators controlled and directed the panels successfully. The closing session featured speeches of Mr. Jean-Eric Paquet (Director General of DG Research and Innovation, EC) Mr. Vladimir Uruchev (Member of COMAGRI Committee at European Parliament), Mr. Philippe Mauguin (President of INRA, France) and the Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria Mr. Krasimir Valchev. All of them reconfirmed the political support on national and EU level for research & innovation for food and nutrition security. Full video of all sessions is available on the conference website in the Library section.

The FOOD2030 Village exhibition was held alongside the conference, located in the premises of the Agricultural University of Plovdiv on 14-15 June 2018. It assembled 20 exhibitors, representing research projects, start-ups and regions around the themes of FOOD 2030.

The cultural program organised by the Agricultural University Plovdiv, Plovdiv Municipality and MES BG presented to the conference participants the food, wine and folklore of Bulgaria. Participants had the pleasure of having an organised guided tour in the old town of Plovdiv.
The conference and in particular the Plovdiv FOOD2030 Call for action outline both the reediness and the willingness of involved policy makers, institutions, research organizations, academia, representatives of the business and civil society to act on the need and opportunity for a transformative, positive change in our food systems. Taking actions and contributing to the Plovdiv FOOD2030 Call for action will lead to the establishment of coherent research and innovation programs in response to recent international political drivers, such as the UN SDGs, the COP 21 climate commitments and the EU priorities.