Deadline: 06-Oct-21

  • The European Commission (EC) has announced grants for Furthering food systems science and federating researchers across the European Research Area to 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.

Funding Information
The check will normally be done for the coordinator if the requested grant amount is equal to or greater than EUR 500 000, except for:

public bodies (entities established as a public body under national law, including local, regional or national authorities) or international organisations; and
cases where the individual requested grant amount is not more than EUR 60 000 (lowvalue grant).

Expected Outcomes

The selected project results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • New game changers to provide sustainable diets and nutrition for all, ways to meet the Green Deal targets, establish cross cutting priorities, establish knowledge as a legitimate player/enabler in public debate, accelerate scientific progress, redesign farming systems, cope with unforeseen system shocks, and develop smart diversification.
  • A food systems transformation, which achieves co-benefits for nutrition and health, climate mitigation and adaptation, environment, biodiversity, circularity, inclusion and overall sustainability.
  • Novel understanding on how, and to which degree, such a transformation can be catalysed and sustained in the long term, and how the resulting trade-offs can be mitigated.
  • Knowledge and understanding of how to move towards true cost accounting of food and food systems services that adequately integrate social and environmental externalities and embed environmental accounting (e.g. LCA).
  • New insights, methods and tools to assess and manage the full systemic complexity of food systems and their multiple drivers, their dynamics and the issues and opportunities that relate to them.
  • Ways to measure food system performance across all three dimensions of sustainability, which can provide more informed decision and policymaking, and implementation.
  • An increase in the scientific understanding of food systems, in particular their systemic aspects, as to how they function, and how to transform them for co-benefits and minimised trade-offs.
  • Engagement of academia and the necessary practitioners in science, innovation and beyond, that can deliver the necessary scientific methodologies and approaches to support policymakers to put complex transformations into practice.
  • The establishment of a broad interdisciplinary network of researchers, scientists, universities and research centres covering a wide diversity of food systems-related disciplines, as well as those dealing with complex systems, to further systems science in this area.
  • A strengthened European Research area for food systems transformation for co-benefits.

Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

  • the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions;
  • the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States;
  • eligible non-EU countries:
  • countries associated to Horizon Europe;
  • low- and middle-income countries.
  • Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

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