Update on EU Research & Innovation Partnerships on Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Daniela Lüth (European Commission)

TP Organics, follows the development and implementation of two new European Research & Innovation Partnerships that will be launched in 2023/24:

  • The partnership candidate on agroecology living labs and research infrastructures (in short: Agroecology Partnership); and
  • The one on sustainable food systems for people, planet and climate (in short: Sustainable Food Systems Partnership).

Both partnerships will be co-funded by Member States and/or regions. More details on all partnerships are available on the Commission’s website.

Partnership development
SCAR Strategic and Collaborative Working Groups serve as convening platforms for the Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Partnerships (i.e., SCAR-AE and SCAR FS SWG). TP Organics brings in the interests of the organic sector as observer in SCAR-AE and member of Task Forces 1, 2 and 6 as well as through participation in the co-drafting of the partnership templates and the elaboration of the partnerships’ Strategic Research & Innovation Agendas (SRIAs), which provide concrete roadmaps to achieve the partnership’s long-term vision and objectives.

Agroecology Partnership preparation
Two preparatory Coordination and Support Action (CSA) projects advise the development of the AE Partnership: ALL-Ready (European Agroecology Living Lab and Research Infrastructure Network, coordinated by INRAE France) and AE4EU (Agroecology for Europe, coordinated by ISARA-Lyon). ALL-Ready aims to prepare a framework for a future European network of living labs and research infrastructures that will enable the transition towards agroecology throughout Europe while AE4EU seeks to build a European agroecological network to speed up the transition towards sustainable agriculture and food systems.

The 6 key objectives include increasing the connections between relevant actors, developing skills and methods for setting up research infrastructures and living labs, analysing and preparing funders, improving human and social capital as well as capacity to tailor policy interventions, and supporting the development of the partnership by developing a road map and framework.

TP Organics is ALL-Ready External Advisory Board member and regularly provides input to both projects. There will be a new application period for the ALL-Ready pilot network launched in December 2021, currently composed of 15 pilot members in the 13 partner countries, in June 2022 – find more information soon on the ALL-Ready website and get involved! Membership will last from October 2022 to November 2023 (until the end of the project), on a volunteer basis, and entails providing expert input, your LL/RI experience, insight into your activities, active participation at network meetings (once per year), participation in workshops, events, surveys, programmes organised across the Work Packages, and testing, validation and reflection on project outputs.

To develop context-based and site-specific solutions to the central question: “Which mechanisms will strengthen the agroecological research and innovation ecosystems in Europe?”, AE4EU has set up and facilitates 3 living labs in 3 countries (Italy, the UK and the Netherlands). Learn more about the workshops already held on the ae4eu website. Moreover, the project has set up a European Agroecology “Network of Networks” in which TP Organics is part to strengthen existing capabilities to support agroecological transformations of agriculture and wider food systems in Europe.

The SRIA consultation process will kick off in July 2022 and will include a survey to consult relevant stakeholders at European and national level (2-stage process in both cases) as well as an open consultation for the public through a dedicated web platform – stay tuned and take part!

Sustainable Food Systems Partnership
The Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Partnership aims to accelerate the transition toward healthy diets that are safe and sustainably produced in resilient EU and global food systems. It will coordinate, align, and leverage European and national R&I efforts. Based on collective and inclusive actions, the partnership will provide the knowledge base for realising European SFS Policies. It will work on the following thematic areas: Change the way we eat; change the way we process and supply food; change the way we connect with food systems; and change the way we govern food systems.

Transversal (cross-cutting) activities will include(work in progress):

  • Pooling R&I resources and programming (calls for R&I projects) will also target industry/SMEs and collaboration with organisations in non-EU countries/Africa;
  • A Food Systems Observatory will be launched as a European platform and network to follow and describe EU food systems’ status, challenges and sustainability, to assist decision-makers and stakeholders, and to develop methods for assessing food system sustainability;
  • A Food Systems Knowledge Hub will be established as a network of transformative R&I labs to identify, build on and make available relevant knowledge and experience;
  • Knowledge sharing and scaling will include the adaptation of knowledge systems, innovation platforms and science-policy interfaces for ensuring impact.

TP Organics is part of the Food Systems Knowledge Hub which will identify, build on and make available relevant knowledge and experience generated from previous national and EU R&I programmes and projects on food systems and Food System Living Labs, following a bottom-up, participatory approach to food system innovations.

Moreover, TP Organics is a member of the core group that drafted the partnership proposal (template or action plan) and has been invited as a member of the Advisory Board of the new Horizon Europe CSA project FOODPathS, aPreparatory action for the partnership coordinated by INRAE France. Stay tuned – we will keep you informed about the consultation for the SRIA!

TP Organics is the European Technology Platform for Organic Food and Farming. IFOAM Organics Europe is a founding member and hosts its secretariat. Visit www.tporganics.eu for more information and follow its Twitter @TPorganics.

This communication is co-financed by the European Union, under the Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). The sole responsibility for this communication lies with IFOAM Organics Europe. CINEA is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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