Food systems R&I related to food consumption has received considerably less funding in Europe over the past five years than R&I related to production and processing. This is shown by an analysis of European food systems related research projects and policies, carried out by the SCAR Food Systems Strategic Working Group (FS SWG). The report of this mapping exercise was presented at the FOOD2030 conference, but a preview was already given during the joint workshop on future-proofing food systems organized by the SCAR FS SWG and JPIs FACCE, HDHL and Oceans on June 13 in Plovdiv.

The SCAR FS SWG report on the "Assessment of Research and Innovation on Food Systems" by Member States was published recently. It states that R&I is the key to find high-impact solutions for future-proofing food systems. Coherent policies help to avoid fragmentation and adopt an effective food system approach. That is why SCAR FS SWG conducted a quantitative and qualitative analysis, covering the major trends, ambitions and gaps in food systems related R&I projects and policies, to provide strategic intelligence. Assessment of existing policies of more than 20 countries revealed that in the last 5 years, agriculture, food production and food safety were the most prominent fields to have benefitted from R&I support, whereas food innovation and nutritional aspects linked to health were less represented; an outcome that underlines the continued importance of the work of JPI HDHL.

JPIs FACCE, HDHL and Oceans have been working together for a number of years to connect their research areas, also aligning with the SCAR FS SWG. The joint workshop on June 13, an official side event of the FOOD2030 conference, focussed on addressing the identified R&I gaps as well as optimizing the collaboration between the initiatives to promote a food systems approach.

A report of the workshop will follow. The joint paper on Food and Nutrition Security that the three JPIs published in 2016, can be found here.