The FOSC projects kicked-off with a 2-day workshop on 15 and 16 June, hosted by the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and co-organized by Wageningen Research from the Netherlands. Seventeen projects are funded by the 2019 call for proposals on Food Systems and Climate. The project consortia comprise of a minimum of 4 organisations from 4 countries from at least 2 continents. All projects work on research that contributes to resilient and sustainable food systems under climate change. This translates into diverse research themes including novel farming techniques, crop and soil improvement, modelling on regional and inter-continental food chains, integrated production systems and the reduction of food waste.
The opening session, chaired by Ákos Kristóf, started with a welcome speech from Dávid Bencsik, Deputy State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. FOSC coordinator Maurice Héral from ANR welcomed the project teams and introduced the FOSC ERA-NET Cofund. From the European Commission, Hans-Jörg Lutzeyer, Senior Research Policy Officer from DG Research and Innovation gave a key-note speech on the EU-AU Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) priority and Horizon Europe. Lucia Pacillo, Research Programme Administrator from EC-REA elaborated on the role of the European Research Executive Agency and Horizon 2020.
In the next session, chaired by Martine Vernooij from FOSC Communication, the FOSC Knowledge Platform to be developed was introduced by Stefano Grando and Alice Albertini from MIPAAF. Nine projects presented themselves by pre-recorded presentations followed by real-time Q&A, discussions and information exchange by the projects. Technical support was provided by Vanda Füzesi and Valéria Csonka.
The projects presented on the first day were ThermoK, URBANFOSC, Sus-Agri-CC, BICEPS, SECUREFOOD2050, CLIMAQUA, CHIAM, BLUE-CYCLING and CREATE. The research topics of these projects include new techniques to improve soil, to reduce food waste, food chain modelling and innovate ways to integrate food production systems and to include agriculture and aquaculture.
On the first day of the workshop 191 participants attended the FOSC Projects Kick Off, on the second day of the workshop and 172 participants attended. There was a good representation of all projects and many of the funder organisations. At the start of the second day, Ákos Kristóf welcomed everybody back and introduced the key-note speech from Raimund Jehle from the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. Raimund Jehle presented the trends and investments in agricultural research and the importance of research and innovation for agriculture.
The session on the FOSC programme on the second day was chaired by Christine Bunthof from FOSC Communication. It started with a presentation about the call organization by the FOSC call office, Denise Gider from BLE and an introduction of the FOSC ethics board by Olivier Le Gall, Chair of the FOSC ethics advisory board. The rest of the morning was reserved for presentations by eight projects by diverse and informative video’s. Project presentations were followed by Q&A sessions and an active exchange of information and ideas.
The projects presented on the second day were NutriGreen, TRUSTFARM, SALAD, SAFOODS, BIO-BELIEF, CRRIsP, C4C, and PHEALING. The topics of these projects include research on new and local farming techniques for resilient and sustainable food systems, and research to improve crop resilience, nutritional value and post-harvest losses.
In the afternoon a communications workshop was given. Nikki De Clerck from ILVO explained about projects communication activities and the procedures for monitoring and evaluation of the projects. Participants were engaged in a session about use of social media for research projects and all teams were encouraged to start their outreach, including on twitter and linked-in.
The workshop was well attended, with active participants and interaction between projects, speakers and funders. On behalf of FOSC, we wish all the projects success.