Joint SUSFOOD2 – CORE Organic exploratory workshop

A joint workshop of the SUSFOOD2 (Sustainable Food Production and Consumption) and CORE Organic Cofund (Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems) ERA-NETs took place in Brussels beginning of June 2018.

Photographer: Dr. Nikola Schulz

How can we deepen cooperation in European research on sustainable and organic agriculture and food systems? What are the common topics of interest in the two related fields and how can we facilitate a better research cooperation at the European level? The SUSFOOD2 and CORE Organic ERA-NETs have tackled these key questions at the workshop.

While both networks have their own, clear scope and target different audiences, there are common themes of interest, where meaningful intersections can be envisioned without unnecessary duplication. Both the SUSFOOD2 and the CORE Organic ERA-NETs have expressed an interest to develop joint activities together on themes of mutual interest. The purpose of this workshop was to further explore options for cooperation, both in terms of content (possible topics for cooperation) and form (joint call, other joint activity). In preparation for the workshop, a Venn-diagram was prepared to show these intersections between priorities of both ERA-NETs. 



Figure 1: Areas of interest between CORE Organic and SUSFOOD2 ERA-NETs (click to enlarge)

Thirty-five people from fourteen countries registered, of which thirty-three participated. Participants were experts, funding partners and non-funding partners from both networks. The experts Prof. Dr. Sirpa Kurppa, Dr. Stefanie Wunder and Dr. Maarit Maki gave insights into the topics "environmental impact of food"  (see Kurppas presentations and Wunders presentation) and "mild food processing" (see Maarit Mäkis presentation) as well as their challenges. In three groups, the participants discussed proposed topics in a World Café setting. They were invited to propose subtopics and in a separate group to propose other topic suggestions that they might prefer over mild food processing or environmental impact of food. Subsequently, the participants drew a list of common research fields.

Discussions on the topics were continued in a closed funding partners meeting. In addition, in-depth discussions about the structure of a joint action, the possibilities and possible time-line for a joint call between SUSFOOD2 and CORE Organic were also discussed.

As result, the two ERA-NETs expressed their interest in a joint (non-cofunded) call and a task group was set up to prepare a roadmap for the call and to support the whole process. This is an important milestone in the cooperation of the two ERA-NETs and the organic and sustainable food sector fields in general. Currently, the topics of common interest are open for comments for all funding partners, including partners who have not participated at the workshop.

CORE Organic Cofund is an ERA-NET funded by the European Commission´s
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Contract No. 727495.