Food for thought: Innovative and citizen-driven food system approaches in cities

@muredduf our colleague at the Lisbon Council recently shared this call with me as potentially interesting for us to consider. Indeed, I think the scope fits our areas of attention, our strengths to some of their key approaches (eg. citizen science and engagement) and we have enough time to build a solid concept and consortium.

Innovative and citizen-driven food system approaches in cities

In summary:

  • It’s an Innovation Action (IA) so one step up from an RIA
  • It’s a single stage call - the proposal is due 23 January 2019
  • Call budget is 12,000,000 EUR with the Commission anticipating projects at 6,000,000 EUR so they’ll likely fund two.
  • Sits in the work programme: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy
  • I include relevant excerpts from the call, which you can access in full here

“The challenge of providing the inhabitants of European cities with affordable, safe, and nutritious food is both urgent and complex. Moreover, the health and wellbeing of EU citizens and consumers are directly affected by the way cities and regions themselves are shaping a sustainable food environment. Research and (open) innovation co-created with citizens are part of broader city-region food system approaches. …Demonstration and first application in the market of innovative solutions, co-created with citizen and cities with the involvement of public authorities, economic actors and non-profit organisations, could be one way to support sustainable food security in cities.”


“The proposals shall identify several food-related innovative approaches based on citizen science and engagement, to be practised in cities to foster sustainability of the food system. Proposals shall explore and share the application of these approaches in a wider range of European cities and shall be built on results of existing research, best practices and existing platforms and programmes. Proposals could comprise activities such as prototyping testing, demonstrating and piloting in a (near to) operational environment, as well as experimental production, all with a view to subsequent replication and application in other cities. Proposals shall include the development of a classification and assessment of the benefits (economic, environmental and societal) of existing approaches for dissemination purposes, accessible online. Proposals may include limited R&D activities and a clear focus on validating the benefits of pilot activities for citizens with a view of increasing engagement and replication. The action shall cover cities in rural and coastal areas and urban agglomerations. Proposals shall also include co-creation between social innovation and technological innovation. Following the RRI principles, proposals will ensure that societal actors work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. Active participation of municipalities and SMEs is strongly encouraged.

IMPACT AREAS where I think we could hit well:

  • "… Intensified interactions between all actors in the food chain such as research, (small scale) food production, city municipalities, education centres, consumers and citizens in the medium to long term;
  • Empowered local communities by using their potential to contribute to ensuring food and nutrition security at city level, which in turn supports the relevant SDGs;
  • Increased participatory and citizen science initiatives in the area of food and nutrition security in cities…"

What do we think about potentially brainstorming a concept and building a consortium? Considering timing, I think it’d be good to have an initial call with those interested / get something together before the summer really kicks in August.

@alberto @hazem @matthias @luciascopelliti @cindys @winnieponcelet @JasperB @gregoiremarty


Very nice! Potentially radical. Also very difficult.

1 Like


For one of the RRI social lab pilot projects I’m involved in (more on that coming by the way), I’m collaborating with Fritz Reusswig from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Doesn’t seem a direct fit in terms of food.vs.climate but from what I understand his department are doing effective and innovative research with citizens and policy makers in Berlin - such as a BMU- funded real-lab project in Berlin, where 100 households try to reduce their individual carbon footprints by about 40 percent within one year (KliB: Klimaneutral leben in Berlin). As his research interests cover lifestyle and consumption issues, social discourse on climate change, and the role of cities and citizens in climate policy, I think he might have some ideas or potential partners to consider.

Am going to share the post with him and see what he says.

I suspect that this may have gotten lost amidst summer’s sun, tasty food and waves (!!!) so pinging you again
@alberto @hazem @matthias @luciascopelliti @cindys @winnieponcelet @JasperB @gregoiremarty and @muredduf in case any interest or ideas spring to mind…

1 Like

Milano! And the biohackers. :slight_smile:

Yup, they were tagged above twice. But it’s getting way too late. It’s an IA due in January - with no interest nor momentum and other proposals taking priority I won’t be putting any further efforts to this unless people speak up now…?!

Ah, that’s not the way it works. You should not count on people outside the circle to read notifications. If we want action, as always, we have to drive it ourselves.