SUSFANS supports the knowledge hub

Thom Achterbosch

SUSFANS supports the knowledge hub

SUSFANS brings together strands of European research on food, farming and health. These collaborations are beneficial in terms of advancing multidisciplinary concepts, data linking and modelling. The job is far from finished - actually it is just starting. For this reason, SUSFANS markedly promotes a stronger alignment on national research & innovation efforts in the EU. SUSFANS promotes the uptake and spread of its achievements. So what do we do? We deliver our methods and protocol in the open domain. We contribute to the participatory process of research prioritisation in European cities and countries under FIT4FOOD2030. We work with the Food, Nutrition and Health Research Infrastructure (FNH-RI).

Also, we support the EU Knowledge Hub on Food and Nutrition Security, steered by JPI HDHL in collaboration with JPI OCEANS and FACCE-JPI. The aim of this call is to establish a Knowledge Hub on Food and Nutrition Security to foster the transnational and multidisciplinary collaboration and networking in order to accelerate, further characterize and to manage the impact of climate change on nutritional make-up of food, and to propose adaptive strategies/measures to ensure food and nutrition security.

16 performance indicators for a comprehensive perspective

A group came together on 7 June 2019 to discuss a joint proposal for the Knowledge Hub. SUSFANS was invited to present its research process and outcomes on sustainable EU food and nutrition security as an example for the new platform. Thom Achterbosch presented how the SUSFANS collaboration links consumption behaviour, nutrition and public health to the domains of agriculture and fishery productions systems, environmental sustainability and economic drivers and impacts. Also Thom suggested how some of the challenges has been effectively overcome, for example by integrating research outcomes into the SUSFANS visualiser.

He presented how SUSFANS got a handle on complexity by proposing just 16 performance indicators for a comprehensive perspective on the sustainability performance of food systems in the EU. Further, He shared the work we did on creating data and modelling platforms for assessing the impact of EU diets and food supply systems on sustainable food and nutrition security on a timeline from 2010 to 2050. And shared our recommendations for developing an EU policy protocol to monitor the health and sustainability impact of food consumption and intake, and to leverage economic sustainability as a driver for food systems transformation in the EU and Member States.

The participants gave suggestions for the further development of the framework. One aspect is to better integrate data on differences in production systems across the EU. Sustainability impact of supply at more granular levels is available than currently used in SUSFANS, and there are opportunities for better connecting. Also, suggestions were made for options to develop a SUSFANS platform that researchers can use; the low-hanging fruit is to make descriptions of research protocols and mappings available. A focus on metadata would avoid the challenges of data ownership and IPR.

We hope to keep the cooperation with the Knowledge Hub going, and will encourage that EU member states will facilitate contributions from the various national teams in SUSFANS into this network. The hub seems a great network for working together knowledge and generating new knowledge on sustainable EU food systems and diets.



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