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FOSTER | Fostering food system transformation by integrating heterogeneous perspectives in knowledge and innovation within the ERA

Currently we are not equipped to address the emerging challenges of nourishing people in a healthy and sustainable way. FOSTER is contributing to create a new Knowledge and Innovation System for Europe’s food system, inclusive and better organized.

FOSTER will build food system capabilities, knowledge and new governance mechanisms for scientists, citizens and policymakers. The two pillars of the project are the FOSTER (Food) Platform and the FOSTER Academy. These will underpin the exploration of novel knowledge and innovation approaches integrating food systems research with citizen science activities in a range of case studies (Citizen Driven Initiatives) representing European diversity. These Citizen Driven Initiatives will be closely linked to discussions at local- and EU-level on enhanced research and innovation governance. Innovation is therefore in both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.

FOSTER shall help to transform Europe’s food system outcomes and will achieve this by:

  • building a FOSTER Platform including food system-state of the art knowledge, trend and threats-analysis and new multi-dimensional scenarios of EU food systems to 2040
  • implementing the FOSTER Academy — including 4 Summer Schools — for integrating food system-related disciplines and citizen science to enhance food system understanding across the ERA
  • initiating and assessing a co-creation and co-learning process within six national regional Citizen Driven Initiatives, in which new knowledge, strategies and Action Research Agendas are gained
  • scaling out and deep Citizen Driven Initiatives solutions and approaches to other territorial contexts
  • studying different mechanisms of policy support for mission-oriented research and innovation policy for food systems transformation, and analysing and ground-proofing them in each Citizen Driven Initiative
  • strengthening science-policy interfaces by co-learning processes with external experts and developing recommendations for food systems research and innovation policies tailored to different geographies and sectors
  • identifying the trigger points to help unlock system lock-ins and support further dynamics towards system transformation
  • and applying reflective monitoring on all FOSTER’s co-learning activities to develop insights into how the Knowledge and Innovation System can be broadened from an agricultural to a food system.

ECSA will implement citizen science strategies, and engage in knowledge co-creation in 6 Citizen Driven Initiatives as case studies.

The goal is to foster new linkages between food system innovators in 6 selected Citizen Driven Initiatives and academically trained food system experts by co-creating good practices on the role of citizen science in food system research in the European Research Area.

The focus therein will be on citizen science, connecting young people, women, underrepresented communities with research and scientific problem-solving possibilities, and vice versa, following the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI).

To inspire adoption of FOSTER learnings, over 20 workshops and a final conference will be conducted; scientific position papers and policy briefs will be widely communicated.

Enrico Balli. Project officer
Simona Cerrato. Communications and Community Manager
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