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Research on food systems ‘fragmented’ in the EU

Image: Marco Verch [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Study finds investments have not aligned with EU policy framework, and are not consistently measured

Funding for research and innovation on food in the EU is “fragmented”, according to a study carried out on behalf of the European Commission. The finding came despite the bloc having a policy framework in place for research on food systems.

The study, carried out by consultancies and reported on 15 June, estimated that over €18 billion in EU R&I funding was provided to projects related to food systems between 2007 and 2020, accounting for 15 per cent of total EU R&I funding available over that period.

But the study found that only €4.8bn of the food funding was aligned with the Commission’s Food 2030 policy framework, which was launched in 2016 to provide a coherent approach to EU-funded R&I on food systems.

An additional €5.5bn for food systems R&I was identified at the national level between 2007 and 2020.

The study found that the most significant obstacle to food systems R&I in the EU was “a lack of focus on food and in particular food systems as a thematic policy area”, and that this led to “fragmentation in the funding ecosystem, with food systems R&I funding divided between multiple entities”.

It also found that investments in food systems R&I are “not consistently measured or monitored”, with no single entity responsible for the food portfolio in most countries. It recommended that the Commission and member states work together on collecting data on food systems R&I, with common definitions, categories and metrics agreed at EU level.