The availability of safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy food has taken on a new and pressing dimension in the face of an ever growing global population and increasing environmental and sustainability concerns. The obvious links between food quality, human health, and the capacity of ecosystems to provide goods and services must be explored in view of optimising the food systems, making them safer, more resilient and efficient, and keeping the competitiveness of a strategic segment of our industries, specifically the food-industry, in a changing world.
By investing in research and innovation, the European Union aims to find effective and integrated solutions to all of these issues, through developing better ways of assuring microbiological and chemical food safety, to identifying alternative sources of protein or developing innovative new processes to economise on energy, water and packaging.
Consumers are at the heart of the whole food/feed chain of EU research, which covers five main areas:
Research in sustainable agriculture and farming goes hand-in-hand with keeping our climate action goals. Given the necessity to keep global average temperature increase below two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, the EU has developed international and domestic climate change policies and strategies in order to meet its targets for 2020 and beyond, with specific regards to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the ozone layer and ensuring that the climate dimension is appropriately present in all Community policies. Programmes such as LIFE and NER 300 are in place to help European stakeholders reach these goals. Science is increasingly at the core of our economy and society; effective policies for food safety and security, growth and jobs, energy and environment, including health and safety, all dependent on robust evidence and a strong science base.
The European Commission’s science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), provides scientific and technical support to the European Union’s agriculture and food security policies through its monitoring, modelling and economic analysis of agricultural resources and farm systems. Support for our researchers in the field is crucial to maintain our standards. Research frameworks like the Horizon 2020 (the biggest EU research and innovation programme) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), help researchers continue their indispensable scientific work.