Food systems policy report: research and innovation investment gap study.

Earlier this year, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) published a comparative study on the level of investment in Research and Innovation (R&I) in food systems in Europe, aimed to develop a detailed understanding of the current situation at both national and EU level.

This study includes the identification and collation of several different national and EU datasets to provide a picture of the overall level of investment in food systems R&I at different levels across the EU. In effect, it presents a collage made up of data of varying quality, completeness and granularity. The picture of R&I investment resulting from this study should therefore be understood as representative of the best data available, rather than providing a comprehensive view of all public and private R&I funding.

The main findings are as follows:

  • Around 15% of EU Framework Programme funding was provided to food systems R&I.
  • At least EUR 5.5 billion of public funding was provided to food systems R&I at the national level.
  • The amounts of funding allocated to Food2030 priorities and pathways have increased over the last few years.
  • Public and private R&I expenditure mainly target primary production. Although there are some variations year-on-year, primary production consistently represents between 60 and 80% of national public sector R&I expenditure within Europe.
  • Available data suggests significant differences in food systems R&I between EU Member States.

At EU level, some of the solutions suggested to help mitigate obstacles to achieving the level of (public and private) R&I investment required to meet the EU’s broader policy goals would be to:

  • encourage Member States to develop national food R&I strategies aligned with the priorities and pathways laid out in the Food 2030 strategy and Farm to Fork Strategy.
  • collect data on how funded projects contribute to progress against the Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy and Food 2030 strategy and to categorise expenditure on food systems R&I.

At the national level, it is recommended to increase the collaboration is needed both between institutions with responsibility for different aspects of food policy, and actors at different levels within the food system.

Author: Blanca Casares (AEIDL)

Image resource: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/1747dc15-be80-11ed-8912-01aa75ed71a1