Typology of Knowledge & Innovation Governance Options for Fostering Mission-oriented Innovation – Milestone 13


Creation of typology of K&I governance options for fostering mission-oriented innovation 

FOSTER research is designed around the need for a new vision for a Knowledge and Innovation (K&I) governance structure for Europe’s food system. FOSTER is a collaboration of scientists with change driven initiatives (CDIs), innovation advisors, living labs and advocacy groups. We aim to develop an evidence-based blueprint for a future knowledge and innovation system (KIS), with a working title “FOKIS”, Food System Knowledge and Innovation System, that can effectively accelerate the transition processes towards sustainable food systems across all EU member states. The design of FOKIS is envisaged to go beyond the status quo by establishing linkages around specific groups of food system actors underrepresented in the AKIS agricultural knowledge and innovation system: in FOSTER, we specifically look at transition networks of change agents, including food professionals, food democracy and citizen initiatives, vulnerable communities, with their linkages to knowledge actors (scientists, innovation advisors) and policy makers from domains related to food systems. The intended impact is to embed these change agents better in the European Research Area for food systems and foster collaboration between networks of science and practitioners.  

Three types of data have been compiled for developing the K&I governance typology, linked to FOKIS:  

  • Review of recent EU-funded research and innovations projects relevant to the topic. 
  • Review of peer-reviewed literature on sustainable food systems, with specific attention to: citizen science, transition and system transformation, and related governance challenges.
  • Review of relevant policies at European level that address K&I on food systems transition.  

In brief, the review of EU Horizon projects, from the last 4 years, included Fit4Food2030, DITOs, SUSFANS, SISCODE, MoRRI, FoodShift2030, Food Trails, ALL-READY, NEFERTITI, CASA, GENDER STI, NewHoRRIzon and SUSINCHAIN, indicating the following main traits to achieve effective governance in the K&I: Food system transformation, Living labs, Network creation for EU food system actors, and Closing the science-practice-policy gap.

The literature review was conducted to understand the current academic debates regarding the governance of food system transformations. From a total of 101 articles, a final list of 36 key articles were selected, highlighting the power dynamics on food systems governance and policy; transdisciplinary work on the interfaces of science, policy and practice; discussing normative principles related to food systems transformation and understanding transformation pathways in the food system.

The policy review was conducted to identify directly and indirectly relevant EU-level policies that address K&I regarding food system transformation, at the international level, the Sustainable Development Goals, at EU level, the European Green Deal, the policy departments in the European Commission, Funding, Educational programs and other EU mechanisms. 

These sets of data together have informed the definition of a set of seven governance principles for mission-oriented innovation on food system transition. The following principles are proposed:

  • Multi-actor governance: recognizing the important role of multiple actors in governance and discussing the (potential) roles of various stakeholders in a variety of food system-related governance arrangements.
  • Knowledge and innovation policy: understanding of the policy landscape and its influence on the food systems and activities of CDIs.
  • Multi-level food system governance and policy: coordination and interaction of decision-making processes at different levels of scale; alignment and coordination of arrangements on different levels of scale.
  • Food democracy: rights of citizens to participate in food-related decision making; ensuring that transition processes are fair, equitable, sustainable and constructive.
  • Role of different types of knowledge: transdisciplinarity and the importance of other knowledge types beyond academia, the role of citizen science; crossing science-policy-practice divides.
  • Responsible Research and Innovation: aligning science with the values of society; connecting the relationship between K&I and society: public engagement, open access, gender equality, ethics, etc.
  • Transformation pathways: strategies or actions that can be taken to move towards a more sustainable food system; leverage points for systemic change and scaling of innovations.

This has led to the formulation of an ambitious agenda for action research in FOSTER WP4, centred around the following research question: how well do the principles for K&I governance provide practical guidance for innovation actors to make headway on four dimensions of societal uptake required for successful food systems transformation: the technological, legal, economic, and socio-cultural dimensions. Engagement with the CDIs through workshops has provided valuable input for co-designing the concepts and the strategies for empirical research.  These principles will be basis of the upcoming work, during task 4.2, with discussion with the CDIs on governance options and knowledge through a series of workshops and meetings. 

Please find below the Complete Milestone document, with a full description of the work conducted. 

Briefs of the 2nd FOSTER Project Meeting

The second FOSTER project meeting took place at the BioSense Institute in Novi Sad, Serbia on 28th and 29th of March, 2023.

28th of March

During the first day of the FOSTER meeting, consortium members engaged in several interactive sections to learn from each other and to learn with each other. The learning from each other is crucial as the consortium consists of a diversity of members who are active in linking the food system from theoretical and practical contexts.

During the several sections, each partner from the Citizen-Driven Initiatives (CDI) elaborated on their own experience and environment regarding policies as opportunities/barriers in changing food systems on local and national level, successes/barriers in knowledge exchange among different stakeholders for changing food systems, and how to improve public engagement as an opportunity or a hindrance in changing food systems. These were powerful insights to better understand the different points of view within the project, how the different CDIs interact in each level and actors of the food system, and the challenging obstacle that they are facing.

Between sections, participants discussed the FOSTER Knowledge Platform, about its ideas and content, what was already done and what is expected to be done in the future. Several points were discussed, including the main end-users of such platform, on how to improve it, its complexity, contents, databases, and sustainability.

The last two sections of the first day approached FOSTER´sliving narrative”, presented by Anne Loeber, regarding CDIs transformative role in the EU food system changing, and measures to improve the communication, dissemination and exploitation of FOSTER activities to specific target audiences.

29th of March

The second day of the project meeting was held under governance/policies ruling the EU food system with a preparatory session for further interactions within each CDI and knowledge partner.

In the interactive sections, each CDI could better elaborate on how they see themselves regarding their positioning in governance and policy authorities, on a local, regional, national, and EU level. This was a good way to kick off a fruitful discussion on policies that have an impact on each CDI, and Food Systems and Research and Innovation Policies, that may provide new opportunities, needs and barriers.

Lastly, partners had an opportunity to discuss the specific actions for each work package. One of the main discussion topics was the Summer School, which will take place in the Netherlands, on 3rd – 5th of October, 2023, together with Wageningen University & Research and Food Transition Coalition, on a first approach to Food Systems.

At the end of the meeting, FOSTER partners had a wonderful opportunity to meet face-to-face and had fruitful discussions where they were able to share their thoughts and ideas on what is needed from every project member to effectively achieve the project’s goals.

FOSTER 2nd Project Meeting

FOSTER – Fostering food system transformation by integrating heterogeneous perspectives in knowledge and innovation within the European Research Area

FOSTER is an ambitious Horizon Europe-funded project that will build food system capabilities, knowledge and new governance mechanisms for scientists, citizens and policymakers.

It is just on the next week that FOSTER will have the 2nd Project Meeting! It will take place in Novi Sad, Serbia on 28th and 29th of March 2023!

The meeting will have the participation of all partners, that are working together to gain insight into how knowledge and innovation systems can be adapted, made more inclusive and better governed to transform Europe’s food system outcomes for improved health, enterprise and the environment.

The main outcomes will be on the table, namely FOSTER Platform, Summer Schools and newly developed methodologies. 

We will use this opportunity to discuss the work we have done so far, and focus on the interaction with our Citizen Driven Initiatives (CDIs) partners! 

The main topics for the brainstorming will be: 

  • legislations as opportunities/barriers in changing food systems on local and national level
  • successes/barriers in knowledge exchange among different stakeholders for changing food systems
  • public engagement as opportunity in changing food systems

We will focus on involving the CDIs knowledge and experience, on what/when/how can we improve the food system knowledge and innovation beyond the AKIS (Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems) to a FOKIS one (FOod system Knowledge and Innovation System).  

The event will be hosted by our partner BioSense, and we will discuss and plan the future work.

Check out our social media for continuous updates during the meeting!





New HORIZON EUROPE project fostering food system transformation

FOSTER – Fostering food system transformation by integrating heterogeneous perspectives in knowledge and innovation within the European Research Area

FOSTER is an ambitious Horizon Europe-funded project that will build food system capabilities, knowledge and new governance mechanisms for scientists, citizens and policymakers.

The vision of FOSTER is to build a foundation from which a new Knowledge and Innovation System (KIS) for Europe’s food system can emerge to better address the emerging challenges of providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The key objective of FOSTER is to gain insights into how a new KIS can be built to address this challenge in a more inclusive, transdisciplinary, and effective way, addressing food system challenges from an integral food systems perspective rather than by looking at its different components separately. FOSTER will help transform Europe’s food system outcomes and will achieve this by building a FOSTER Platform and establishing the FOSTER Summer School. For the platform food system, state-of-the-art knowledge will be gathered, and new knowledge will be included by semi-automated Horizon scanning, foresight trend and threat analysis, and new multi-dimensional scenarios of EU food systems for 2040. Summer schools will be held on a yearly basis and will focus on various aspects of the food system as well as provide access to external stakeholders. The project also includes trend and threat analysis foresight, as well as an exploration of policy support and governance options for food systems KIS. In all of this, FOSTER will work closely with six Citizen Driven Initiatives (CDIs) across five countries, through which new knowledge, strategies, and Action Research Agendas will be gained. As a result, new approaches and solutions for various R&I policy support mechanisms for mission-oriented R&I policy will be developed. This way, FOSTER aims to develop insights into how the KIS can be broadened from an agricultural-KIS to a food system-KIS. To inspire the adoption of FOSTER learnings, over 20 workshops and a final conference will be conducted, and scientific position papers and policy briefs will be widely communicated.

Since the beginning of FOSTER, the different partners have been working together on the horizon scanning of Food Systems, building context scenarios, and establishing a FOSTER knowledge platform. Also, laying the foundation for a European Food Systems Academy based on assessing current food systems understanding across the CDIs, will guide a series of Summer Schools drawing together citizen and “mainstream” scientists. FOSTER started the engagement with the CDIs to gain further insight into their organisational structure, their main objectives, and their integration into networks and political structures as the basis for the development of tailored recommendations on food system innovations. FOSTER mapped the European policy landscape for food systems K&I and created an inventory of recent European research projects focusing on the governance of food systems transformation.

FOSTER was launched on September 1, 2022, and includes a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder consortium with 18 different institutions, including representatives from the CDIs and leading scientists from 7 European countries. The FOSTER kick-off meeting took place in Brussels on September 20 and 21, 2022, and the second full project meeting is set for March 28 and 29, 2023, in Serbia. 

Consortium Picture