Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy

Article
A transition is needed towards an optimal and renewable use of biological resources and towards sustainable primary production and processing systems. These systems will need to produce more food, fibre and other bio-based products with minimised inputs, environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions, and with enhanced ecosystem services, zero waste and adequate societal value.

Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, together with the bio-based industries, are integral parts of the European economy and society. Relying on the use of limited natural resources, these sectors produce and process biological resources to satisfy the demand of consumers and a wide range of industries for food, feed, bio-energy and bio-based products. While they enhance Europe’s self-reliance and provide jobs and business opportunities essential for rural, coastal and marine areas, these sectors are also facing significant challenges which require solutions based on research and innovation.
 

Agriculture and forestry

Agriculture and forestry have always had and maintain an important role for EU’s society: they supply reliable, healthy and nutritious food as well as feed and non-food products for a wide range of industries, shape and take care of our landscapes, provide public goods, and keep the countryside alive by providing jobs. Research activities and policies will help to cope with the three main challenges these sectors are facing today: securing viable food production in face of a growing world food demand; ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and climate action; and finally to contribute to a balanced territorial development of the EU’s rural areas and their communities.
 

Agri-food sector for a safe and healthy diet

Ensuring food security goes beyond securing a sufficient supply. It also requires social and economic access to safe and nutritious food. Food consumption has an impact on human health and the environment. The challenge is how to meet consumers' needs and preferences while minimising the related impact on health and the environment. Research and innovation will address food and feed security and safety, the competitiveness of the European agri-food industry and the sustainability of food production, processing and consumption. It will cover the whole food chain and related services from primary production to consumption.
 

Aquatic living resources and marine research

Oceans and seas represent over 70% of the earth's surface, and living aquatic resources can provide a significant contribution to food, energy and bio-based products. The objective is to sustainably manage and exploit aquatic living resources to maximise benefits from Europe's oceans, seas and inland waters. This includes optimising the sustainable contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security, boosting innovation through blue biotechnologies and fostering cross-cutting marine and maritime research to harness the potential of Europe's oceans, seas and coasts for jobs and growth.
 

Bio-based industries

The transition from fossil-based European industries towards low carbon, resource efficient and sustainable ones is a major challenge. It entails the transformation of conventional industrial processes and products into environmentally friendly bio-based ones, the development of integrated bio-refineries and the opening of new markets for bio-based products. Research and innovation will provide the means to reduce the Union's dependency on fossil resources and contribute to meeting its energy and climate change policy targets for 2020.

Investments in research and innovation under this societal challenge will support Europe in contributing to food security, climate protection and sustainability. It will also enable Europe to take leadership in the concerned markets and will play a role in supporting the goals of the Common Agricultural Policy, the European Bioeconomy Strategy, and more broadly of the Europe 2020 strategy and its flagship initiatives 'Innovation Union' and 'Resource-efficient Europe'.

Newsroom

Events

From 24/11/2015 - 01:00 to 27/11/2015 - 01:00
Brussels, Belgium,

Participate in the Brussels info-week on 24-27 November and learn more about the new Horizon 2020 work programme 2016/2017 for Societal Challenge 2: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, maritime and martime inland water research and bio-economy. Read more

From 09/11/2015 - 01:00 to 13/11/2015 - 01:00
Mexico City, Mexico,

The GEO-XII Plenary and the 2015 Ministerial Summit, as well as all the associated meetings and events will take in Mexico City from 9 to 13 November 2015. Read more

From 22/09/2015 - 02:00 to 24/09/2015 - 02:00
Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland ,

This year the EU stand at the National Ploughing Championships will showcase new innovative technologies in agriculture with two EU-funded research projects:

  • SMARTAGRIFOOD2 - developing a new generation of smart agriculture Apps which focus on solving real problems that could revolutionise the farm!
  • TRADEIT showcasing emerging technologies relevant to SME food producers with information on geographical protection/designation.
Read more

Multimedia

28/03/2014 - 11:20

You may have heard of the bioeconomy and wondered what it is all about. Discover it now! Read more

News

18/06/2015 - 02:00

Challenges faced by farming systems today, such as climate change, food security, emerging diseases or rural transitions need a long-term strategy. The European Commission kicks-off the discussion on how this strategy could be elaborated at a workshop in Milan that can be followed on-line. Read more

16/03/2015 - 16:27

How do influenza viruses become able to jump from one species to another? Under which conditions does our immune system protect us against influenza as opposed to making it easy for the virus to develop? How do farmers react when faced to signs of disease? These were some of the questions on which answers are still needed from research to fight animal influenza. Read more

26/02/2015 - 15:14

Rural development is often seen to be a policy issue only. But for policy-making to be evidence-based and well suited to the rapidly evolving needs on the ground a variety of questions must be answered and tools provided. Reflecting on what these questions should be, experts highlighted the crucial importance for research outcomes to be well suited to the operational needs of decision-makers in order to ensure a real impact of rural development research. Read more

Project stories

27/08/2015 - 19:16

Looking for a novel way to visualise the ocean? Think fish. Arrays of sensitive cells on their skin — so-called lateral lines — enable them to perceive water movements by detecting subtle changes in pressure. The LAKHSMI project is developing new monitoring and imaging technology based on this principle. Read more

05/08/2015 - 14:00

Plants are increasingly traded across borders. But they don’t travel alone – tiny pests can travel with them, some of these are damaging for local crops and other plants. An EU-funded project has made it easier for plant protection agencies to identify pests, stop them spreading and support safer trade. Read more

03/08/2015 - 02:00

By developing techniques to produce everyday foods that are both affordable and nutritious, EU-funded researchers are showing the path to a future in which everyone – including those at risk of poverty – can enjoy a healthy diet without worrying about cost. The project’s techniques are being applied by small food processors – a boost to their competitiveness. Read more

Publications

01/04/2015 - 13:30

For three decades, the EU Framework Programmes have been funding breakthroughs across Europe. RTD’s Horizon Magazine looks at the people and events that have helped shape European research policy, taking you behind the scenes during the pivotal moments from the last 30 years of research funding. These articles have been brought together into a special Horizon supplement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Framework Programmes. Read more