A successful proposal will support the deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers for the European Green Deal priorities, the EU's Climate ambition for 2030 and 2050 and the farm to fork strategy for a fair healthy and environmentally friendly food system. It will help to bring about innovative and inclusive governance, better informed decision-making processes, social engagement, and innovation.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the expected outcomes:
- empower citizens to exercise their “data rights” and to contribute to a just transition of food systems
- pilot digital solutions in food systems and nutrition with enhanced personal data protection and data sovereignty and which achieve a fairer distribution of wealth and benefits
- advance alternative approaches to food system data sharing that promote innovation and increase competition
Proposals should support the implementation of the European Data Strategy in food systems. The European Data Strategy has the ambition to make the EU the leading role model for a society empowered by data, for the benefit of all. It outlines a future in which the way that data is collected and used, places the individual first, in accordance with European values, fundamental rights and rules. It also emphasises that citizens will only trust and embrace much needed data-driven innovations – in food systems and beyond - if they are confident that any personal data sharing in the EU is compliant with strict data protection rules and respectful of their data sovereignty. Current centralised platforms for big and social data management in food systems tend to consolidate the dominance of existing incumbent actors. They allow limited control over the data by citizens (e.g. food purchasing data, data from wearables on activity and health, online behaviour regarding diet and food, data from personalised nutrition solutions), and enable lock-ins by limiting data portability.
Proposals should build on recent research and innovation about new architectures for managing online identity, personal and other data as an alternative to current dominant models. They should pilot new approaches to digital solutions in food systems and nutrition, which enhance personal data protection and data sovereignty, and which achieve a fairer distribution of wealth and benefits. The pilots should test and fine-tune new approaches that address the lack of sovereignty of European citizens on food and nutrition related data, and allow them to decide what is done with their data (purchasing data, data on dietary behaviour, nutritional health data, physical activity data). This data also includes the data that is generated by smart connected devices used by citizens. The tools and concepts of the pilots can include consent management tools, personal information management apps (including fully centralised solutions building on blockchain), as well as personal data cooperatives or trusts acting as novel neutral intermediaries in the personal data economy.
Proposals and their pilots should demonstrate the feasibility of achieving a more acceptable trade-off between the need for data-driven innovation in food and nutrition and the need for personal data protection and data sovereignty. They should be focused on 2 key areas of digital transformation and data driven innovation in food systems (such as online food retail, home delivery of food, personalised nutrition, digital tracking of food and nutrition related consumer behaviour, food advertising) whose future development is likely to have significant impact on reaching the objectives and targets of the EU’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy, on meeting the EU's Climate ambition for 2030 and 2050 and on contributing to a just transition. Proposals should explain and map how the pilots will achieve co-benefits relevant to the four Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowerment of communities. Gender aspects should be considered, where relevant.
Proposals may provide support to third parties to develop and implement the pilots. This support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. As a reference, 50% of the EU funding can be allocated to financial support to the third parties, through grant amounts that are in the EUR 150 000 to 300 000 range. The amounts are deemed sufficient to pilot solutions that enough impact to be able to advance alternative approaches to food system data sharing. Proposals should focus their support for the pilots on third party projects from outstanding academic research groups, start-ups and SMEs, so that multiple third parties can be funded in parallel contributing to the same key area of digital transformation and data driven innovation, using short research cycles targeting the most promising ideas. Each of the selected third parties projects should pursue its own pilot and objectives, while the proposal should provide the programme logic and vision, the necessary technical support, as well as coaching and mentoring, in order that the collection of third party projects and pilots contributes towards a significant advancement and impact in the key area. The focus should be on advanced research that can be brought quickly to the market; apps and services that innovate without a research component are not covered by this model.
Proposals should make explicit their capacity to attract top talent, to bring about disruptive innovation in line with EU policy objectives, to engage with a broad range of with food system actors and stakeholders as well as with communities and citizens, to deliver a solid value-adding services package to the third party projects, as well as their expertise and capacity in managing the full life-cycle of the open calls transparently. They should explore synergies with other research and innovation actions, supported at regional, national or European level, to increase the overall impact.
Where possible they should make data available for broader communal use (as part of “data commons for food and nutrition”) and seek integration of the data and value-added services on those data through federated infrastructure such as the European Open Science Cloud.
This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines
Specific Topic Conditions:
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-6 (according to the activity) by the end of the project – see General Annex B.
Digital AgendaSocial sciences and humanitiesEOSC and FAIR dataArtificial Intelligence
 Compliance with strict data protection rules and data sovereignty are referred to as “data rights” in the title
 For example: Horizon 2020 projects DECODE and LEDGER developed distributed and open platforms for citizen-friendly data governance (using technologies including blockchain, distributed ledger) and promoted open disruptive innovation.
 See EU Green Deal