Identifiant du topic: HORIZON-CL6-2024-GOVERNANCE-01-2

Regional ecosystems of innovation to foster food system transformation

Type d'action : HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions
Nombre d'étapes : Single stage
Date d'ouverture : 17 octobre 2023
Date de clôture : 28 février 2024 17:00
Budget : €3 500 000
Call : Innovative governance, environmental observations and digital solutions in support of the Green Deal
Call Identifier : HORIZON-CL6-2024-GOVERNANCE-01
Description :


In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environment‑friendly food system, the food 2030 priorities and the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the successful proposal will contribute to the sustainability and resilience of EU food systems by supporting the establishment of innovative governance models notably to achieve better-informed decision-making processes, social engagement and innovation. Successful proposals will boost knowledge sharing, interactions and priority setting in the form of an acceleration agenda between all relevant food systems actors, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial clusters, start-ups, universities/research centres, public authorities and civil society organisations.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Coherent business-focused analysis of R&I bottlenecks and opportunities for the transition of European food systems in line with the farm to fork strategy objectives, in particular to contribute to the 25% organic food target.
  • Improved coordination of existing European and national platforms with regional innovation ecosystems actors at EU level.
  • Strengthened European regions (NUTS 2 level) and their regional actors.
  • Contribution to the farm to fork objectives and food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate, biodiversity and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities (e.g., meeting the needs, values and expectations of society in a responsible and ethical way).


Collaboration between innovation actors across Europe is necessary to accelerate and master the innovative solutions needed for the food system transformation and the implementation of sustainable solutions. Innovation ecosystems can be found in many locations in Europe, but too few places can be seen as regional ecosystems of innovation. Moreover, the strength and depth of interconnections, information flows and knowledge transfers inside innovation ecosystems and between actors vary widely.

Strong and well-connected food systems actors, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial clusters, start-ups, universities/research centres, public authorities and civil society organisations, have the potential to become ecosystems of innovation facilitating coordination and multi-stakeholder engagement, to create an effective framework for action to support the food system transition in the EU and Associated Countries. The framework is expected to allow pooling of resources, coordinating efforts, and facilitating and promoting the multi-actor approach. Relevant capacities to foster the necessary R&I in the short, medium, and long term will be developed, giving a specific focus to the objective to boost the organic food sector.

Proposed activities should cover all of the following aspects:

  • Strengthen existing ecosystems of innovation to broaden their scope and take on a “food systems approach” that delivers on the Food 2030 co-benefits (nutrition, public health, climate, circularity and communities) by: (a) deploying a quadruple helix model (that fully engages the four major actors in the innovation system: small and medium-sized enterprises and industrial clusters, universities/research centres, public authorities, and civil society organisations); and (b) delivering solutions that empower regional actors and their regional innovation ecosystems through an acceleration agenda.
  • Devise an acceleration agenda connected with existing research and innovation agendas that align to target mutual objectives and cross regional collaborations, in particular by identifying and creating links to regions with priorities relevant for sustainable food systems identified in their local smart specialisation strategies, as well as relevant smart specialisation partnerships and platforms (such as the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platform on Agri-food).
  • Provide technical assistance, encourage “mutual learning” and stimulate “new” ecosystems of innovation in parts of Europe that are less well integrated, for example with the objectives of the BIOEAST Food Systems Thematic Working Group (e.g., to catalyse future reflections and discussions at regional level regarding the need to work together to tackle food system transformations).
  • Explore how the existing Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach can help regional actors to implement farm to fork relevant objectives, in particular for societally relevant market solutions that contribute to public health objectives and environmental businesses such that they contribute to the “EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practice”.
  • Take a systemic view to help industries built up around the European food systems related businesses, to innovate and cooperate, thereby proposing solutions of regional relevance.
  • Identify and facilitate synergies with other financing and capacity building instruments to enable progress along the whole innovation pipeline, including the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3), a new funding instrument under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach' and ensure adequate involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial clusters, start-ups, universities/research centres, public authorities and civil society organisations and other relevant actors of the value chain.

Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under in the work programme from 2018-2020 and 2021-2022, namely CE-FNR-07-2020: “FOOD 2030 - Empowering cities as agents of food system transformation” and HORIZON-CL6-2021-GOVERNANCE-01-07 “Regional governance models in the bioeconomy”.

Collaboration and complementary with the European Partnership on “Sustainable Food Systems for People, Plant and Climate” is encouraged. This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines, as it involves the quadruple helix to deliver innovative locally-based and bottom-up solutions, engaging citizens and leading to behavioural changes. In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is encouraged.