HORIZON EUROPE┋Citizens’ science as an opportunity to foster the transition to sustainable food systems


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Expected Outcome

This topic is in line with the European Green Deal priorities and the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, as well as of the EU's climate ambition for 2030 and 2050. This will contribute to the Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate, environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities, and thriving businesses.

Data-driven solutions in food systems also benefit the European Open Data Directive to share public data[1] and envisioned data spaces[2] as well as provide a base of AI deployment as enablers of the European Green Deal objectives.

Projects results are expected to contribute to all the following expected outcomes:

  • Better understanding of citizens’ food consumption behaviour, the factors influencing choices and drivers that would facilitate changes in behaviour in an inclusive manner towards healthy and sustainable food consumption practices;
  • Contribution to positive changes in individual behaviour towards healthy and sustainable food consumption and sustainable food system transformation.


Currently, consumers are sceptical to share data, least to the government[3]. As there is a need for more data-driven decision making, engaging citizens in research through the provision of data on their practices, choices and attitudes towards the food system provides potential for a more direct citizen engagement in transforming food systems. The approach allows to exchange ideas, solutions, and opinions to encourage Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in driving sustainable food system transformation.

Citizen’s science[4] is a fast-growing mode of research and innovation[5] that can allow for enhanced food system transformation driven by engagement, trust and transparency. It can leverage relevant private relevant data to take stock of current citizens’ behaviour towards the food system, including aspects such as food consumption, marketing and food environment influence, health, mobility, regionality/locality, food-related waste generation and management, etc. by using collective intelligence.

Proposals are expected to address all the following:

  • Explore the potential of ‘citizen’s science’ in the food systems domain by engaging and empowering citizens in using and providing data and technology to ensure inclusive solutions to drive sustainable food system transformation by promoting sustainable food consumption, reducing food waste, and creating a resilient food system;
  • Identify the challenges and drivers encouraging citizens to share data to ensure inclusive food system transformation;
  • Develop and test tools by using data and technology to enhance uptake of healthy and sustainable diets and foster sustainable food system transformation;
  • Explore which data types are most useful to share (behavioural data, data from private providers, such as data gathered by relevant apps, stated data…etc.) and how to meaningfully harmonize data to use data for food system transformation by different actors, and which tools to best make use of, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) while analysing how consumer data can be shared in an anonymized and safe way complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules;
  • Make concrete efforts to ensure that the data produced in the context of this project is FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable), particularly in the context of real-time data feeds, exploring workflows that can provide “FAIR-by-design” data, i.e., data that is FAIR from its generation;
  • Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this and the topic HORIZON-CL6-2022-GOVERNANCE-01-10 “Piloting approaches and tools to empower citizens to exercise their “data rights” in the area of food and nutrition” and HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-60: “A capacity-building and brokering network to make citizen science an integral part of the European Research Area”;
  • Proposals are encouraged to cooperate with actors such as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). The JRC may provide expertise on how to strengthen the relationship between scientists and European policy makers and to promote research and collaboration on food systems science.
  • Connect personal data on food to other areas, such as mobility and health and identify synergies; projects shall leverage the data and services available through European Research Infrastructures federated under the European Open Science Cloud and, where relevant, establish synergies with the Data Space for smart communities11 and make use of open standards and technical specifications, for example the Minimum Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs Plus);
  • Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach' and ensure adequate involvement of citizens/civil society, together with academia/research, industry/SMEs and government/public authorities and include social innovation as the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices and social ownership;
  • This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

Specific Topic Conditions

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 3-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32019L1024&from=EN

[2] DIGITAL WP 2021-2022

[3] L. Timotijevic, S. Astley, M.J. Bogaardt, T. Bucher, I. Carr, G. Copani, J. de la Cueva, T. Eftimov, P. Finglas, S. Hieke, C.E. Hodgkins, B. Koroušić Seljak, N. Klepacz, K. Pasch, M. Maringer, B.E. Mikkelsen, A. Normann, K.T. Ofei, K. Poppe, G. Pourabdollahian, M.M. Raats, M. Roe, C. Sadler, T. Selnes, H. van der Veen, P. van’t Veer, K. Zimmermann, Designing a research infrastructure (RI) on food behaviour and health: Balancing user needs, business model, governance mechanisms and technology, Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 116, 2021, Pages 405-414, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2021.07.022, Note: this paper discusses an international research infrastructure.

[4] Citizen science n. scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions (Oxford English Dictionary)

[5] wp-11-widening-participation-and-strengthening-the-european-research-area_horizon-2021-2022_en.pdf (europa.eu)

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Date de candidature
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie
Sciences sociales : Economie, Géographie, Science politique, Sciences environnementales, Sociologie
Sciences participatives