Research and Innovation in Agro-Food: A Maze of Perspectives

In an ever-changing world, food does and will continue to constitute the reference point for all other human endeavors: technology, economy, politics, and more. The path Europe is treading is truly unpredictable. In my role as the National Contact Point in the Horizon Europe Programme, I have the advantage of closely observing developments in research and innovation at both national and European levels. Despite the continuous generation of knowledge and innovative ideas, and despite the European Commission ‘listening’ to all these proposals, there are external unforeseen factors that always come up to disrupt everything. Specifically, regarding the issue of agro-food, it is clear that policy in Europe is connected to and affected by many funding sources, such as that of Horizon Europe. Society as a whole is also indirectly linked to research, and research affects policy. There is a continuous open dialogue about how food should be produced, how we should behave towards the environment, but also what about impact this will have on society.

‘Good ideas’ are funded and come to provide solutions to political and social problems. Let’s take the last two unforeseen events as examples: COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. How did this affect research and innovation? The need for self-sufficiency emerged, in food and beyond. Furthermore, the importance of security, whether at an individual or national level, became evident. Funding sources clearly directed the research community towards their needs. But the question remains, how quickly does this mechanism adapt? What then is expected in terms of agro-food innovation in the next two years? What will be the tools that will support, from the bottom up, the safety and health of European citizens, maintaining their equality in the global community?

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics, MSc in Botany-Biology and MSc in Horticulture & Viticulture


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