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Call: Mapping and improving the data economy for food systems

Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 7: Innovative Governance, Environmental Oberservations and Digital Solutions in Support of the Green Deal"

Transformative changes such as the ones required within the Green Deal are dynamic processes that require appropriate governance. At the same time, to ensure coordination and for collaborative decision-making, governance requires multiple channels and networks that provide readily available data and information coming from different sources.

R&I activities under this destination aim at both: experimenting with new ways to govern the transition process and modernising the governance, in particular by making information and knowledge available and accessible. R&I for governance to support the Green Deal shall provide insights into institutional barriers such as lock-ins, path dependency, political and cultural inertia power imbalances and regulatory inconsistencies or weaknesses.

Innovative governance supporting the Green Deal objectives needs to recognise, cope with and promote resilience in the face of on-going shocks and disruptions both globally and across Europe, whether these be climatic, ecological, economic, social, geo-political or related to health. Critical risk assessment and reduction strategies need to be incorporated, including the diversification of infrastructures, resources and knowledge through more self-sufficiency and autonomy.

Taking advantage of the use, uptake, deployment and exploitation of environmental observations[[The capacity to observe the environment, including space-based, in-situ-based (air, sea, land) observation, and citizen observations]] as well as digital solutions, assessed through the “do not harm” principle of the Green Deal, is key for innovative governance models and a more science-based policy design, implementation and monitoring. To maximise impacts of R&I on the ground and spark behavioural and socio-economic change, the knowledge and innovation produced throughout the whole cluster should be widely disseminated to key stakeholders of the relevant sectors of the cluster. In particular, the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) needs to be reinforced to accelerate the required transformative changes.

Data and information obtained through Environmental Observation is of great value when assessing the state of the planet and is delivering crucial information to support the Green Deal and the climate and ecological transition. Integration of this information from different sources (space-based, airborne including drones, in-situ and citizens observations) with other relevant data and knowledge while ensuring (better) accessible, interoperable or deployable information, delivers information necessary for shaping the direction of the development of policies in the broad context of Cluster 6 of Horizon Europe. A strong link to the European Earth observations programme Copernicus (in Cluster 4) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth observation programme, as well as support to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), its European regional initiative (EuroGEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is foreseen for topics on environmental observations under this destination. R&I activities relevant to ocean, seas and coastal waters will complement and support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and UN Decade on Restoration, the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative, the pan-Commission Destination Earth initiative, the European Global Ocean Observing System (EOOS) and the GOOS 2030 strategy.

Digital innovation, in complementarity with Cluster 4 and Digital Europe Programmes activities, should bring benefits for citizens, businesses, researchers, the environment, society at large and policy-makers. The potential of the ongoing digital transformation, and its wider impacts, positive and negative, need to be better understood and monitored in view of future policy design and implementation, governance, and solution development

This destination will develop innovative digital and data based solutions to support communities and society at large, and economic sectors relevant for this cluster to achieve sustainability objectives. R&I activities will add value to the knowledge and cost-effectiveness of innovative technologies in and across primary production sectors, food systems, bioeconomy, ocean and biodiversity.

Knowledge and advice to all actors relevant to this cluster are key to improve sustainability. For instance, primary producers have a particular need for impartial and tailored advice on sustainable management choices. Knowledge and Innovation Systems are key drivers to enhance co-creation and thus speed up innovation and the take-up of results needed to achieve the Green Deal objectives and targets. This will include promoting interactive innovation and co-ownership of results by users, as well as strengthening synergies with other EU Funds in particular the CAP, reinforcing the multi-actor approach and setting up structural networking within national/regional/local AKISs. AKIS goes beyond agriculture, farming and rural activities and covers environment, climate, biodiversity, landscape, bio-based economy, consumers and citizens, i.e., all food and bio-based systems including transformation and distribution chains up until the consumer.

Expected impacts

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to innovative governance and sound decision making in policy for the green transition, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Innovative governance models enabling sustainability and resilience notably to achieve better informed decision-making processes, societal engagement and innovation;
  • Green Deal related domains benefit from further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products ;
  • A strengthened Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) [[The European Commission is a member and co-chair of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), as such the European Commission adopted the GEO Canberra Declaration ( and Commission Decision C(2019)7337/F1) and committed to contribute to the GEO objectives, including to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).]];
  • Sustainability performance and competitiveness in the domains covered by Cluster 6 are enhanced through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers;
  • More informed and engaged stakeholders and end users including primary producers and consumers thanks to effective platforms such as Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS)
  • Strengthened EU and international science-policy interfaces to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

When considering their impact, proposals also need to assess their compliance with the “Do No Significant Harm” principle [[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]] according to which the research and innovation activities of the project should not be supporting or carrying out activities that make a significant harm to any of the six environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

Topics under this destination will have impacts in the following areas: “Climate change mitigation and adaptation”; “Clean and healthy air, water and soil”; “Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in water”; “Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea”; “High quality digital services for all”; and “A Competitive and secure data-economy”.

Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.

Link Link to Programme
Mapping and improving the data economy for food systems
Description of call
"Mapping and improving the data economy for food systems"

Expected Outcome:

This action will enhance the sustainability performance and competitiveness in the domains covered by Cluster 6 through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers. It will help to achieve better informed decision-making processes, social engagement, governance and innovation. It will help deliver solutions to advance 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. In particular, it will contribute to improving the data economy for food systems.

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

  • address the lack of solid knowledge about the data economy in food systems, its development, its fairness and inclusiveness, and its impacts including on EU policy objectives such as those related to food and nutrition security (FNS), sustainable and resilient food systems, climate change, health, competitiveness, fair trading practices, privacy, and consumer protection
  • increase insights in the state-of-play, the actual and potential impacts (positive and negative), the drivers, barriers and enablers of digital transformation, its fairness and inclusiveness
  • accelerate the positive impacts of the digital transformation, and broaden the group of citizens, communities, companies and other food system stakeholders that benefit from it.


Data driven innovation is fast reshaping the way we produce and consume food. It enhances the potential to manage natural resources more efficiently and to care for the ecosystems that our food production relies on without exceeding finite boundaries. It improves the transparency of our food systems, processes and products from farm to fork, enables a more resilient, safe, circular and customised supply and more personalised diets. It motivates policy-makers, regulators and researchers to make better use of data for monitoring and for generating new insights.

Proposals should gather expertise from a broad range of disciplines and food system participants to obtain new insights and achieve a deepened and more comprehensive understanding of the data economy for food systems. New insights and understanding should relate to the data economy’s structure, its functioning, its present and potential development and its performance versus relevant EU policy objectives, as a basis for future policy recommendations, improved governance and monitoring.

The research that is conducted should therefore go well beyond technology insights and include a holistic assessment of the state-of-play of the data economy, data driven innovation and data reuse in EU food systems, of the drivers, barriers and enablers of digital transformation, and of ongoing and expected trends, including behavioural. Proposals should assess actual and expected impacts (positive and negative) of this transformation on the performance of EU food systems versus the 3 dimensions of sustainability and versus relevant EU policy objectives, including “the European Green Deal” (and therein “the EU Farm-to-Fork Strategy”), an “Economy that works for people” and “a Europe fit for the digital age”. In their assessment of impact, proposals should include a review of the inclusiveness of the ongoing digital transformation in EU food systems (e.g. participation of micro-companies and SMEs, role of gender), and study the fairness of the data economy (e.g. presence of power asymmetries based on data holdings, unfair competition and practices, fair distribution of added value among actors, empowerment of consumers, including the most vulnerable). Proposals will perform 5-10 detailed end-to-end case studies of data flows and reuse in specific parts of our food systems, from farm to fork.

Proposals will put in place a broad stakeholder dialogue to facilitate and discuss new insights, to boost mutual learning and cooperation, to increase awareness among policy makers and stakeholder representatives about the benefits and pitfalls of digital transformation, and to generate new ideas and approaches to improve governance of the data economy in food systems. The stakeholder dialogue should attract and involve players from all parts of the data value chain and representing different sectors and markets. Special care should be taken to involve SMEs, young entrepreneurs, young farmers, start-ups, cities and consumers, and to include relevant actors that are not directly linked to the food value chains (e.g. social media companies, knowledge brokers, educators).

Proposals should develop a framework for the data economy in food systems, as a basis for monitoring its future development, its performance and impacts.

Proposals should formulate recommendations (including technological, societal, economic, legal) for policy makers (EU, national, regional, local) and other stakeholders. They should do this with a view to accelerating the uptake of data driven innovation and data reuse in a socially acceptable way and to improving the development, functioning, governance, monitoring, impact and fairness of the data economy in food systems, within the context of overall EU policy objectives. These recommendations should also take into account trends and opportunities that the research identified, that are expected to be important drivers of change in food systems, and for which improved governance, adapted legal frameworks, new policy initiatives and enhanced societal engagement (from citizen science to prosumer approaches) can significantly increase the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of future changes. This includes efforts to explain and map how the recommendations generate co-benefits for the four Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowerment of communities.

These recommendations should also address the need for more (and more effective) exchange and reuse of data assets across parts of EU food systems, national boundaries and language barriers, public and private sectors, and for a wider adoption of data driven-innovations. They should also help to mitigate power asymmetries based on data holdings, ensure fairer competition in the data economy, maximise benefits for citizens and food system actors and enable more open access to data. More specifically, an EU data space for Food systems, in which data is shared for the common good (“data commons”), should be examined to support the objectives of the EU Farm-to-Fork Strategy. Integration of such a data space, with the European Open Science Cloud, the common European data space for research and innovation, should aim at allowing the research community to create new knowledge in this domain.

Proposals should set out a clear plan on how they plan to collaborate with other projects selected under this and any other relevant call, by participating in joint activities, workshops, as well as common communication and dissemination activities.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Administration & Governance, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Rural & Peripheral Development, Regional Development & Regional Planning, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Health, Social Affairs, Sports
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Public Services, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 10.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 10.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%

The proposals must use the multi-actor approach.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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