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Call for nominations on the topic "Towards an EU Sustainable Food System"

14 March 2019

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) is looking for experts to provide scientific advice within the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism.

The European Commission Group of Chief Scientific Advisors have identified the development of ‘An EU sustainable food system’ as a high priority topic and intend to produce a Scientific Opinion on the topic by March 2020. They believe that a new and holistic systems approach to food is essential for the future well-being of people, the environment and the future security of food supply in a changing world.
They note that there is already an established, large body of high-quality scientific reports and evidence-based policy relevant recommendations on this topic, ranging from local community schemes to global initiatives. However, there seems to be a ‘social sciences deficit’ in these reports, with gaps remaining in scientific advice on ‘how’ best to ensure the transformation to a sustainable food system can occur in a ‘just’ (fair) manner and at the pace that is required.

It is also noted that the social sciences’ perspectives are critically underrepresented in the general debate on sustainable food systems. To address this gap, evidence should predominantly come from the social sciences, including political sciences. The analysis should consider three different levels:

  1. EU and Global (intended to be treated mainly through a major literature study of es-tablished literature)
  2. Member state level, and
  3. Communities/Businesses/Regions/Cities and Rural Areas (the latter two might benefit in particular from analysis of factors for success derived from case studies of existing successful schemes).

Given the request that evidence should predominantly come from the social sciences, with a particular focus on strategies and capabilities of organisations ranging from EU policies to social enterprises, the following areas of expertise on the topic of sustainable food systems are sought (not exhaustive):

  • Public policy
  • Political and policy sciences and political economy
  • History
  • Behavioural science and behavioural economy
  • Sustainable transition studies
  • Socio-economics
  • Consumer sciences
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Expertise in food systems

Please note that some experts from the natural sciences with broad and overlapping expertise in this area are also sought, to ensure a constructive and inclusive interdisciplinary dialogue. All experts will provide their input via physical meetings and are required to produce a first draft of an Evidence Review Report by August 2019. A second consolidated draft will be expected by October 2019.
To express an interest in being nominated to this working group by the Royal Irish Academy, please send a short CV (maximum of two pages) and a short explanation on how your experience meets the areas of expertise needed as listed in the Call to Craig Skerritt ( by Thursday March 28th 2019. For further information, please see the official call for nominations which includes all necessary information.


The European Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) provides independent and transparent scientific advice to the European Commission, working with a European Commission Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) and the European Academies (SAPEA).

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) comprises the five European Academy Net-works: Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM – representing over 100 Academies in over 40 European countries, and spanning the disciplines of engineering, humanities, science and social sciences.

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