6th FOODPathS Funders Forum in Brussels

Poster from interactive session
The 6th FOODPathS Funders Forum took place in Brussels on April 23rd and 24th, marking a significant milestone in the quest to align funding modes for food systems R&I. Attended by a diverse array of stakeholders, funders, policymakers and experts, the two-day event was dedicated to exploring new ways and collecting good practices to implementing Food Systems Approaches within funding cycles, with a particular focus on shaping the forthcoming calls of the FutureFoods partnership.

Day 1

The first day commenced with updates from the FOODPathS project (Hugo de Vries, coordinator, INRAE) and from the FutureFoodS Partnership (Claude Yven, ANR). Daniela Lüth from the European Commission also offered valuable perspectives on the Commission's role in advancing food systems initiatives. 

Session 2 delved into the essence of a food systems approach, with Jasmina van Driel of HDHL/ZonMw introducing this concept within the context of FOODPathS, elucidating its transformative potential through examples and frameworks. Jacqueline Broerse of VU Amsterdam further enriched the discourse with a keynote on systems approach, transition theory and transdisciplinarity, laying a robust foundation for subsequent discussions. 

Another highlight of the event followed in Session 3, which focused on the application of systems approach in research and innovation (R&I) funding. Mine Lindemann of AU/ICROFS showcased pioneering work introducing the FOODPathS analysis of good practice call examples and Nikola Hassan of Jülich elucidated the context within FOODPathS. Attendees actively engaged in interactive sessions, contributing diverse viewpoints and experiences to shape the future trajectory of funding mechanisms in light of a systems approach.

Day 2

Day 2 saw participants immersing themselves in the practical dimensions of systems approach taking the perspective of R&I projects. Sofia Reis of ISEKI provided valuable insights gleaned from focus groups conducted with R&I project coordinators, underscoring the importance of cross-disciplinarity in driving meaningful change and proposing a set of guiding steps and recommendations. 

After Sofia’s presentation, live participants were divided into two groups to collect insights from projects on the opportunities and challenges of following a food systems approach in research projects. One group joined the coordinator of the SYSTEMIC project (Knowledge Hub on Food and Nutrition Security), Habtamu Alem, and the other group joined the “open” group, in which insights were shared from participants’ own experiences in or with projects. 

The forum culminated in a dynamic panel discussion, after Alexandre Dubois of FORMAS had outlined the scoping process towards FutureFoods thematic priorities and call topics. The dialogue underscored the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration and systems thinking in crafting effective funding proposals. Emilie Gätje of Jülich rounded off the event with a presentation on support measures for systems approach, emphasizing the need for community building and capacity enhancement within the FutureFoods Partnership.


The 6th FOODPathS Funders Forum served as a nexus for robust exchange and co-creation, charting a course towards maximising the effect of systemic R&I for more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient food systems. For those that were unable to attend, presentations from the event are available for reference, ensuring widespread dissemination of knowledge and insights. 

The Forum may have concluded, but the insights and knowledge gathered will reinforce the collective effort towards a future where food systems funding catalyzes.