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CITIES2030: providing food for all in 2030

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Publié le lundi 05 octobre 2020

The University of Luxembourg together with 41 European partners have recently received 12 million euros for the project CITIES2030 “Co-creating resilient and sustainable food towards FOOD2030”, coordinated by the Universita ca' Foscari Venezia. Funded by the European Union H2020 research programme for the period 2020-2024, CITIES2030 aims to implement sustainable cities and regions food systems.

Huge food challenges

“Population overgrowth, rapid urbanisation, vast migration phenomena, climate change and resources scarcity have accelerated dramatically in recent years. With 9 billion people, most living in cities, 3 billion overweight, and 2 billion without enough food, the situation is not going to improve. Without transition towards sustainable Urban food systems and ecosystems (UFSE), the environment will persist being degraded and diminish the world’s capacities to produce quality food for all, whilst decreasing capacities to provide food to all”, comments Stefanie Östlund who coordinates the project within the Security and Networking Lab (SECAN-Lab) led by Prof. Thomas Engel at the University of Luxembourg. 

Cross-sector and multi-stakeholder project

The main goal of CITIES2030 is to create a future proof and effective Urban food systems and ecosystems (UFSE) via a connected structure centered on the citizen, built on trust, with partners encompassing the entire UFSE. CITIES2030 commits to work towards the transformation and restructuring of the way systems produce, transport and supply, recycle and reuse food in the 21st century. CITIES2030 vision is to connect short food supply chains, gathering consumers, strategic and complement industry partners, the civil society, promising start-ups and enterprises, innovators and visionary thinkers, leading universities and research across the vast diversity of disciplines addressing UFSE, including food science, social science and big data. 

The project gathers 6 universities (Universita ca' Foscari Venezia, Hogeschool VIVES, Politecnica de Madrid, Spain, Riga Technical, University of Nicosa, University of Luxembourg) . The cities of Bremerhaven, Bruges, Haarlem, Iasi, Quart de Poblet, Murska Sobota, Seinajoki, Velika Gorica, Vejle, Vicenza together with the regions of Troodos and Vidzeme will act as front-runners for policy system thinking activities and living labs. Also, 23 organisations from countries spread over Europe are participating (Istanbul Avrupa Arastirmalari Dernegi, Inagro, Erevnitiko Idrima, Razvojna Agencije Grada Velika Gorica, Inventivna Rjesenja, Quantitas, Into Seinajoki, Proagria Etela-Pohjanmaa, Smart & Lean Hub, Biozoon, Ayuntamiento De Quart De Poblet, Fundacion Socialinnolabs, Waterford Institute Of Technology, Matis, Future Food Institute, Latvijas Lauku Forums, Zdruzenie Platforma Za Zelen Razvojskopje, Ag Futura Technologii Dooel Skopje, Correlate, Stichting Vu, Mestna Obcina Murska Sobota, Enosi Kinotiton Kiprou, Primelayer, European Project Consulting).

The partners will work closely together to secure healthy and sustainable food, stop food poverty and insecurity, protect and preserve natural resources, enhance circularity and local food belts and develop food culture and skills. 

Key role of cities

“The role of cities in future-proofing the food systems is unanimously acknowledged and encouraged. This puts importance and urgency to cities taking an agency for food system transformation and actively seizing the opportunity for strengthening urban resilience. Or, to use a catchphrase - turning big societal challenges into opportunities for development, using one problem to fix several others. Behind the catch phrase, there are several barriers for cities to embark on food system transformation, as it is a massive complex to address, let alone putting into an orchestrated, forward action. The macro-narrative of food system transformation must be actionable and the systemic change an accumulated effect of deeply contextualized actions. CITIES2030 will enable key mechanisms and structure actionable resources to assist cities tackle the challenges”, explains Stefanie. role

Prof. Engel’s team is interested in the research parts of the project that touch the main research focus areas of the group, namely in computer networking, privacy by distribution, network and system security, SCADA and cyber security, Big Data, IoT, vehicular communication and multimodal traffic management, wireless networks and mobile security (

“The complex holistic system thinking methodology of this project, built on a “Food+Tech Connect” approach, is citizen-driven and considers all relevant elements, such as Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). The project foresees a set of activities for policy framework development and innovative action which engages and activates all agents of the urban food supply chain. Concepts and methodology are based on extensive literature. The living lab concept and the project plans are crucial to implement it at policy level as well. Building on block-chain solutions enables to fight against food fraud. By delivering accurate, almost real-time digital data of the whole supply chain suitable actions can be taken“, comments  Prof. Thomas Engel.  

“The strength of this project is the creation of new and sound evidence for policy-makers in relation to urban food systems in support of policy development. Building up of political commitment and capacity for multi-objective coordinated strategies, roadmaps and actions between different government departments, jurisdictions and stakeholders that aim at delivering co-benefits relevant to FOOD 2030 priorities”, comments Latif Ladid, senior researcher at SECAN-Lab. 


The project CITIES2030 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000640. 

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