Roskilde University is at the forefront of the Danish part of a large EU-funded study on sustainability in the agriculture and food sector
The European Commission increasingly focuses on a sustainable and climate-smart transition of the agriculture, food and meal sector, and therefore it has initiated a series of research projects that are to provide the necessary scientific foundation for the initiatives and strategies that are planned for the years ahead.
One of the research projects is the four-year international project called NEXTFOOD. The European Commission has supported NEXTFOOD with over DKK 50 million (€ 7 mio) to investigate which new technical and organisational changes and enhanced competences the relevant professional groups in the entire sector require.
Roskilde University have dedicated research activities in agro-ecology, sustainable food systems and green transition. These RUC activities offer a strong knowledge platform, as these are core competences for the future transition processes of the food systems on both local and global scale.
Professor Niels Heine Kristensen from Roskilde University is at the forefront of the Danish partnership in the NEXTFOOD consortium. He is a board member of the project and he manages the project work of mapping which competences will be needed in connection with the sector’s sustainable transition.
“The coming generation of professionals will need concrete knowledge on how to facilitate the transition of our agriculture and food production towards becoming more sustainable and climate-friendly. One of the prerequisites for that to happen is that we possess the right knowledge and that it is research-based. An overall objective of the NEXTFOOD project is to ensure that we systematise this knowledge and make it available to both the educational sector, the business community and the decision makers in society. For example, we know from the wind power sector that such targeted knowledge about both technical and organisational issues can help create new dynamics in an entire sector and promote a green transition,” says Niels Heine Kristensen.
Niels Heine Kristensen has many years of experience in researching the transition towards sustainable and organic food production. Over the years, he has contributed to ensuring that future generations of professionals will acquire competences during their studies that will help them to understand how a sustainable transition can be most effectively planned and implemented in close collaboration with partners from the business community, institutions and authorities.
As part of the research project, Roskilde University will be involved in dialogues with key persons throughout the entire Danish food sector in order to acquire data and knowledge on the agricultural, food, meal and gastronomic sectors.
The new knowledge acquired during the NEXTFOOD project will be available to both the European Commission and many of the sectors’ actor groups and decision makers. With the new research-based knowledge, they will gain a more robust foundation for deciding how to contribute to planning and implementing a sustainable transition.
The NEXTFOOD consortium consists of 19 partners in 13 different countries across three continents. Its total budget is DKK 54 million of which 4.5 million are allocated to the Danish team at Roskilde University.