Core Research Themes
To respond to the interconnected challenges of sustainable agriculture, food security and impacts of climate change, FACCE-JPI has elaborated five interdisciplinary Core Themes in their Strategic Research Agenda.
The Governing Board determines the FACCE-JPI strategy and the joint activities to implement on the basis of transnational workshops and with support from the Scientific Advisory Board and the Stakeholder Advisory Board.
These core research themes are gradually taken into account by national research agendas in view of aligning national programmes where much research is already undertaken, and inspire pilot joint actions on topics where research is lacking.
In 2016 the original Strategic Research Agenda saw an update. This update refreshed the original five Core Themes, reframing them around new, more impact-driven research priorities.
Core Theme 1 Sustainable Food Security under Climate Change
It is essential to know how vulnerable the European food system is to climate change.
Theme one includes identifying the key vulnerabilities, and evaluating the policy options that can increase the resilience of the system. Research groups improve scenario studies and modelling, assess the impact of policy instruments and regulatory measures, and analyse the influence of consumer behaviours on the food system. They will also advise companies and governments about how to reduce food waste, and how to re-use valuable resources such as crop waste.
Core Theme 2 Sustainable intensification of agricultural systems
Intensive farming systems face challenges such as drought, soil depletion, water pollution and biodiversity loss. Theme two is aimed at the efficiency of water, land, nutrient and energy use under intensive farming systems. One goal is lowering their environmental footprint, another goal is enhancing food security. Issues include the analysis of recent crop yield trends in Europe, the improvement of integrated crop and animal health management practices, and the development of knowledge-based ICT-applications for farmers and advisors.
Core Theme 3 Developing synergies and reducing trade-offs between food supply, biodiversity and ecosystem services
Increasing numbers of European farmers are experimenting with agro-ecological approaches such as intercropping, crop mixtures, agroforestry and conservation agriculture. Theme three includes improving these systems, and developing methods for evaluating nature production, carbon sequestration, water storage and other ecosystem services.
Core Theme 4 Adaptation to climate change
Farmers, food companies, water management organizations and other stakeholders in the agri-food chain can choose from many options when it comes to climate change adaptation. Possibilities include introducing drought resistant crops, planting trees and hedges, drip-irrigation and, for example, less transportation of food. Theme four is aimed at supporting short, medium and long-term adaptation pathways, and the achievement of climate-smart agricultural systems. Research includes risk-assessment studies, as well as animal and crop breeding and the development of adaptive water- and soil management methods.
Core Theme 5 Mitigation of climate change
Climate change mitigation is one of the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, under which countries have decided to keep warming below two degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. Theme five aims at the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through carbon sequestration, substitution of fossil-based energy and products, and mitigation of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4). Research includes developing cost-effective monitoring methodologies for gas emissions and sequestration, and developing strategies to mitigate GHG emissions in farming systems.
Cross-Cutting Valorisation Activities
The following two cross-cutting valorisation activities aim at better communicating and disseminating FACCE-JPI scientific results to national / EU policy makers and other stakeholders.