On 14th January 2020, the University of Newcastle participated in an EC research and innovation workshop on “farmers and rural agri-food SMEs in food systems transitioning to sustainability” in Brussels, Belgium. Matthew Gorton, who represented the university gave a presentation on boosting a sustainable and circular food economy for vibrant rural areas.

The workshop was organized by the European Commission in the context of the strategic planning process of Horizon Europe. The objective of the workshop was to identify and discuss research and innovation priorities to strengthen the position of farmers and rural SMEs in food systems transitioning to sustainability.

The discussion was structured around the following 4 focus areas:

• Functioning of agri-food markets and value chains

• Quality, certification and traceability of agricultural products

• Sustainable and circular food economy in vibrant rural areas

• Farm resilience in changing food system