Towards holistic, AI-driven emerging risk assessment: catching stakeholders’ needs in Living Labs

Articles | 2024-04-16 | Nunzia Cito, Veronica Lattanzio

Veronica Lattanzio, Giulia Pietrollini, Nathan Meijer, Ine van der Fels-Klerx

HOLiFOOD is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Programme. The project aims to introduce a holistic approach to tackling food systems risks in a changing global environment. The underlying aim is to improve the integrated food safety risk analysis framework in Europe to support the early detection of food risks in the food chain for a safe and sustainable food system.

HOLiFOOD is implementing a multi-actor codesign approach, using the Living Lab (LL) methodology to ensure stakeholders’ needs and requirements are considered at all stages of the project. For this purpose, three LLs have been activated:

1) AI-driven emerging risk identification
2) Holistic risk assessment and acceptance
3) AI-driven digital platform codesign

The implemented approach also relies on the recent FoodSafety4EU experience where the LL methodology was applied for the first time to food safety issues, and digitalized. This collaborative experiment already involved some of the HOLiFOOD partners and experts.

The HOLiFOOD LL process consists of four workshops, following the “innovation development” phases approach, namely i) “Exploration” workshops focused on the priority-setting as a basis for the setup of the action plan ii) “Experimentation” workshops in which the action plan will be discussed and verified, and the mid-term results will be monitored and evaluated. iii) “Evaluation” workshop in which the output of the LL process will be evaluated, and recommendations for further exploitation will be developed.

Co-creation activities in HOLiFOOD LLs involve diverse stakeholder groups aiming at representing in a balanced way the actors operating in the food safety risk sector: research, laboratories, food safety services, consumers, industry and farmers associations, communicators, and including at least one representative from risk assessors and/or risk managers and at least one representative of each HOLiFOOD value chain.

This process also foresees 3 cross-fertilization sessions between the 3 LLs, in which experiences between the 3 LL are exchanged.

The first cross-fertilization session was held online on April 5th, 2024. During the workshop, the participants were guided in a collaborative exercise to critically reflect on the LL interim results with a specific focus on understanding the context, gaps/needs to be addressed, as well as key findings from the exploration phase. In addition to the internal expert working on setting up the LL, external experts from EFSA, UDCUniversity College Dublin and the EU Food Safety Platform (ASAE, IBA Bucarest) joined the collaborative exercise to provide their feedback and ensure alignment with the EU R&I framework and policies.

For each of the LL topics, starting from the results of the exploration phase, the workshop participants discussed the context, gaps and needs to be addressed, and exploitable fey findings.

Then the group reflected on how to translate these outcomes in suitable content for the “HOLiFOOD white paper”: a co-created, authoritative, science-based document that will provide recommendations to shape the future of food safety in Europe.

Building on the outcomes of the experimentation and evaluation phases, the white paper structure, vision, and contents will be finalized throughout the cross-fertilization workshop series.

Do you want to get involved in the HoliFood LL process?

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