OPEN CALL: research networks in agriculture and food system

Researchers in agriculture and the food industry can now apply for funding for networking activities aimed at increasing the sectors’ sustainability, resilience and competitiveness.

Deadline for application submission is April 21th, 2022.



Text på svenska längre ner
With this funding opportunity, NKJ wants to interlink researchers in the Nordic region to find solutions on how to sustainably transform the food system.

That transformation is a powerful tool to reach the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). We need to change the way we produce, consume and think about food; a new food narrative that acknowledges systems issues in agriculture – from broken nutrient cycles to biodiversity loss, erosion, fossil fuel dependence and CO2 emissions – interlinked issues that could in part be solved at the regional level.

NKJ encourages networks that relate to aspects of transformation and transition in agriculture and the food system at large to apply for funding. The focus could be either on farms or focusing anywhere from the downstream refinement of agricultural products to upstream innovations and production flows needed to increase primary agricultural production in the Nordic region. The goal is to encourage activities directed to novel tools and improve current production to increase resilience, sustainability and competitiveness of agriculture in the Nordic region.

Call conditions
Networks should include applicants from research institutions from at least three different countries in the Nordic region.

Each gender must be represented by a minimum of 40% of the participants in the network.

PhD students and young researchers should be included in the network.

Network grants are for two years of activities from August 2022 to July 2024.

Stakeholders are encouraged to participate but cannot be main applicants.

Economic framework
The amount applied for from NKJ can be maximum 300.000 SEK. The funding should primarily be spent on costs for arranging scientific meetings, workshops and conferences including accommodation, travel and conference fees but could also cover costs for designing policy recommendations based on research findings, write large-scale research funding applications, creating or maintaining databases or websites (excluding hardware) and communication activities.

Networks are expected to co-finance at least 50% of the total budget.

Read more:
Call text

Application form



Text in Swedish

Forskare inom jordbruk och livsmedelsindustri kan nu söka medel för nätverksaktiviteter som syftar till att öka sektorernas hållbarhet, motståndskraft och konkurrenskraft.

Sista dag för ansökan är 21 April 2022.



Med denna utlysning vill NKJ länka samman nordiska forskare för att hitta ett hållbart sätt att omvandla livsmedelssystemet.

Den omvandlingen är ett kraftfullt verktyg för att nå de 17 globala hållbarhetsmålen. Vi måste förändra vårt sätt att producera, konsumera och tänka på mat; ett nytt matbegrepp som tar hänsyn till de systemproblem som finns inom jordbruket: från brutna näringskretslopp till förlust av biologisk mångfald, erosion, beroende av fossila bränslen och CO2-utsläpp – frågor som hänger ihop och som delvis skulle kunna lösas på regional nivå.

NKJ uppmuntrar nätverk som relaterar till olika aspekter av omvandling och omställning av jordbruket och livsmedelssystemet i stort att skicka in sin ansökan. Fokus kan vara antingen på gårdsnivå eller valfri nivå i kedjan från förädling av jordbruksprodukter, till innovationer och produktionsflöden som behövs för att öka den primära jordbruksproduktionen i Norden.

NKJ vill uppmuntra aktiviteter som syftar till att åstadkomma nya verktyg och förbättra nuvarande produktion för att öka motståndskraften, hållbarheten och konkurrenskraften för jordbruket i Norden.

Nätverk ska ha sökande från forskningsinstitutioner i minst tre olika nordiska länder.

Vardera könen ska vara representerade av minst 40% av nätverkets medlemmar. 

PhD-studenter och unga forskare ska vara aktiva i nätverket.

Finansiering ges för aktiviteter från augusti 2022 till juli 2024.

Intressenter utanför forskarvärlden uppmuntras att delta i nätverken men kan inte vara huvudsökande.

Ekonomiska ramar
Finansieringen från NKJ uppgår som mest till 300 000 SEK. Finansieringen ska främst gå till att arrangera vetenskapliga möten, workshops och konferenser inkluderande boende, resor och konferensavgifter men kan också användas för att utforma policy.rekommendationer baserade på forskningsrön, skriva större ansökningar om forskningsmedel, skapa databaser och hemsidor och kommunikationsinsatser.

Läs mer:


Extended networking on reindeer health and welfare

The interest for reindeer husbandry and climate change is big. The NKJ funded network Tarandus has grown from 20 to 100 members during the year.


Reindeer health and animal welfare was the focus for the first network meeting, held 23-24 november in Kiruna, Sweden. The two day workshop included several presentations as well as discussions and networking. The organizers hope for an increase in collaborations on the subject across the Nordic countries after the meeting.

The participants are researchers and others who work in various ways with reindeer health and welfare, infectious diseases, supplementary feeding and health of wild reindeer. Some joined physically in Kiruna, others participated digitally.

Next Tarandus workshop, with the theme infectious diseases, will be coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) with satellite activities and study visit.

Nordic workshop for interested in reindeer health and welfare

Welcome to the 1st TARANDUS workshop 23-24 November in Kiruna, Sweden.


The first lunch to lunch workshop within the TARANDUS network will focus on animal health and welfare, coordinated by the National Veterinary Institute (SVA). We have preliminary booked conference room, meals and accommodation at hotel Ripan in Kiruna, Sweden, 23-24 November 2021.

If it’s not possible for you to join us in Kiruna, you will be able to join part of the workshop program digitally. If the covid-19 pandemic will stop us from having a physical meeting in Kiruna, then we will arrange a digital workshop for all participants.


Info and registration (at the latest Oct 15th) here


The TARANDUS network gathers reindeer researchers from Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The network will cover many aspects of reindeer health and welfare linked to climate change.

Please, contact Anna Omazic ( if you are interested to join the TARANDUS network.

The epidemiology of pathogenes on apples in focus

Symtoms and defence reactions were in focus of the first network meeting of the NKJ-funded Nordic Apple Network May 18-19, 2021.



First on the agenda was an update on the current situation of fruit quality after storage and storage losses, presented by the representatives from the industry from all four participating countries. This update was followed by presentations of the ongoing research on storage conditions, storage disorders and storage diseases.

The presentations were accompanied by fruitful discussions and exchange of knowledge, regarding current problems as well as research needs, with emphasis on fruit quality loss, storage rots and physiological decay. Special attention was given to the diversity of the disease- and disorder symptoms, pathogens and their epidemiology and to the diversity of the defence reactions among cultivars. The participants stressed the importance of good pre-harvest practices for reducing post-harvest losses. Future collaborations, funding opportunities and the contents of the next workshop were also discussed. 

The meeting was hosted by SLU and took place online where 35 participants, representing research, growers, advisory services, packing houses and authorities exchanged their knowledge and experiences.

The network unites participants from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and addresses the issue of post-harvest losses. The focus is on how to achieve improved plant health via better knowledge of epidemiology, novel monitoring tools, knowledge of cultivar pre- and postharvest physiology, disease resistance, and cultivation practices.

BioEquality forum 1: Female role models for gender balance

Discussion forum 1 of 3 in the BioEquality series

Role models for a gender balanced digital bioeconomy 

One of the action points suggested in the report Redefining digital bioeconomy to make the digital bioeconomy more gender equal is to increase the number of female role models and thereby diversify the masculine image, creating more inclusiveness. This type of action aims to serve to set an example and encourage women to seek education related to, and employment in, the digital bioeconomy. This alone is not enough considering that the very structures of bioeconomy and tech industries remain masculine, however it is an important stepping stone in increasing the number of females in the sector. 

This discussion forum is part of a series aiming to open up for discussions on how the education of young academics can integrate the gender perspective into the meeting between digitalisation and bioeconomy. The discussion forums are initiated and financed by Nordic Forest Research, Nordic Agri Research and the Nordic Council of Ministers. 

When: 26th of May, 10.00-11.30 CET 
To solve any technical problems, please log in to the discussion forum no later than 09.55 

Where: Online via Zoom 
Participants will be provided with a link to the discussion forum on Monday 24th of May 

RSVP: 19th of May to


• Welcome and introduction 

• Three inspirational speeches – One teacher, one student and one female role model share their point of view on female role models 

• Group discussions on who are the role models for young women – How is one classified as a role model? Do they have to be women? Is it women far ahead in their careers, that have taken the same path as them, that have the same educational background? 

• Brainstorming ideas on how role models can take a more active role at universities – 

Examples could involve inviting role models to inspirational lectures in courses, ask them to mentor students etc. 

• Reflections in larger group 

• Closing remarks 


Vivid conversations and new ideas for future food

To start a new cooperation could possibly be surprising and fruitful. The first network meeting in Bridge Builders was, it revealed a wide range of research and topics that have a lot of impact.

Text: Sari Ranta


The first workshop of the project was held in March. The theme was “let’s learn from each other”. 

The studies presented dealt with a targeted innovative rehabilitating meals-on-wheels service for old people, findings of the Breakfast Club study, that  involves residents in nursing homes in food related activities and Creating caring spaces, a study that has focus on mealtime interventions in nursing homes. Also results of the Meal Aspects 2.0  study – 20 years later, and Agefood 2.0 study (elderly persons food services in changing environments) were covered. In addition food and nutrition science at LNU and Stavanger’s Cognitive Lab at UiS and also Finnish Food recommendations for older adults were presented.

Presentations rise vivid conversations and produced ideas on which put the accent in future. Understanding Nordic perspective acquires attention; remote areas, best practices supporting healthy eating, participation and socializing are of primary concern. Supporting joint curriculum development and sharing already available materials were also emphasized. Based on what was learned it is interesting to head towards the project’s second workshop this fall.

Bridge builders – Building sustainable nutritional bridges between research and health and wellbeing services for elderly” consists of expertise in food and nutrition research (healthy food, alternative proteins, mealtime interventions, aging) as well as in service applications and good practices (dietary habits and environments, training of social and health professionals). Participants represent Denmark (University College Copenhagen), Finland (South-Eastern University of Applied Sciences), Norway (University of Stavanger) and Sweden (Linnaeus University).

More information:


Cultured meat can be part of our everyday life

A successful workshop by Culture Meat Network was arranged 12-13 April 2021 online.

Who should take part in the production of cultured meat and what is the input required for success? How can we enlighten and inform the Nordic industry so they can see and define their role? How can we make this type of technology an opportunity for the Nordic countries, and not a threat? How do we interact with consumers and society regarding cultured meat?

These were questions discussed and possibly answered by the participants in the second network meeting and workshop arranged by the NKJ funded network Cultured Meat.

The background to asking these questions is that the global food production must increase, and cultured meat R&D is expected to increase to meet this demand.

One of the main issues of cultured meat is the lack of dissemination. That is why the network did organized a 2-day workshop to gain more understanding of and dissemination of the concept among different stakeholders aligned with the network’s aims, e.g. ingredient and equipment suppliers, producers, consumers and politicians, amongst others. The 2-day workshop covered subjects such as technology, regulation, LCA, consumers and the political perspective.

Each day there were around 100 persons participating, the majority from the Nordic region but also from other countries.

Agenda for the workshop

More about the Cultured Meat Network

NordCrop helps us adapt to a changing global climate

How can we find more robust genotypes? In a changing climate we need to adapt our crops. Our NKJ research network NordCrop is working to do this!

Field crops are under pressure due to climate change. Knowledge of crop response to single abiotic stress is often available, but NordCrop will focus on the poorly understood effects of multiple stresses to develop more resilient field crops. Global climate change means that our crops are increasingly exposed to drought or waterlogging, heat and elevated CO2.

The network, funded by NKJ, will investigate how we can exploit new genomic and phenotyping technologies to identify more robust genotypes in key Nordic field crops (wheat, oat, potato and fodder grasses). A virtual meeting is coming up, 14-15 April 2021: “Phenotyping for abiotic climate stresses and yield” (day 1) and “Phenotyping for stresses ” (day 2). Welcome to participate!

Register here, it’s free of charge!

For further information contact Carl-Otto Ottosen,


Preliminary schedule Virtual Meeting Resilient Northern Crops Network (NordCrop) 14–15 April 2021


Day 1 April 14: 12.30-16.30 Phenotyping for abiotic climate stresses and yield
12.30 Welcome (Carl-Otto Ottosen, Aarhus University (AU))
12.40 Keynote Rod Snowdon: Genetics and physiology of yield potential (Justus Liebig University)
13.10 Priming for heat tolerance in wheat (Thayna Mendanha, AU)
13.30 Image-based detection of fungal pathogen infections in Arabidopsis and application of the method on oat spikelets (Kristiina Himanen, University of Helsinki)
13.50 The genetic and physiological basis of yield progress in Norwegians spring wheat (Tomasz Mróz, Norvegian University of Life Science (NMBU))
14.10 Magic populations in phenotyping (John Doonan, Aberysthwyth University, (AberU))
14.30 Grain yield prediction based on multitemporal multispectral UAV imaging (Sahameh Shafiee, NMBU)
14.50 3D modelling of ear emergence (Mori Boozandani, AberU)
15.10 Break
15.30 Student presentations (5 min each)
16.00 General discussion (to be planned)

Day 2 April 15: 12.30-16.30 Phenotyping for stresses
12.30 Keynote Olivier Van Aken: Wounding response och and stress tolerance (Lund University)
13.00 Wheat and drought (Anders Carlsson, Swedish Agricultural University (SLU)
13.20 Sorghum (Mulatu Geleta, SLU)
13.40 Modulated chlorophyll fluorescence as sceening tool (Eva Rosenqvist, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
14.00 Guard cells in action (Hannes Kollist, University of Tartu)
14.20 Physiological responses of tomato to drought, elevated CO2 and VPD (Shenglan Li, UCPH)
14.40 Multiple stresses and melationin (Rong Zhou, AU)
15.00 Break
15.20 Wheat and heat (Aakash Chawade, SLU)
15.40 Detecting potato diseases in the field (Rick van de Zedde, Wageningen University and Research, NL)
16.00 Wrap up and general discussion

Great interest in learning more about soil as a carbon sink

There were a huge interest in joining our seminar about the current state of knowledge on soil as a carbon sink. But we want to provide those who missed it, and those who wants to refresh the memory, the presentations from our speakers.


November 26th we met to have an overview of the state of Nordic knowledge on soil as a carbon sink. There are good conditions for Nordic cooperation due to the countries’ similar soil types, climate and policies.

But where are we at? Is there a common Nordic base in terms of knowledge? These were our speakers:

Prof emeritus Johan Bouma, board member in the European Commission’s mission in the area of Soil health and food: “Exploring the exciting potential of  the Nordic countries to capture soil carbon following climate change”


Prof Katarina Hedlund, Lund University: “How to turn agriculture soils into carbon sinks”


Prof Raisa Makipää, LUKE: “Forest soils and their carbon sequestration potential”

New NKJ networks granted

Open bean capsule. Photo.NKJ will contribute to further Nordic cooperation through the new research networks that was granted funding at the board meeting in June. We hope your cooperation will be really fruitful, and NKJ would like to take part in it in different ways.


We received many applications for the call for networks in agriculture and climate. Here is the list of those who were granted funding:

In the call in plant health and alternative protein sources, we received fewer applications. We believe that part of the explanation may be that the Corona pandemic had reached the Nordic region when the call was opened – it is meetings between people that we want to achieve! But it doesn’t have to be physical meetings, so we hope you will be able to conduct all the activities planned for.

These networks have applied for and received funding from us:

  • Arctic Pea Network, Karolina Aloisi, NordGen
  • Nordic Apple Network: Towards decreasing postharvest losses in apple by knowledge exchange and capacity building, Larisa Gustavsson, SLU
  • Nordic Grain – Sustainable disease management in cereals in the Nordic region, Thies Marten Heick, Århus university
  • Bridge builders – Building sustainable nutritional bridges between research and health and wellbeing services for elderly, Teija Rautiainen, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences