Research project
9-36 | monthsSCIN-GO

Scientific Innovation, Technology and Sustainability: Governance and Regulation

Related toSpoke 01

Principal investigators
Lorenza Violini

Other partecipantsFederico Caniato, Anna Meroni, Marta Corubolo, Stefano Quaglia, Giulia Bartezzaghi, Lucia Viganego, Daniela De Sainz Molestina (POLIMI)
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FeaturesJul 9, 2024

Formal and informal actors in the supply chain: all at the same table with the SCIN-GO project, to design more equitable and sustainable food environments.

ReportMay 24, 2024

Food Systems research takes center stage in Mantova: highlights from the Food&Science Festival

Task involved

Task 1.1.1.

Analysis of sustainable governance and organisational models: a) building the most suitable governance models, b) interorganisational relationships and formal / informal networks for managing and promoting sustainable practices and relationships along the value chains, rural and urban areas, and food environments to enable equitable access to food

Task 1.3.4.

Sustainable decision-making definition of a Decision Support System by means of multi-criteria toolset to design fair governance decisions.

Project deliverables


Report on selected governance models for both long distance and local value chains on the base of selected case studies (M9)


Report on network governance strategies aimed at facilitating access to food (M18)


At least 1 participatory approach for the improvement of fairness, efficiency, and awareness (M27)


Report on cross sector partnerships and organisational models for food recovery and redistribution to vulnerable people in urban areas (M36)


Implementation of a Decision Support System to reach fair governance and management decisions for food consumption (M24)

State of the art

Due to the ongoing multifaced crisis (economic, social, climate, energetical) our societies are facing an enormous challenge to guarantee food security and food safety for human population, while taking care of growing social needs and preserving the environment.

Efficient decision-making processes and governance models in a sustainable perspective require toolsets capable of mirroring different stakeholders' interests and balancing them in the light of well-grounded decisions, especially in complex matters involving multiple perspectives: those of scientists, consumers, economic actors, local governments and the public. As recently suggested by the One Health debate, scientific and technological innovation has to be translated into political action in the direction of a broad consensus. Due to the several interests and expertise involved, well-grounded decisions are required to make these interests coexist (primary effect) and avoid challenges in the courts (secondary effect).

Moreover, according to the fact that establishing effective cross-sectoral governance and inter-organizational models is key for allowing actors to collaborate through formal/informal networks, alternative solutions and approaches to move towards a more sustainable and equitable food system have been explored.

A pivotal role can be played in this perspective also by digitalisation that, especially in the farming sector, can generate multiple benefits: it can increase productivity, improve efficiency and quality of work, reduce pressure on natural resources, and promote market integration. A conducive digital ecosystem can indeed reduce the transaction costs related to the adoption of digital technologies and make available capabilities for agriculture, environment, and sustainability to EU farmers, and other key institutional and market actors. A clear example is blockchain technology that has established itself in the agri-food sector, especially in food sector where it is recognized as one of the main technological innovations of agriculture 4.0 on the traceability of the production, mainly against fraud defending the genuineness of Italian agricultural products, ensuring the use of appropriate agronomics techniques.

Operation plan

The operational plan involves the following steps: 
1) identification of different SGS models, especially those adopted by different European States, for integrating scientific and technological progress in the area of sustainable food supply and identification of different patterns of toolsets addressed to decision-maker;
2) evaluation of both the models of governance and the toolsets and identification of the best suitable mechanisms for the sake of a healthy food environment, to be applied in public decision-making processes;
3) elaboration of guidelines for the implementation of the best decision-making process capable of involving the several expertise and interests at stake;
4) desk-based review on the concept and applications of digital ecosystem;
5) identification of model typologies for conducive digital ecosystems for sustainable agriculture and their transformative impact on market and governance structures;
6) analysis of cost, (co)-benefits perceptions of different actors in food supply chains by means of two focus groups and a stakeholder workshop and survey;
7) analyzing, and organizing into coherent frameworks, the most effective and promising urban food (inter)organizational and governance models, considering also the environmental, socio-economic sustainability of the entire food value chain;
8) analysis and identification of common criteria and strategies enabling the effective governance, management, promotion and replicability of practices along the value chains and co-creation of a set of scenarios for fairness, efficiency and awareness building, coupled with the design of applied solutions and initiatives;
9) prototyping, replicating and scaling a series of experimental actions connected with existing formal and informal networks and cross-sector partnerships to facilitating access to food in urban areas.

Expected results

1. Development and validation of modern Sustainable Governance Structures (SGSs) capable of supporting the decision-making process (DMPs) under scientific uncertainty in order to answer to the need for renewing basic administrative structures that integrate scientific and technological innovation with the protection of social needs and social inclusion into administrative action.

2. Identification of international and national good practices applying and promoting effective governance models and cross-sector partnerships to attain sustainable urban food systems and definition of applied actions adopting alternative (inter)organizational relationships and cross-sector partnerships.

3. Produce and provide information on the costs and (co)-benefits of innovative conducive digital ecosystems, creating the conditions for increasing capacities of farmers and rural communities to use them, and build policy recommendations to foster the agricultural digital technologies conducive to sustainable development.

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FeaturesJul 9, 2024
Formal and informal actors in the supply chain: all at the same table with the SCIN-GO project, to design more equitable and sustainable food environments.

ReportMay 24, 2024
Food Systems research takes center stage in Mantova: highlights from the Food&Science Festival