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Annual Meeting 2024!

On February 27th and 28th, consortium members, IAB members and stakeholders gathered together in Ljubljana (Slovenia) to share and provide updates about the status of COMFOCUS after three years and settle goals for the last year of the project.

The main goals of the two-day meeting were:

  • Further “shaping” the COMFOCUS community with a focus on vibrance and sustainability;
  • Bringing COMFOCUS beyond the tipping point and show “proof of principle” of a Food Consumer Science integrated data and research infrastructure
  • Making plans for the future “after COMFOCUS”.

Stakeholder Forum and IAB (International Advisory Board) meetings also took place within the event.

Within the project meeting, project members were updated on the status of open calls, where some TNA leaders shared their first experiments; discussions were also held on communication, dissemination and sustainability. In the afternoon of the first day, two parallel work sessions on harmonization of procedures for text mining and longitudinal data, and on further strengthening of responsible research and innovation took place.
The day ended with the presentation on importance of ontology within COMFOCUS by the invited IAB members Damion Dooley and Laurette Dube. In the second day, project members continued with ontology in order to receive some contributions to the COMFOCUS ontology, and also some input and feedback to the current status of ontology within the project. The community building session aimed at identifying the main key exploitable results and seeing what are the main risks and challenges to be considered before the further implementation of procedures and defining tasks for having the results on the table. “Life after COMFOCUS” is the main theme for the upcoming year and our aim was to highlight our ambitions and what is needed to make sure that what we have built continues and survives.

 As a result of these two days, we may conclude that the ambition and goal of COMFOCUS is great, but also that putting things in practice is not without difficulties. These days were very helpful in getting more clarity about what the key exploitable results of the project are and how we can practically deal with issues and unforeseen activities that arise along the way, for example when starting the actual data collections within the Open Calls. These days made also clear that it is important to start now thinking about how we want to continue the work after the COMFOCUS project has come to an end. This also means that COMFOCUS’ value for both science and practice (i.e., companies and policymakers) needs to be clear in order to make it a viable business case.

In sum, this year´s project meeting made a great contribution to the achievement of the project´s goals and for having an understanding of how we see the food consumer science field after COMFOCUS.