The Universal Exposition having started on 1 May 2015 in Milan on the theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" brings for six months to the world's attention one of the most pressing global challenges of our time: How to feed 9 billion people by 2050 in an increasingly urban environment. "Feeding the Planet” is a theme of enormous importance for the EU; many EU policy areas are related to it, from agriculture to development, from food safety to environmental protection, from industry to research and innovation.
The EU attaches crucial importance to the role science has in addressing the continuing pressures on the global food system for the forthcoming decades. It has therefore launched a Scientific Steering Committee for Expo 2015, which is chaired by Franz Fischler, and composed of 11 scientific experts alongside five stakeholder participants and advisors of international repute. The committee has been tasked with producing a discussion paper on the role of research in global food and nutrition security as part of its participation at Expo Milano 2015. This document gives an overview of where European research can add the most value in relation to tackling food and nutrition security challenges and points to seven main areas, where we can expand our research potential. Moreover, it highlights the need to foster a better understanding of the food systems through education and to develop a governance structure that will allow sharing of best practices and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and innovation to feed the planet and its inhabitants sustainably. With this document, the European Union wants to stimulate a global discussion with stakeholders and the general public and shape a legacy for Expo 2015.