Scientific Steering Committee

Knowledge base about food and the environment: active Norwegian research communities are needed to fill knowledge and data gaps


Report no: 2022: 31

Published: 29.11.2022

Key message:

VKM summarises knowledge and data gaps in areas that are important to securing safe food and biodiversity.

The aim of this report is to highlight research needs within the fields of food and environment for researchers, research commissioners and other sources of research funding.

The knowledge gaps have been identified in VKM's assessments from 2018 to 2022.

"When VKM carries out risk assessments, we discover knowledge gaps. Deficiencies contribute to uncertainty in the assessments. If we gain new knowledge, we can reduce uncertainty in the assessments, and can better inform authorities who help to ensure healthy and safe food and to protect the environment,” says Harald Gjein, director of VKM.

The report divides knowledge needs into six main fields:

  • Agriculture and food production
  • Fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood production
  • Human health
  • Biodiversity
  • Monitoring of food and diet and substances in food
  • Methods and models in risk assessments and benefit and risk assessments

Addresses different research environments

Research and monitoring data from other countries are not necessarily representative or relevant to Norway.

"It is therefore particularly important to gain knowledge about Norwegian conditions and stimulate Norwegian research communities to contribute. For example, we may lack knowledge about what people here eat, and about Norwegian nature and the environment," says Gjein.

"In addition to pointing out the need for knowledge about conditions unique to Norway, we emphasise the need for universal knowledge. Norwegian researchers can contribute, as can international researchers within fields of knowledge relevant to VKM," says Gjein.

The report is the latest in a series of published self-initiated VKM reports about knowledge and data gaps.

In 2022, VKM also published an opinion about the kinds of knowledge needed in years to come to implement EU’s Green Deal and transition to sustainable food production. The opinion was prepared at the request of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Environment Agency and published by VKM’s steering committee.


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