Workpackage 3

Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security







This research deals with the role of innovation, research and development in tackling food and nutrition insecurity. Research on institutional change policies in FNS shows that technological and institutional innovations have the potential to increase agricultural productivity, control the use of natural resources in agriculture, improve food distribution, and deliver more nutritious food for a better and more productive life. Moreover, they can lift people out of poverty, and thereby achieve a more sustainable food system as well as a higher food and nutrition security in developing countries.  

A key sub-issue in this context is the role of intellectual property rights (IPR) in genetic resources against the background of private and public research and development (R&D), as well as its interaction with traditional knowledge and with other legal institutions including the right to food and food security (legal pluralism). Another key and related sub-research area is the role of genetically modified (GM) crops and how they can improve FNS. Obviously, GM crops impact FNS through higher yields (improved plants) of food and feed crops and through more nutritious plants (bio-fortification). However, GM crops can only be accepted by and benefit the poor and hungry with an appropriate institutional set-up. 

Research set-up and objectives

This workpackage aims to assess the impact of technological and institutional innovations as well as innovation systems in agriculture and food (such as impact of GMOs) on Food and Nutrition Security. The aim is to come up with policies that minimize the conflict between policies on R&D and those on food and nutrition security with the help of inter-disciplinary analysis. The different products in this workpackage will frame scenarios for a better understanding of science, technological impacts, innovations, and their societal acceptance - and are to be integrated into the project's modelling tools.

Research approach

First, a literature review on the impact assessments of innovations on FNS is conducted and will be presented in a meta-analysis. The research team will then assess stakeholders' perceptions about the role and impacts of groups of innovations by means of a survey. In parallel, a database comprising innovations will be set up.



Database (for project-internal use)


FOODSECURE working paper no. 3
FOODSECURE working paper no. 7



Nicolas Gerber
Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany
e-mail: ngerber(at)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 290693