During a recent International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF) meeting, IBF ‘Food Systems Microbiomes’ Working Group (supported by MicrobiomeSupport) met to elaborate on the need for research on the food systems microbiome and how it could be advanced concretely through international collaborative efforts. The meeting was coordinated by New Zealand’s Agricultural Research division and aligned with their ‘Microbiome Research Strategy Workshop’, held in Wellington, New Zealand, over several days (17-19th February).

Food Systems Microbiome Working Group Chair Marios Nektarios-Markakis (European Union) outlining how microbiome research fits within the European FOOD 2030 strategy.


Representatives from New Zealand, EU and Canada gave an overview on the microbiome research landscape in their respective regions. This was complemented by an insight into microbiome research state of the art delivered by a range of international experts such as Alan Richardson (CSIRO, Australia), Fiona Brennan (Teagasc, Ireland); Nikos Kyrpides (Joint Genome Institute, US); Phil Hugenholtz (University of Queensland, Australia);  Tim McAllister (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada) and Brajesh Singh (Western Sydney University, Australia). Further, Angela Sessitsch (Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria; coordinator of MicrobiomeSupport) reported about the general aims of the CSA, outcomes of the Common Ground Workshop and preliminary results on the mapping of microbiome research internationally.

Workshop participants during discussions.


Workshop participants further discussed on the potential that microbiomes hold but also on the existing gaps and needs that need to be overcome to be able to exploit this potential. One of the conclusions was that more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary research approaches are needed in the microbiome field and that these could be realized through international, collaborative research initiatives that could be supported through the IBF activities. Accordingly, a number of agreed follow-up activities will be carried out between now and the next IBF meeting, foreseen in October 2020, in Berlin.

As consortium, we are then hoping to provide you with some more concrete details on what such collaborations could entail, and how we are contributing to fostering international collaborations in microbiome research.