The ILSI Europe Annual Symposium 2020 took place on 6th October. For the first time, ILSI Europe brought together over 350 scientist and multi-sector professionals from around the world in a fully digital, interactive one-day event. Under the heading of ‘Opening the Science of food’, the symposium brought together some of the best experts on nutrition, food safety and sustainability in Europe to shed light on the most topical scientific issues in these areas.

After a deep organisational transformation, the new ILSI Europe introduces a new approach to its Symposium, incorporating innovative dynamics that lead to a new vision. This vision incorporates sustainability into its traditional priorities of nutrition and food security, and develops an innovative Early Career Program.

The Early Career Scientists and the new sustainability topics were some of the main factors of the Symposium, which also brought into light scientifically topical subjects such as Sustainable Food Systems, sweetness and sweeteners, the microbiome and microbiota.

In addition, this exceptional digital edition connected live to participants and speakers from all over the world through features such as the Carousel and the one-to-one meeting opportunities.


The meeting went extremely well. The content was very good, and the sense of a conference was effectively captured. Congratulations to all of the staff of ILSI Europe for an excellent job!
Dr Alan Boobis

I thought e-conference were always second best to actually meeting face to face, but this event proved me wrong. It was different to the normal symposia we all are used to and lot of fun
Dr Bryan Hanley

Fantastic event !!!! Great job. Congratulations
Simon Metz Pedersen

Thanks to all at ILSI Europe – brilliant technology, excellent speakers, really well done!
Clare Leonard

Thanks for this excellent virtual event, rich and innovative!
Etienne Pouteau

Five scientific sessions made up the programme of the one day event:

A special guest from the European Commission, Dr Karen Fabbri from the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation kicked things off with her keynote lecture.  Focusing on the FOOD 2030 framework, Dr Fabbri stressed the need to future-proof our food systems so they become more sustainable, resilient, responsible, inclusive, diverse and competitive.

The first scientific session continued in the same vein, addressing the role of proteins in a healthy and sustainable diet. During this first session, one of ILSI Europe’s most important innovations of this year was announced, with the presentation of the first activities of the recently created sustainability pillar, called Consumer Sustainable Food Choices.

The ‘How sweet is sweet?’ question opened the second of the sessions, which some of the experts from different Task Forces and EU projects tried to answer. The new activity on Sweetness perception was also presented for the first time during this session.

In ILSI Europe, we strongly believe in the public benefits of the joint public-private collaboration, especially when a multi-sectoral transformation such as that of the food systems is needed. So, the first session after midday focused on the role of the public and private sectors in food systems transformation. Experts from academia, trade associations and European public institutions sat down together to discuss the need to apply responsible research and innovation to support the food system transformation. The European project Fit4Food 2030 was presented as a best practice.

The last session of the day was dedicated to the microbiome and its numerous open questions marks. What do we know about the gut microbiota? Should we choose in vitro or in vivo models? These and other questions were addressed during this session which culminated with a panel discussion where experts from all around Europe and beyond shared their knowledge of the matter.

In addition to the scientific sessions, the event provided numerous opportunities for participants to visit the e-booths and connect with each other throughout the day.


The 2020 ILSI Europe Annual Symposium (IEAS) is a premier gathering of scientists from all around the world that meet to shed light on nutrition, food safety and sustainability. Traditionally, the IEAS addresses the current and future challenges that our society will be facing. It is a key opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to the discussions, debates and solutions for the themes in the spotlight.

For more information about the different sessions and their outcomes, pictures and other materials; please contact us at