FoodCAST is a research project financed by the Lombardy Region, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAF) and the Institute of Services for the Agro-food Market (ISMEA). The project is led by the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste and involves a number of other Italian universities: the University of Milan, the University Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna and the University of Perugia. FoodCAST brings together multiple researchers with different competencies and areas of professional expertise, some until now completely unrelated to the agro-food sector. A diverse team, made up of dozens of researchers, is involved in applying the knowledge and instruments of econophysics, statistical analysis of complex systems, neuroscience, agricultural economics, animal husbandry, political economy, to the field of commodities.
The main objectives are fourfold:
- Define the network of active and passive players connected to the production and transformation of a commodity;
- Construct quantitative models for risk prediction and analysis in food markets;
- Create a cognitive scale for the value of food, and verify how this evolves in the event of a public health and financial crisis;
- Set up a qualitative analysis model that extends beyond the short and middle term and that is able to predict possible distant future scenarios, by intercepting probable technological and structural innovations likely to further affect the market.