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European Research Executive Agency
News article16 December 2021European Research Executive Agency

Christmas at the European Research Executive Agency

It’s almost Christmas! And as we break for the holidays, we take a look at some of the EU-funded projects that are researching innovative ways to make your Christmas more compassionate, sustainable, and most importantly, enjoyable.

christmas 2021 visual

The European Research Executive Agency (REA) is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Christmas. At REA, however, we manage Horizon 2020 projects and co-funded EU campaigns that research what Christmas should be about: compassion, sustainability, and enjoying time with loved ones.

Read a selection of these projects below.

Christmas is about caring for loved ones as well as sharing with strangers, in particular those who may be less fortunate than you. The ASILE project researches the EU’s role in international protection systems for asylum seekers. The project seeks ensure that human rights and refugee law standards are respected.

Around the world, women and girls with disabilities are subject to systematic exclusion. MILIEU is a Twinning project that aims to strengthen the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in Bulgaria.

Wherever you celebrate Christmas, it most likely involves traditional dishes. As a savoury dish, you may be serving roast turkey, pesce or sarmale. Sweet Christmas treats include lebkuchen, panettone, lussekatter, vanocni cukrovi or bûche de Noël. Looking for inspiration? Download DG AGRI’s cookbook, a collection of traditional European dishes made from European products.

Many of the products used in the cookbook are stars of the EU’s promotion of agricultural products, which under the signature ‘Enjoy, it’s from Europe’, seeks to increase the recognition of protected EU foods around the globe. Within Europe, DOP PGI F-V PROMO is promoting twelve protected food products from Italy, Spain, and France to get consumers to buy more high-quality European-grown fruit and vegetables.

Perhaps you enjoy eating out at Christmas? Then FoodSMART is for you! The project developed a mobile app that provides consumers with information about their dining-out experience. This includes transparency on the ingredients, the health implications of dining out, and the nutritional value and carbon footprint of meals.

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Glühwein, or mulled wine, vin chaud, glögg, vin brulé, kuhano vino.  Clim4Vitis is a Widening project that is assisting European viticulture to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. This will ensure that Glühwein remains a staple Christmas drink.

While enjoying tasty food and drinks at Christmas is a treat, unfortunately, food waste remains a global epidemic with severe environmental and economic costs. That’s why the FOODWASTE project examined consumer practices in relation to food waste in Denmark and Sweden. The aim is to provide people-orientated solutions for policymaking.

If you’ve been good this year, you may be in for a visit from Santa Claus. However, as pleasant as gifting and receiving presents can be, it undoubtedly has an impact on the environment. The ECWRTI project is researching the ways to re-use water in the textile industry, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. The Circular FOODPACK project is investigating how to include food packaging in the circular economy, which will hopefully extend to other forms of packaging. 

Looking for the perfect gift? An innovative solution to protect skin against environmental stresses might be within reach with the MSCACITYCARE project. It is investigating how to protect our skin from pollutants, UV rays, and climate change-related extreme weather.

Maybe you want to surprise someone with a cycling-related gift? SmartHELMET is researching how to make bike helmets more comfortable by altering the materials used in insulation, with the aim to get more people wearing them!

Speaking of gifts, decorating the Christmas tree is a moment that signals the start of the festive season. While welcoming Christmas trees into our homes is tradition, it also presents an opportunity to reflect on trees and forests more generally.This is particularly important in the context of the climate crisis and its effects on European forestry.

The ONEforest project studies sustainable forest management practises in four European bio-geographical case study regions. FORGENIUS investigates diversifying European forests through genetics in 35 European countries. Both projects seek to adapt European forests to the climate crisis and in turn, thrive as part of our common biodiversity.

Happy Holidays, joyeuses fêtes, schöne Feiertage to all from REA. See you in the New Year!

Santa Claus with his REAindeers

Santa Claus and his REAindeer loaded with gifts and EU-funded research.


Publication date
16 December 2021
European Research Executive Agency