IFOW 2024 Integrated Food Ontology Workshop, Enschede, Netherlands

Announcing the fifth annual Integrated Food Ontology Workshop (IFOW), a half-day workshop at the Formal Ontology in Information Systems Conference (FOIS) 2024 at the University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands July 15-19th!

The application of ontologies to food systems involves a number of perspectives that altogether promise a more stable, permanent open-source vocabulary which can evolve incrementally to describe food system behaviour as it spans from ecosystem and anthropogenic source, to individual and population-level nutritional and socioeconomic import.  Philosophical discussion of food semantics helps to arrive at a consensus model/language of food materials, roles, dispositions, functions, and processes – a middle/upper-level ontology that we can all agree upon.  A technical / applied ontology perspective brings structure and tools for vocabulary curation, quality control, lookup, and reuse, as well as application focus on food related biosample collection, plant or animal breeding, robotics, industrial automation, etc.  A sociotechnical view wraps all of this work into a broader interdisciplinary “lingua franca of data science” effort to blend tangential domains of knowledge – from life science, animal and plant rearing, industrial and distribution infrastructure, food traceability, and regulatory management towards public and environmental health and security.  Our time of rapid change demands narratives that identify, anticipate and explain courses of action to alleviate hunger, food insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change, narratives that rely on ontologies to salvage learning by enabling precise integration and comparison of past and present food system research and production data.

IFOW has successfully run in the last 4 years, attracting 30-60 participants in person and online across the academic, government and industry spectrum who have a mandate in data sharing and/or research in agriculture, nutrition, consumer behaviour, food science, or public health sectors.  Past promotions highlight our topics:


  • Ontology in food entities and food processing, nutrition and food science, technology, and engineering
  • Ontology of agricultural production involving ecological and animal/plant rearing
  • Ontology of consumer behaviour regarding food
  • Food ontology applications
  • Ontology in regulatory practices and international trade and public health
  • AI enhanced curation of food research data
  • Using food ontologies to verify content generated by Large Language Models (LLMs)
  • Enhancing LLMs model explainability and sourcing using food ontologies
  • Improving food ontologies using content generated by LLMs
  • Fine tuning LLMs for the Food domain


  • 31 January: 1st call for paper and presentation submissions
  • 17 April: paper and presentation submission deadline.
  • 15 May: author acceptance notification
  • 30 June: Camera-ready submission (for post-conference proceedings)
  • 15-19 July: Workshop day will be finalized within this range.

Call for papers and presentations

We encourage presentations in person, but can make arrangements for presentations done remotely. In either case every accepted publication or presentation must be linked to one author registration (link to be defined). On-site facilities include Wifi and a projector. The workshop accepts:

  • Abstract for presentation only (no paper in conference proceedings): an abstract needs to include the string ” – Abstract” at the end of title. It should show us clearly and in some depth what you will be talking about. Options:
    • 1 page abstract required for 3-5 minute flash presentation.
    • 2 page abstract for 10-15 minute presentation.
  • Paper submission for presentation (10-15 minutes). Your paper can be included in the Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO) portion of the FOIS conference proceedings published by CEUR.  (JOWO workshops are held in conjunction with the main FOIS conference). Options:
    • Short 5-9 page paper (including bibliography).
    • long paper from 10-14 pages (including bibliography). 

Presentation and paper abstracts should not exceed 300 words.
We are looking into potential for offering an abstract for poster to be included within FOIS’s poster gallery.

Submission of presentation abstracts or papers

The main FOIS conference also has other opportunities to spread tasty food semantics into a general audience with a call for ontology tutorials, tool and method demos etc.

Organizing Committee

Damion Dooley damion_dooley@sfu.caSimon Fraser University (primary contact)
Michaela KümpelUniversitaet Bremen 
Georgeta BordeaLa Rochelle University
Robert WarrenGlengarry Agriculture and Forestry
Anoosha SeharSimon Fraser University
Matthew LangeIC-FOODS
Felix BindtDutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
Ido ToxopeusDutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment