Establishing the European Technology
Platform Food for Life:
European Technology Platforms (ETPs) are industry-led, public/private partnerships encouraged by the European Commission to drive innovation and unite stakeholder communities in reaching
strategic research objectives of key European industry sectors.The main goals of the ETPs are to strengthen the European innovation process, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate European
competitiveness across the food chain.
Establishing National Food Platforms (NFPs) across
During the extensive national and regional consultation process that took place to ensure that the ETP’s strategic Research Agenda addressed the needs and opportunities of the whole of
Europe, various countries suggested developing National Food Platforms (NFPs) to bring together stakeholders at national level to facilitate two-way discussion with ETP.These were
subsequently networked to enhance knowledge exchange, experience & best practice; assist with interactions between specific stakeholder groups (e.g. SMEs; consumer bodies) in different
countries; identify regional concerns and/or opportunites, ensure the ETP’s activities remained relevant to Europe as a whole.There are currently 34 NFPs linked to the ETP each reflecting the
national importance of the agri-food sector together with the nature and level of contacts between individual stakeholder sectors.
Promoting the European Research
The European Research Area (ERA) is composed of all research and development activities, programmes and policies in Europe which involve a transnational perspective.Together, they enable
researchers, research institutions and businesses to increasingly circulate, compete and co-operate across borders.The aim is to give them access to a Europe-wide open space for knowledge and
technologies in which transnational synergies and complementarities are fully exploited.The ERA consists of activities, programmes and policies that are designed and operated at all levels:
regional, national and European.
The new Europe 2020 strategy is now integrating the development of ERA and innovation policy with the aim to create an “innovation union”.
Encouraging research and training across Europe.
Facilitating links between the EU food research community and colleagues in countries outside Europe (Third Countries).In recent Framework Programmes there has been a trend topromote the
interaction of EU researchers with those in countries outside Europe (Third Countries).In FP7 Third Country Involvement is specified throughout the Cooperation pillare themes by the inclusion
of Specific International Cooperation Action (SICA), topics which require the involvement of partners from the country/region identified.In the “Ideas Pillar”, individual researchers from
Third Countries may be funded to work at a laboratory or centre within the EU.
In the “People Pillar”, Marie Curie International Incoming (IIF) and Outgoing Fellowships (IOF), support post-docs or equivalent who wish to undertake a period of research in the EU or
research carried out by an EU scientist in Third Country.
In addition,Third Country organisations are able to participate in industry-academic training networks for PhD students (Initial Training Networks ITNs) and post-docs (Industry-Academia
Research Partnerships & Pathways IAPP).
Finally, in FP7 the People Pillar included in the new International Research Staff Exchange Scheme, IRSES.
Recognising that there are complementary research programmes being funded by the European Union and Third Countries, Canada and the EU pioneered the”twinning” concept whereby the
interaction of complementary projects can be simulated through relatively small funding. The success of initial “twinning” activities indicate that this concept is likely to be extended.
Knowledge Transfer and Exchange:
Over the last decade the EU’s share of the global food and drink market declined from 25% to 18.9%, reflecting increased competitiveness and the importance oif the new economies of Chine,
India and Brazi. EU food & drink industries are unable to compete with these countries on the costs of raw material and labour, so must compete by adding value.This challenge is all the
greater since the overwhelming majority of European food & drink industries are SMEs, often craft-based and without the time, knowledge or experience to identify and exploit
opportunities.Consquently, universitites and research centres must be more effective in transferring the results of their research to industries to produce products, tools & services that
will benefit society, stimulate national & regional economies and creat employment. Many of the partner in FOODForceE have established industry networks to facilitate this transfer and
exchange of knowledge e.g. IFR’s Food & Health Network.
Interacting with members of the Research Directorate-General in
The Directorate General’s mission is evolving as work on the European Research Area (ERA) continues. It can be summarised as
develop the EU’s policy in the field of
research and technological development and thereby contribute to the international competitiveness of European industry
coordinate European research activities with
those carried out at the level of the Member States
to support the Union’s policies in other
fields such as environment, health, energy, regional development etc;
to promote a better understanding of the role of
science in modern societies and stimulate a public debate about research-related issues at European level.