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Project Synopsis (FAIR: Co-operative research for SMEs)

 

Introduction

Statistics

Integrated production and processing chains

Generic science and advanced technologies for nutritious foods

Agriculture, forestry and rural development

Fisheries and aquaculture

Introduction

This publication contains the synopses of a range of co-operative research projects relevant to agricultural, agro-industrial and fisheries research research that are selected and funded under the FAIR programme. This programme of research and technological development in the field of Agriculture and Fisheries, including Agro-Industry, Food Technologies, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development, was adopted on 26 April 1994 as part of the Community’s Fourth Framework Programme. It concerns agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishery, aquaculture, and related food and non-food industries. The FAIR programme represents a natural evolution of the previous programmes CAMAR, BIOMASS, ECLAIR, FLAIR, FOREST and FAR adopted under the Second Framework Programme and of AIR, adopted under the Third Framework Programme. The ultimate objective of the FAIR programme was to contribute to securing a better match between production of land and water-based biological resources and their use by consumers and industry through pre-competitive research, technological development and demonstration. The programme was organised into five distinct scientific and technical areas:

Area 1. Integrated production and processing chains.
This area addresses the use of raw plant materials, such as timber, fibres, carbohydrates, oils, proteins and speciality chemicals contained in new and traditional crops and trees. The extraction and processing of higher value-added materials from animal and crop agro-industrial wastes are also concerned.

Area 2. Scaling-up and processing methodologies.
This area is closely aligned to the development of the non-food ndustry and has links with the bioenergy, chemicals and forest production chains of Area 1. Scale-up is intrinsically a process for designing and operating a larger scale system on the basis of the results of experiments with small scale or laboratory models thus permitting a better evaluation of both the technical feasibility and costs.

Area 3. Generic science and advanced technologies for nutritious foods.
Research in this sector has the major objective to improve the competitive position of the food industry, which is composed of leading multinationals and a wide range of specialist food SMEs throughout Europe. An equally important objective is to improve the role and understanding of food in the general health and wellbeing of the European consumers. Food can play a major role in maintenance and improvement of human health and wellbeing and in prevention of major diseases. This also leads to the design of special or tailored foodstuffs and ingredients for specific population groups or for specific health benefits. This involves multidisciplinary research projects combining the expertise of scientific partners, such as nutritionists, biochemists, medics, and process technologists. Finally, to develop these technologies and products, this area concentrates on the generic underpinning sciences, the improved understanding of these and how they can better lead to improved processing products and a healthier metabolism. This area has important cross-links with Area 4 (Agriculture) and Area 5 (Fisheries) of the FAIR programme as well as with other programmes in Life Sciences, namely, Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

Area 4. Agriculture, forestry and rural development.
The aim of the programme of work for research in this area is to develop the necessary scientific and technical basis for the preparation, implementation, monitoring, control and adjustment of Community policy in these important domains.

Area 5. Fisheries and aquaculture.
The overall objective is to provide a sound scientific basis for the balanced, sustainable exploitation of the fisheries resources of the Community and the further controlled development of aquaculture. This is to be achieved by a better knowledge and understanding of the aquatic ecosystem, including the interactions between fishing activities, aquaculture and the environment.

SMEs often lack the necessary R&D resources or have difficulties in getting access to research results. Under the Community’s Fourth Framework Programme, special measures have been taken to help SMEs develop new technologies. Exploratory Awards are granted to SMEs to cover part of the costs of preparing a complete Step 2 proposal for submission to one of the European Community’s Research and Technological Development (RTD) programmes.

Co-operative Research Projects enable transnational groups of SMEs with a common problem, but with limited or no in-house RTD capability, to sub-contract the research they need to a specialist (called an “RTD performer”). The Commission supports up to half the cost, and while the RTD performer is paid in full for its work, the results belong to the SMEs alone.

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