Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

FAHRE

Food And Health Research in Europe (European Research Area)

Project acronym: FAHRE

Title of project: Food and Health Research in Europe

Research area: European Research Area

Contract No: 245278

EU contribution: €999 218

Start date: January 2010

Duration: 28 months

Status: finalised

FAHRE (Food and Health Research in Europe) aimed to structure food and health research, and support cooperation in the building of the European Research Area (ERA).

The project carried out several activities in support of evidence-based policy making, including the Europe 2020 strategy to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and in particular research and innovation policy initiatives, such as the Innovation Union, Horizon 2020 and the European Research Area.

It provided a comprehensive map of food and health research, as well as research funding, in 32 European countries, identifying the key players and processes involved in research funding and policy at regional, national, and transnational level. The project also gathered information on the current research needs in this multidisciplinary area, and identified gaps and overlaps.

Unhealthy eating causes up to one quarter of chronic diseases – including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes and dementia, which are the most common conditions in Europe. The project made recommendations on the areas in which more research is needed, and on how to achieve healthier eating – for example, through changing food production and behaviours, and promoting the impacts of better governmental policies and regulation.

FAHRE also proposed improvements in the organisation of food and health research in Europe, including better links between food research and medical research, and better use of social sciences to determine effective interventions. Food safety authorities should support these new research efforts.

National research programmes must also be strengthened, with more countries carrying out joint actions. All proposals are summarised in FAHRE's position paper, available at http://www2.spi.pt/fahre/index.asp . FAHRE's full final report can be accessed at www2.spi.pt/fahre/reports/FAHRE Final Report.pdf .

In research capacity, it is estimated that 70 000 to 90 000 researchers are involved in food and health research in the 32 countries covered by the study. More than 470 research organisations were identified. Research is mostly undertaken at universities and public research institutes, while the number of private actors involved in food and health research is rather limited.

The 32 country reports identified 363 research programmes at national and regional levels. Among these 363 programmes, 155 are general research programmes supporting food and health research, 114 cover food and health research, among other research priorities, and 94 specifically target food and health research.

The diversity of national research systems makes it difficult to identify strengths and weaknesses that apply to all countries covered by the study. Nevertheless, the country reports allowed identification of strengths and weaknesses at European level.

Website of project: www.spi.pt/fahre

Coordinator: Augusto De Guimaraes Medina, augustomedina@spi.pt; rachelnewton@spi.pt

Organisation: SPI, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovaçao, www.spi.pt/

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