A griculture and food make a major contribution to Poland's economy, accounting for 20% of sales and 8% of employment in 2001. Upon joining the European Union, Poland will be able to benefit from access to the research and technology development in the EU's Framework Programmes, but will need to know more about how they operate and their past results to get the most out of them. Therefore, the European Commission is funding a Specific Support Action, POLFOOD, to encourage agribusiness firms in Poland and other accession countries in Eastern Europe to join in FP6. Lasting for 17 months, it will organise five carefully structured workshops in different Polish regions and publish brochures on their conclusions.
The EU and Polish research bases have much to offer each other. POLFOOD helped the integration of accession countries into the Union, targeting the many SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in this sector. Encouraging them to use FP5 results helped to fulfil the objectives of the European Research Area as regards food quality and safety.
The regional workshops are aimed at all relevant players in the agri-food sector - universities and research organisations, chambers of commerce, professional associations, public control authorities, and enterprises, large and small. Each event will focus on a specific topic of particular local importance, selected by regional experts. The first will also double up as the POLFOOD conference, giving a general introduction to the series.
To be held in Poznan, the first workshop will present an overview of all the topics to be covered. Within its specialisation - methods of analysis, detection of harmful substances and pathogens, and control of the production process - it will describe the results of completed EU projects. Opportunities to join FP6 projects on these themes will be discussed and the workshop will close with meetings between potential partners.
The other workshops will follow a similar pattern, each having a specific topic:
- Functional food, particularly seafood, and prevention of disease through diet, in Szczecin;
- Hygiene in milk production and processing, in Warsaw;
- The influence on human health of packaging methods and safe food preservative technology; new approaches towards monitoring and preventing chemical contaminants in food, in Krakow; and
- The safety of meat products, in Wroclaw.
This last event also hosted a presentation of the achievements of the whole project and summarised its conclusions.
SPREADING THE NEWS
Each workshop resulted in a brochure, with a common format, distributed amongst Polish enterprises and organisations. They highlighted practical knowledge on quality and safety issues for each topic, and the part it could play in an enlarged European Union. Wider dissemination in other accession countries were expected to have an impact on their food sectors and the practices of their food industries. It should also encourage them to consider similar ways to involve their SMEs in Europe's research programmes.
To give extra help to Polish and other accession countries' SMEs, a further brochure will be published with information most relevant to them. A database of partnering opportunities will be set up, with over 50% of entries relating to SMEs, who will also be offered a practical course on the use of new technologies in their business.
Early in the project a dedicated website (www.polfood. pl) will be set up to give rapid and widespread access to the information.
List of Partners
- Poznan Science and Technology Park (Poland)
- Technical University of Szczecin (Poland)
- Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Warsaw (Poland)
- Krakow University of Technology (Poland)
- Technical University of Wroclaw (Poland)
- Full title:
- Research and innovation in food technologies - brokering European partnership and transfer of knowledge to Poland by series of practical workshops
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Elzbieta Ksiazek,
Poznan Science and Technology Park
- EC Scientific Officer:
- François Constantin Severini
- EU contribution:
- € 136,000
- Specific Support Action