The new Member States in central Europe have extensive experience and scientific expertise in cultivating fruit and flowers. Leading-edge skills include biotechnology, plant protection and environmental sustainability. They also have a more traditional know-how about bee-keeping, plant pollination, fruit tree research, and fruit processing. Nevertheless, the pursuit of scientific programmes has been hampered by a shortage of funding. So, collaboration by research institutes in these countries could be mutually beneficial if they were to participate in European research in the Food Quality and Safety priority of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme. However, central European countries have little or no experience of how the European research community works, how to identify available support, and how to submit project proposals.
The answer is to mobilise help from older Member States through a new European Commission Specific Support Action, stimulating participation of central European countries in the Agri-Food Sector in FP6 (CEAF). It involves experts from the European Commission and the Netherlands, and research institutes and SMEs in the flower and fruit sector from Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary and Estonia.
The first step is to survey the sector in each country and list the main players and their capabilities. They will then be invited to workshops, one in each of the candidate countries, to help them develop their skills in preparing research proposals that meet the objectives of FP6. Experts from the European Commission and Member States will be available to inform researchers about how the new Framework Programme instruments - Integrated Programmes, Networks of Excellence and other EU research structures - work, and to help them on how to find suitable partners.
About 40 delegates will be carefully selected to attend each workshop, drawn from universities, research institutes, governmental organisations and SMEs in the agri-food sector. The event will cover the details of consortium building, project management, legal and financial issues, and provide information on current and planned research projects. At the end of each workshop, feedback from participants on the training measures will help to refine future programmes. The workshops will provide an opportunity for participants to learn new skills and make fruitful contacts for future cooperation. A second series of more practical workshops on project proposals already under development will also be held.
They will be a focus for advice on the research content, intellectual property rights, and suitability for a given programme or network. They will also cover proposal writing and project management.
INFORMATION IS THE KEY
To be successful, CEAF will need to raise awareness of its activities in its target groups in central Europe. It will promote the workshops to them and maintain an interactive network amongst all collaborating partners. A website will be created containing all the relevant information; it will be major platform for the dissemination of project results. This will be supported by promotional publications. A database of central European research capabilities and facilities will be compiled from the first targeting exercise for the workshops, and will be published on a CD-ROM.
The progression over two years from general training, through consultancy on possible projects and partner search, to focused help for securing funding and running projects, should lead to positive participation by central European researchers and SMEs in FP6. The exchange of experience and expertise between partners will help to build bridges and better integrate central Europe into the European Research Area.
List of Partners
- Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)
- Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation (Hungary)
- Department of Food Processing, Tallin Technical University (Estonia)
- Baltic Chapter of SPIE - the International Society for Optical Engineering, Latvian, National Contact Point for FP6 (Latvia)
- Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, Department of Agrochemistry and Plant Nutrition (Slovakia)
- Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture in Skierniewice (Poland)
- Agriculture University in Warsaw (Poland)
- Wageningen University and Research Centre (The Netherlands)
- EuropaDesk, Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
- Full title:
- Stimulating participation of central europe in the agri-food sector in FP6
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Bozena Romanowicz,
Institute of Fundamental Technological Research Polish Academy of Sciences
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Alessio Vassarotti,
- EU contribution:
- € 300,000
- Specific Support Action