The European Union intends to become a leader in the international knowledge-based economy. Developing the European Research Area and boosting R&D investment towards the 3% of GDP target can help to achieve this goal. This entails building partnerships between the private sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the public sector, such as universities and government research organisations. With this in mind, an increased focus on the meat research field has emerged, causing the EU to take a bottom-up approach in creating a European Cooperative Platform to effectively forge public-private alliances amongst the research community, policymakers and industry at trans-regional level.
Although the SMEs engaged in food production and processing are highly active and stimulate the socioeconomic environment, their level of competitiveness is low because of the pressures wrought by the European internal market and globalisation. What has become clear is that competitiveness can be improved if management and scientific capacities are implemented. However, securing these capacities is impossible if private and public partnerships at transregional level are nonexistent.
At present, science and technology research groups and other organisations are failig to collectively work with agro-food SMEs in Europe. There are four main hurdles involved: a lack of information for SMEs regarding European and regional research and innovation public policies; insufficient knowledge concerning active scientific and technological capacities abroad; a dearth of 'technological mediators' that would help increase SMEs' participation and act as contact points, promoting research initiatives; and a lack of mechanisms for attracting those SMEs interested in research initiatives.
This project targets the creation of a strong research platform where SMEs, researchers and technology experts can collaborate to build strong consortia and develop innovation initiatives. The trans-regional cooperative platform is a model that can be used by other agro-food chains at European level. Regional institutions are also expected to collaborate and participate in forthcoming research activities. This platform can determine which problems affect the meat food sector, by setting up a network of transregional thematic platforms to stimulate teamwork between industry and research organisations, and to promote the exchange of knowledge between stakeholders. It also intends to establish a technological mediators' network between SMEs and public research members and regularise regional policies for SMEs, by identifying and standardising a common approach for SME involvement. The platform can inform EC policymakers of research strategies and technical recommendations, while setting the basis for the creation of research consortia and future research projects.
The project is moving towards a horizontal & vertical multidisciplinary approach. The former involves specialists from the research/academic world, while the latter concerns trans-regional SMEs operating at different stages in the same agro-food chain. Ultimately, ensuring the safety and quality of the food system will advance the health and well-being of European nationals. The research focuses on the quality and safety of beef and poultry, animal welfare, antibiotic resistance and animal feed. Other research topics that have been identified during the first phase of the TECARE project include studies into new products, improved shelf life and waste recycling. By encouraging SMEs to participate and cooperate with the research community, every European can benefit in the long run.
List of Partners
- Veneto Innovazione (Italy)
- Tecnoalimenti (Italy)
- Parco Scientifico STAR (Italy)
- Instituto Andaluz de Tecnología (Spain)
- Banat's University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (Romania)
- TTZ - Technologie- Transfer-Zentrum an der Hochschule Bremerhaven (Germany)
- Wroclaw Centre for Technology Transfer (Poland)
- Isa-Media (Belgium)
- Full title:
- Trans-regional cooperative platform for competitiveness in meat research and SMEs
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Ivan Boesso,
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Alessio Vassarotti,
- EU contribution:
- € 628,000
- Specific Support Action