Research, planning: Food for Life technology platform launches public consultation
The knowledge-based bio-economy edged a step closer to bearing fruit with the launch of an on-line consultation by the Food for Life technology platform. The opinions of stakeholders will help it in the drafting of its final strategic research agenda (SRA).
The on-line consultation began in July 2006 and stakeholders – from researchers, to industry and civil society – have until 1 December to contribute their views on the platform’s vision paper and draft SRA.
“All this will feed into the creation of [our SRA], due to be published in April 2007. The SRA will define themes and priorities for future research which we strongly suggest be included in the priorities of the Seventh Framework Programme and beyond,” said Peter van Bladeren, the chairman of Food for Life’s board.
FP7 is due to kick off next year and will run until 2013. Under the Co-operation programme, the ‘Food, agriculture and biotechnology’ priority has nearly €2 billion earmarked for it.
“The web consultation process is open, transparent, balanced and inclusive. It ensures that the extensive consultation process now under way across Europe is objective and will ultimately reflect the interests and opportunities of stakeholders and interested experts,” noted Jean Martin, President of CIAA, the Federation of Food and Drink Industries of the European Union.
Springboard to success
Food for Life’s mission is to enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s food and drinks industry – one of the largest industries in the EU – through top-end R&D and innovation. The agri-food industry generates some €600 billion a year and employs 2.6 million people – excluding farmers – mainly in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU-15 alone.
The draft SRA, which was released in April 2006, charts a course for the industry up to 2020. It has identified seven research challenges, or drivers of innovation: creating food and drink products which are both healthy and enjoyable, offering consumers a healthy diet, developing value-added food products, ensuring food safety in order to retain consumer trust, achieving sustainable food production, managing the food chain, as well as communication and consumer interaction.
The Commission regards technology platforms as an important weapon in its competitiveness arsenal and will help make European industry face up to growing international competition by making better use of Europe’s scientific excellence.
“Platforms … represent a powerful mobilising force,” Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik has said. “They can build the necessary scale of effort to achieve the major advances in research and development. Europe’s growth and competitiveness depend on them.”
Food for Life intends to work closely with other platforms operating in complementary fields. One such example is ‘Plants for the future’ which launched its SRA last year. It addresses four key challenges: healthy, safe and sufficient food and feed; sustainable agriculture, forestry and landscape; green products; and competitiveness, consumer choice and governance.
Source: EU and external sources
The on-line consultation
The Food for Life website
Food for Life SRA [ - 4.80 Mb]
‘Plants for the future’ SRA [ - 787 Kb]
Information on technology platforms
Information on FP7