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Should more countries be invited to join SAFEFOODERA? If yes, which countries and in what way will they be involved?
Countries discussed: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Luxemburg, Malta, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine Decided to start with the (new) EU members not yet involved: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic (+ Malta, if possible)
Questions to be addressed • Situation report: how is programming of government financed food safety research in your country organised today? • Are there any gaps (comparing with other EU states) • What is needed to bridge these gaps? • Are there special needs? • Are there any important issues threatening food safety in your country today • Is there anything to say about human resources? • Define learning activities (what does your country expect to learn from joining SAFEFOOERA)?
Order of this presentation: 1. Overview per country (brief overview only: details will be in the written report) 2. Conclusions 3. Recommendations (possibilities to integrate individual or groups of countries into the ERA Net)
Czech Republic Some general facts: 10.3 million inhabitants on 80,000 square km. Share of agriculture in GDP: 4.2% Research programming on food safety Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) responsible for research on food production and safety Ministry of Health (MoH) is responsible for setting limits of contaminants and ‘consumer safety’ Ministry of Education (MoE) funds all research in universities. Four scientific committees together are responsible for general food safety research programming: the SC on animal nutrition (MoA), the SC on phytosanitary and environmental science (MoA), the SC on veterinary science (MoA) and the SC on food (MoH). Division responsibilities MoA:MoH is roughly 80:20
Czech Republic • Gaps • The scientific level of the research in food technology and safety is OK (international level) • But: • Results of food research are hard to implement in Czech food industry • ‘Big’ food industry coming from “the West” uses research results from their • own research • SME’s have not enough money to implement results • Lack of young people wanting to go into food research • Needs • Bridge the gap from research to food companies • Attract more young people by making Czech food safety research more • internationally involved (= more attractive)
Czech Republic Special problems Allergens are a growing problem Contaminants (pesticides, dioxins, PCB’s) Learning activities 1. Increased involvement in international co-operative projects 2. Harmonisation of food safety research programming by learning from others 3. Find out together how to make research better match with the current practice
Slovak Republic Some general facts: 5.4 million inhabitants on 49,000 square km. Share of agriculture in GDP: 4.5% , Food industry another 3% Research programming on food safety MoA is main the programming and funding ministry MoH is responsible for detection methods (development) and limits + food safety control Law on new ‘Agency for Supporting Science and Technology’ (MoE) came into force 1 July 2005. The Agency will start early 2006. Will be a broadly operating research programming agency Role of the Agency in food safety research programming still not clear
Slovak Republic • Gaps • Lack of involvement in international (and FP6) projects • Lack of young researchers who are attracted by more commercial • studies, or go abroad to “the West” (human resources problem) • Gap between research and practice is comparable with that in the • Czech Republic (Industries come in from the West; young brains • move to the West) • Needs • Assistance in interpreting questions from e.g. Brussels on new rules and legislation. Especially risk assessment (asked EFSA for help) • Bridge the gap between academia and factory • Keep young scientists interested to study food research
Slovak Republic Specific problems for Slovak food safety Contaminants are found a bigger problem than microbes Dioxins in Baltic fish, Acrylamide Learning activities Obtain more insight in risk assessment and risk management (principles and views) Participate in the discussion on GMO and learn how to use the international standards in the Slovak Republic Increase the international involvement of the Slovak researchers
Lithuania Some general data 65,000 square km, 3.5 million inhabitants. Agriculture is >7% of GDP. Dairy, meat and cereals are equally important. Research programming on food safety Central programming of scientific research in food technology and safety. Ministry of science and education (MoSE) and ministry of Agriculture (MoA) share responsibility. MoSE though “Programme of Priority Trends of Lithuanian Research and experimental development” (more fundamental); MoA through “Rural support programme” (more applied) Contribution to food safety research from MoSE is bigger than that from MoA. The number of scientists in FS related fields is about 250
Gaps • Though involved in 8 FP6 programmes: • - No tradition to co-operate internationally • - Lack of experience in (big) project management • Lithuania finds itself a bit underestimated • City-pull and money pull keeps the younger from studying food sciences • Laboratories and institutes are old fashioned and should be updated as • soon as money is available • Needs • Improve international involvement not only through FP projects but also in other programmes • Improve status of food research in general, nationally and internationally
Food safety issues in Lithuania Influence of feed quality on meat quality Pollution of raw materials for foods and feeds (novel indicators?) Learning activities Lithuania would like to get information from other EU members on organisation and management of programmes Learn how to improve international interactions Exchange young scientists with other EU members
Latvia Some general facts Same area as Lithuania. 2.3 million inhabitants (2.5 million 10 years ago). Many (young) people are leaving. Research programming on food safety There is no central research planning in food safety and technology. MoE tenders. The Latvian Scientific Board (LZP) evaluates. LZP evaluators come from all scientific areas, universities and institutes. MoA has own tenders. Only 1 year projects in applied research. There is a tendency towards central research planning: Directors of four institutes formed a commission to set up central planning: most active is the Food and Veterinary Service (FVS). Its director Mrs Dace Santare applied for membership of SAFEFOODERA
Gaps • - The lack of bi-lateral contacts is a heritage from Soviet times • Lack of human and financial resources (economy grows but financing • of research projects is still a big problem) • Lack of knowledge of English • Needs • General need for education through co-operation in management and • programming. • Would motivate young people to stay • Would improve the position of English among scientists
Specific Latvian issues • Dioxins in Baltic fish (research is needed to find the origin and to solve the • problems) • Mycotoxins (aflatoxin) in raw materials • Learning activities • - Exchange of views, expertise and young scientists with other EU countries • Get involved in internationally co-ordinated scientific programmes • Participate in international networks (like SAFEFOODERA)
Estonia Some general facts: 47,000 square km, only 1.45 million people of which a third lives in the capital, a third in other cities and a third on the country side. Agriculture is 3.5%of GDP and declining (15% in 1991) Research in food safety There is no food safety research programme in Estonia. Groups in Talinn and Tartu Universities do food safety related research. There is co-operation with Turkku University in Finland The small agricultural university of Tartu is specialised in plant breeding, crop protection, processing etc. (no food safety) Money for all research is granted (annually) on the level of the government, not of a single ministry, though MoE executes governments decision.
Estonia Specific interests for food safety in Estonia The Estonian Food Act and food safety requirements have been harmonised with the rules of the EU. The Veterinary and Food Board, under the supervision of the MoA is responsible for 17 control laboratories that perform the controls on microbiology, contaminants etc. The Veterinary and Food Board does not have influence on the choice of the projects to be granted by the government. Novel dairy foods (probiotic yoghurts) are developed by Estonia’s dairy industry. Research on risks versus benefits of these products is one of the few food safety project granted by the Government Gaps, needs and learning activities were not specified
Conclusions • 1. Considerable differences exist in the way food safety research is programmed, organised and funded • There is not a clear division Baltics vs former Czechoslovakia • It seems that the Czech Republic is first in the race • Estonia seems to have other priorities than programming food (safety) research • The five countries in general are lagging behind compared with main-stream SAFEFOODERA members • All countries expressed wish to join SAFEFOODERA except Estonia • Some countries asked for concrete help in defining and interpreting food safety scientific as well as regulation issues
Recommendations • Start follow up actions to involve these countries in SAFEFOODERA activities • Why? • A. The gap between the “five” and SAFEFOODERA will widen if they are not taken on board soon. • B. They asked for it. • Discuss the results of this consultation with responsible persons in the Commission and ask them to reflect on effective follow up actions • Possible ways to incorporate these countries in the SAFEFOODERA structure are given on the next slide
Recommendations II: models • 1. A new work package. The five new countries could be invited tojoin SAFEFOODERA and form a new work package in which they run a separate programme of the same four steps of the ERA Net general structure. Information from the other work packages would then be transferred in extra seminars to the ‘new members work package’ in order to allow them to run a comparable programme in a shorter period of time. This model would require extra money from the Commission. • 2. Incorporation in the existing structure. This would demand • some extra activities from the management structure and from • the other SAFEFOODERA members. One could think of the • organisation “regional assistance” e.g. the organisation of seminars in which the Czech and Slovak Republics would be assisted by Poland and Hungary to make up for the time lost by not being in from the start. The Baltic States could be assisted helped in a comparable way by e.g. the Nordic countries in extra seminars or workshops. This model would also imply extra • money
Recommendations III: models 2 • A separate project for the ‘newcomers’. A separate project proposal (an SSA) could be written by the SAFEFOODERA management, around the five countries involved, possibly with the addition of Malta, Luxemburg or a candidate member state. Two things could be combined in such an SSA. The ‘newcomers’ would run a comparable programme as SAFEFOODERA. The SAFEFOODERA Net and the newcomers’ SSA together could lay the basis of an ERA Net Plus for the Seventh Framework Programme. • Visiting members. The five countries could be invited to participate as ‘ visitors’ participating in the discussions, but should not be asked to run the full or a comparable programme in a much shorter period of time. They could be paid from the project only for travel and subsistence. This model would require no extra funding. • A combination of the above mentioned elements • .
Final remark: All of the above possibilities should lead to an even stronger and better ERA Net in Food Safety in the existing Framework Programme and lead to a strong and successful proposal for an ERA Net Plus, i.e. a common call for proposals with a “topping” of Brussels’ money in the Seventh FP.