Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ANIHWA Report Summary

Project ID: 291815
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: France

Final Report Summary - ANIHWA (Animal Health and Welfare)

Executive Summary:
Building on the experience and achievements of the previous ERA-Net EMIDA, the Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA) aims to further increase cooperation and coordination of national research programmes on animal health and to extend the scope to welfare of farm animals. The Consortium consists of 31 partner organisations from 19 countries. The Consortium is led by INRA, France, and is made of members from the major geographical area of Europe, assuring different interests in various livestock systems. The Consortium comprises most of the leading national research funding agencies for Animal Health and Animal Welfare in the EU, with a total funding potential estimated at over €250 Million annually. It includes funders of basic, as well as strategic and applied science, allowing for combined approaches.
The ANIHWA ERA-Net is organized into five work packages (WP), which aim to deliver the objectives of this coordination action. WP1 deals with the overall coordination, management, and communication of the project, including dissemination. A dedicated Task associated with the coordinator activity aims at extending the network to new partners from new member states and associated countries. In addition, WP1 leaders are in charge of elaborating a strategy to promote mutual integration of AH and WF research communities within the ERA-Net. Subsequent WPs aim to deliver the core objectives of the ERA-Net in a straightforward process. The project starts with a systematic exchange of information and the mapping and analysis of existing research activities and facilities (WP2), including information on national research funding and commissioning mechanisms. From this set of compiled information and a thorough review of pathogen biology and animal science research trends, WP3 performed a gap analysis focused on Animal Health and Animal Welfare research. New research needs and research opportunities were identified and the selected short and medium-term research topics were considered and recommended for joint trans-national activities to be developed based on a Joint Research Framework and shared priorities. Taking advantage of the areas identified in WP2 and WP3, the information was fed into WP4 for implementation of a range of trans-national activities including joint funding of collaborative research projects. The work plan then moved to WP5 with the aim to establish the necessary means to assure the sustainability of the network, through the SCAR-CWG on Animal Health and Welfare, which should absorb the processes developed during the EMIDA and ANIHWA ERA-Nets.
The past history of cooperation and coordination of activities among the partners have greatly facilitated the delivery of all the objectives assigned to the project:
• The systematic sharing of information between national programme funders/managers, with the development of comprehensive databases and web-based tools to analyse situations and trends.
• The development of strategic research agendas (medium and long term) based on shared priorities.
• The development of robust instruments and mechanisms that were used for initiating and delivering joint research calls, which already allowed for the successful delivery of 3 major joint research Calls for a total budget of 31 M €.
• The proposal for the establishment of a stand-alone, sustainable Network infrastructure that will continue beyond the end of EU-supported ERA-Net projects, facilitating long-term cooperation,

Project Context and Objectives:
The activities of consumer groups and animal protectionists and the aftermath of the large-scale sanitary crises have increased the awareness that animal production is more than just an industry. Farm animal welfare is now clearly an important issue for people across Europe and there is clear demand for higher animal welfare standards.
Exotic or emerging infectious threats are ever present and their potential environmental consequences are a growing concern. Endemic and production diseases are often overlooked, although they exert the highest impact to animal welfare. Moreover, the disease threats to the livestock industry have increased steadily as a result of intensification of livestock production, globalisation, evolving pathogens and climate change.
The ERA-Net scheme is unanimously recognised as the most suitable instrument to achieve a level of coordination that enables the overcoming of national differences by creating a driven force for developing common programmes on animal health and animal welfare research.
The added value of European collaboration in the field of research on animal health is well recognised by the European Community, and from the beginning the European Commission has supported several important Framework Programmes addressing Animal Health (FP5, FP6, FP7). The recent joint transnational calls in the EMIDA ERA-Net, supported by 18 partner countries with a budget of in excess of €20million for each call, have shown that funding projects on emerging infectious animal disease research in a coordinated European way is clearly possible and is valued by the Member State funding bodies.
For animal welfare research the situation is less favourable as a much larger interdisciplinary approach is needed. Research programmes in this field need skills from researchers from the basic animal science disciplines as well as from the social science disciplines.
Within this context, the Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA) therefore aims to increase the cooperation and coordination of national research programmes on animal health and welfare of farm animals, including fish and bees, and including those conditions which pose a threat to animal welfare or to human health, but excluding food safety issues relating to livestock products and diseases of wildlife except where they act as reservoirs of infection for humans or livestock.
ANIHWA will provide at the EU level additional resources for networking of research activities and mutual opening of national programmes, to achieve the following strategic goals:
• Optimise the research provision that underpins EU animal health and welfare policy development and policy implementation, and the sustainability of the EU livestock industries through the coordination of funding to develop improved knowledge and tools for the control and improvement of animal health and the benefit of welfare of livestock.
• Develop integrated animal health and welfare research policies and activities at the EU-wide level.
• Where necessary, increase the capacity of European animal health and welfare research community, in order to maintain and develop EU expertise in key/strategically important fields and maintain Europe’s competitiveness in the global Animal Health and Welfare area.
To achieve these strategic goals, five main specific objectives of ANIHWA were identified:
1) Establishing an organization to perform all of the required day-to-day project management and administrative activities while maintaining a technical oversight of the whole project to ensure delivery of the agreed objectives.
2) Creating, updating and extending the information exchange on research funding activities and programmes in the fields of animal health and animal welfare taken by different European countries within the consortium and outside the consortium (WP2). Particular attention will be given to new EU member states where there is a growing awareness for funding research projects on animal health and welfare.
3) Analysing the information gathered in WP2, coupled to a thorough analysis of the scientific trends in pathogen biology, animal science, and welfare research to reveal new opportunities for research and new research needs in the field of animal health and animal welfare (WP3). This will support the development of a Joint Research Framework programme for animal health and animal welfare.
4) Funding transnational collaborative research through multiple and flexible joint research calls (WP4). This is the most important and most effective joint activity to create and enhance collaboration between scientists working in the different fields and disciplines related to animal health and animal welfare. Therefore up to three generic large calls and up to 2 small focused on request calls are foreseen during the ANIHWA activity period.
5) Transforming EMIDA and ANIHWA into a sustainable network (WP5) with the aim to increase and diversify the current activities through the increase of funding commitment as well as exploring the inclusion of new funding organizations from charity funds, and the livestock industry. A proposal for financial and legal/administrative concepts for the sustainability of the network will be developed using the SCAR-CWGs as the backup transnational public structure.
These specific objectives were breakdown into five WP:
WP1 included all of the required day-to-day project management and administrative activities while maintaining a technical oversight of the whole project to ensure delivery of the agreed objectives. It consists of seven major activities: i) Coordination and reporting to the Commission, ii) Network Development, iii) Coordination meetings, iv) Project administration, v) Knowledge management, and communication, vi) Dissemination, vii) Promoting Synergy in AH and WF research communities. Project administration includes, developing a Consortium agreement with effective governance structures; establishing the membership and remit of the Network Consortium; organising, chairing and preparing minutes of all Network Consortium and Network Management Group meetings; attending meetings of the various other Work Packages to ensure activities are fully joined up; financial management and acting as the main interface with the Commission, including providing them with the required reports. Communication of project information and research programme details will entail developing a communication strategy; creating and maintaining the ANIHWA ERA-Net website.
WP2 was primarily designed to map current research programmes in animal health and welfare in participating countries, their budget and funding schemes. Data on programmes, management procedures, perceived needs and gaps, and on existing collaboration, were collected from each participating country and entered into a database linked to the project website. This information formed a sound basis for establishing common research framework programs in the fields of animal health and welfare, to be agreed upon and adopted by participating countries. The major outputs of WP2 being essential to the progress of WP3 and, to some extent, to WP4, were delivered during the first 24 months of the project. These encompass in particular the database updates and scaling-up, then the full report on mapping exercise with its two components, information from partners and science production indicators. These procedures of data retrieval and analysis were reactivated on an annual basis to update information. In the same way, science production indicators can subsequently be established as a permanent decision tool to help define future trans-national calls. Overall, WP2 achievement is largely dependent upon the quality of the information provided by the partners of the ERA-Net, whose willingness to exchange and share national data has already been initiated and demonstrated in EMIDA.
The aim of WP3 was to perform a gap analysis and identify research priorities and new research opportunities to develop a common research agenda for the ERA-Net. An external survey on science and technology production indicators in the field of animal science, animal health and animal welfare in Europe completed this analysis, enabling the objective identification of neglected themes of research, according to country and institution. WP3 fed its output into the development of common research calls, which constitutes the specific goal of WP4.
The major objective of WP4 was the implementation of joined transnational research calls. To do so, it developed, tested and refined the instruments, mechanisms and processes that enabled the consortium to conduct common activities in the field of funding of transnational research projects. As a central part, WP4 defined and implemented the specification of up to three common large calls. The structure of the large common calls was influenced by strategic key-features, which elaborated in WP3. However, using the instruments developed for EMIDA and the information collected in EMIDA and the SCAR-CWG, the first call was launched shortly after the start of the project (month 6-9). The set of submission and evaluation rules and procedures developed in EMIDA was upgraded to allow for an integrated and transnational submission, evaluation and funding of the collaborative research projects. The call management experience gained from this WP fed into the Netwatch platform (http://netwatch.jrc.ec.europa.eu/nw/ ).
WP5 is a key component of building the ERA-Net into a forward-looking sustainable structure of national animal health and welfare research funders capable of cross-programme collaboration that will better serve in terms of (human and financial) resources the research needs of the European Livestock industries and animal health and welfare policy makers. It draws upon all the previous work packages and will develop into five major tasks, i) to develop the SCAR Collaborative Working Group as a stand-alone sustainable structure for the coordination of research on animal health and welfare, meeting the needs of the livestock industry and the various public funding bodies, ii) to monitor progress and assess the impact of projects funded under EMIDA and ANIHWA common calls, iii) to sustain the development of a long-term Strategic Research Agenda on Animal Health and Welfare, iv) to identify synergies and the potential for coordination between funding activities of European national funding bodies and the European Commission and funding bodies outside Europe and v) to facilitate the development of structures for the coordination of livestock industry sector funding of research – allowing a joined up approach with public sector funders.

Project Results:
The main objective of WP1 is to provide support to organisation, coordination and management of the ERA-Net and to inform the Commission of progress of the ERA-Net, including the preparation and delivery of financial statements and the submission of technical reports. It continued and improved the EMIDA existing management structures and activities and set up new capacities to accommodate for the enlargement of the scope to animal welfare. WP1 leaders will also be in charge of communication of the aims and progress of the ERA-Net and of the sharing and dissemination of project outputs for the wider benefit of other stakeholders and of the public. Furthermore, they will elaborate and implement a strategy to promote mutual integration of AH and WF research communities within the ERA-Net.
One of the major task of WP1 has been to assure regular communication with the officers in charge of the project at the Commission, to prepare and submit compulsory reports mentioned in the contract and to provide information on the progress of the project, as well as financial reporting on the status of the project. The governing and management structures (Network Consortium and Network Management Group) were installed early in the first period and officially set to work at the Kick-Off meeting, which took place in Paris 6th March 2012. Coordination was ensured through frequent internal meetings within WP1 and within the NMG. When necessary, the coordinator also seeks the advice of the EC officers. Five 6-monthly internal reports, 3 periodic reports and one final report were prepared during the duration of the project and disseminated to the consortium and the EC scientific officers. The External Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) was installed during the first period. For this, the NMG has selected a short list of 15 experts from a large list of experts proposed by NC members to form the ESAB. The project coordinator, Abdenour Benmansour, contacted with the best ranked 10 scientists in the short list of experts. Finally, 9 high profile scientists from three groups of disciplines (Infectious Diseases, Production Diseases, and Welfare) were enlisted to ESAB and participated as scientific advisors to the ANIHWA Network Consortium: Arjan Stegeman (NL); Hans Houe (DK); Thomas C. Mettenleiter (DE); Harry Blokhuis (SE); Robert Dantzer (US); Aart de Kruif (BE); Ivo Pavlik (CZ); Manfred Schwerin (DE), Hubert Laude (FR). The ESAB members were invited to attend all the NC meetings. Written reports from the ESAB were produced, commented at the NC general assembly and included in the minutes of the NC meetings. The coordinator identified strategically important funders organisations from Member States and Associated Countries not initially involved in the project and invited them in joining the network as observers. They have participated at their charge in the Kick-off meeting and in the NC meetings and were kept informed throughout the project. The following organisations have been contacted and invited as observer: Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS); Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (FWO); New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry/ New Zealand Ministry of Science and Innovation; Poland Ministry of Agriculture and Poland Research Funding Agency (NCBiR); Portugal Ministry of Agriculture; Russian Federation (ICISTE); Turkey Ministry of Agriculture. ANIHWA has also implemented the collaboration with other European networks, platforms and organizations, such as the SCAR-CWG in SAP, PLATFORM, NETWATCH, JPI-FACCE, JPI-AMR, AWARE, AWIN, DISCONTOOLS, STAR IDAZ, SCAR-CWG in AH &WF, ETPGAH and COPA-COGECA. The practical coordination of the project necessitated the organisation of a large number of meetings. The Network Consortium (NC) convened once a year:
- The Kick-off Meeting, 6th March 2012 in Paris (France)
- The 1st ANIHWA NC annual meeting, 28th February 2013 in Paris (France)
- The 2nd ANIHWA NC annual meeting, 27th February 2014 in Brussels (Belgium)
- The 3rd ANIHWA NC annual meeting, 29th January 2015 in Rome (Italy)
- The 4th ANIHWA NC annual meeting, 24th November 2015 in Paris (France)
The Network Management Group (NMG) met at least twice a year in order to ensure the good follow-up of the project:
- The 1st NMG meeting, March 07, 2012, Paris (France)
- The 2nd NMG meeting was organised as a phone conference, April 19, 2012.
- The 3rd NMG meeting, June 26, 2012, Köln (Germany)
- The 4th NMG meeting , December 05, 2012, Brussels (Belgium)
- The 5th NMG meeting, February 26, 2013, Paris (France) After the first annual meeting a NMG debriefing was organised on February 28, 2013.
- The 6th NMG meeting, June 26, 2013, Paris (France)
- The 7th NMG meeting, February 26, 2014, Brussels (Belgium)
- The 8th NMG meeting, June 26, 2014, Köln (Germany)
- The 9th NMG meeting was organised as a Joint ANIHWA-CWG session, September 24, 2014, Paris (France). This meeting aimed to further discuss the initiative for a new ERANET Co-Fund proposal.
- The 10th NMG meeting, January 28, 2015, Rome, (Italy)
- The 11th NMG meeting, June 22, 2015, Paris, (France)
The internal and the external communication were ensured through the development of the communication plan and the ANIHWA-Website. The conception and maintenance of the website is operated by INRA (B1). The design and animation of the project logo, the banner and the website were subcontracted to a private company (KALIOP). The official ANIHWA website (www.anihwa.eu) opened in March 2012. It now comprises a data mining tool to analyse the AH & WF research publications for the period 2005-2014 (www.anihwa.eu/publication-mapping/). This website is linked to the Collaborative Platform operated by INRA Transfert (B30) (workspaces.inra-transfert.fr/anihwa). It is a member-only space where ANIHWA partners can share documents and information. Visitors can also open from the ANIHWA official website, a direct link to the Call Submission Platform (https://www.anihwa-submission-era.net/), which is developed and operated by PtJ (B4). The public website of the project as well as the member-only collaborative platform were and are still regularly updated for information, documents, news and external links about conferences and events in Animal Health and Animal Welfare.
Dissemination aims to ensure that the knowledge and achievements resulting from the ANIHWA programme will reach the relevant stakeholders, including industry. A list of relevant stakeholders was compiled and regularly updated. The communication tools and mechanisms for dissemination have been implemented and regularly upgraded. A Newsletter was prepared and was distributed on an annual basis to all stakeholders. Dissemination was also achieved through participation of the coordinator to meetings and workshops outside the ANIHWA network:
• Participation to the Copa-Cogeca working party on animal health and welfare – 18th March 2013 Brussels, Belgium. 23 experts coming from national farmers/agri-cooperatives associations Portugal, UK, Germany, France, Lithuanian, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Check Republic, Spain, Poland and Italy. Presentation of ANIHWA followed by a general discussion. They expressed their interest in ANIHWA and wish to be invited to our Consortium meetings as observers. We also agree on exchange of documents and information on the research needs and agendas.
• Participation to the PLATFORM workshop programs:
– Document and update the PLATFORM database on Call procedures and management.
– Participation to the Call management Master Class (17-18 June 2013). Dominique Vandekerchove (B8), deputy-leader of WP4 attended the Master Class for ANIHWA.
• Participation to the ERA-NET – FACCE – JPI Workshops. The overall aim of these workshops was to explore the current situation of FACCE – JPI and the invited ERA-NETs and their potential interactions, including possibilities for joint actions, as well as to begin to discuss the way forward in Horizon 2020. For ANIHWA, good prospect for interaction on emerging animal diseases in link with climate change was identified.
• Participation the SCAR-CWG AHW meetings in Paris, Brussels, Rome.
• Participation to the SCAR-CWG SAP meetings in Paris, Bonn, and Koln. During these meetings the prospect of including Animal Health and Animal Welfare in the new ERANET SusAn were discussed and implemented.
A final Dissemination Conference was organised in Paris from the 25th till the 26th November 2015. The meeting was co-organised by French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Beneficiary 1) and INRA Transfert (Beneficiary 30). Around 90 participants registered to the conference. However, due to the tragic events of the 13th November 2015 in Paris, we registered a reduction to 72 of the number of participants. The majority of them came from France (coordinator country). But, 61% of the participants were outside the ANIHWA consortium and most of them from public institutions. Private companies represented only 5% of the whole participants.
The coordinator has also the task to promote the integration of AH and AW research within the ERA-Net beneficiaries in interaction with the ESAB, the NC, the WP1 and WP3. To do so, a synergy funders’ meeting was held on the 14th - 15th May 2013 in Bonn, Germany, in conjunction with the final decision meeting of the first call. The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, Germany, Beneficiary 7 in the Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA), organised a workshop for funding agencies for animal health and welfare on 14th and 15th May 2013 in Bonn, Germany. Twenty six participants attended the workshop including representatives from twenty two different funders from all over Europe. The workshop was the deliverable of task 1.7.1 and was initially planned to help “identify interfaces between the two areas of research in order to produce added value of different national funding programmes” and produce “synergy between animal health and welfare funding agencies and ministries”. However, following discussions initiated during the Network Consortium Meeting in Paris, France and preparations for the final decision meeting for Call 1, the workshop was shifted to focus on the improvement of present procedures and the organisation and, if possible, streamlining of research funding for animal health and welfare within the ANIHWA ERA-Net. The content of the workshop followed three main topics: Call procedure and timeline; Call models and topic finding; Funding schemes.
An important scientific workshop to promote Synergy between AH and AW research communities (sub-task 1.7.2) was organised in conjunction with the animal health and welfare workshop foreseen in WP3 (Task 3.3). The workshop took place on the 21st – 22nd November 2013 in Copenhagen and was co-organised with DASTI (B3). The National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark on behalf of WP1 and WP3 hosted the meeting. A total of 46 invited experts form EU Member States and Associated Countries, representing academia, OIE reference laboratories, authorities, stakeholder organizations, NGO’s, and ANIHWA working groups participated to the workshop.
The Work Package 2 aims at mapping and analysing existing national research infrastructures and programmes in the field of livestock health and welfare. The work was divided into 4 main tasks. Task 1 aimed at mapping information from national research programmes on animal welfare. A survey was developed and submitted to all ANIHWA partners during the kick-off meeting of the project. This had the double scope of collecting data about funding bodies and research programmes on Animal Welfare (AW) and for defining general rules for the launch of the ANIHWA calls and of the first call in particular. Answers from 26 partners were collected and analysed, in order to detect and collate information on public bodies that fund and/or manage research in each participant country and to gather information on programme details, procedures for call launching, and on the reviewing processes. In addition, a comparative analysis between Animal Health (AH) and AW research programmes in the European area was carried out, using as a reference the EMIDA “Report on mapped and analysed data and information from national programmes”. The results of both the survey and the comparative analysis constituted the basis for the development of D2.1, “Report on the mapped and analysed data and information from national programmes on animal welfare”. The report is divided into three main sections, each concerning a different topic. The first one provides data about AW research funding bodies, the second one gives information about the framework and criteria for the launch and evaluation of the ANIHWA calls, and the latter shows the results the comparative analysis between AH and AW research funding.
Task 2 aimed at mapping research production on livestock animal health and welfare in Europe. A bibliometric study was conducted to investigate the scientific collaborations between European countries and research organisations, and to identify the major scientific topics of those collaborations. A database was elaborated using the most used bibliographic source, the Web of Science (WoS), by selecting both primary articles and reviews issued between 2005 and 2014, written in English and focussed on health and welfare of livestock. The final corpus that has been analysed contains 48,103 different bibliographical references. This represented a first attempt to propose a quasi-automatic method of publication retrieval to elaborate a holistic and accurate scientific database in both animal health and welfare. On this final database, both the characterisation of the production (i.e. the amount and the evolution of publication) and the scientific openness by European region, country and national organisation have been investigated through bibliometric analysis. A web-based tool was developed and implemented under supervision of WP1 to display any combination of search results, www.anihwa.eu/publication-mapping/. Two separate reports (D2.3 and D2.4, Report on the mapped data and information, animal health and welfare) were delivered, containing the results of the bibliometric analysis. The study revealed that publications on Animal Health represent most of the overall production, since the publications on Animal welfare account for less than ten percent of the overall. Infectious diseases and non-infectious diseases represent two thirds and a fourth of the total publications, respectively. A very limited number of publications are dealing with interface topics between health and welfare. Great disparities in the number of publications emerge among countries. The United Kingdom contributes to at least twenty percent of the publications while within the group «Spain, Italy, Germany and France» each country accounts for ten percent of the overall publications for both animal health and welfare. The number of publications increases all along the whole period, with the growth rate on animal welfare being stronger than on animal health (two to one). Large variation of average annual growth rate occurs among countries, as well as inter and intra institution. As it could be expected, greater variations are observed in countries/institutions having a smaller share of the total of the overall publications. The international partnerships represent less than forty percent of the overall publications for all topics, being even lower on animal welfare. There is a good balance between cooperation within Europe and those outside Europe in animal health, whereas cooperation within Europe is twice the amount of the extra-European one in animal welfare. For the three topics, the United Kingdom plays a central role in the collaboration networks with countries from Western and Southern Europe. Western European countries show the strongest collaborations. Scandinavian countries collaborate mostly among themselves on animal health, while they have also strong links with several Western countries on animal welfare. Collaboration outside Europe seems to be concentrated toward a limited number of countries, mainly North America (US and Canada) and Australia. The investigation of the relationship among organisations clearly confirms that most of the collaborations are intra-country.
Task 3 aimed at elaborating and implementing a Web based Animal Welfare Archive, AWA’, containing information on research programmes and calls on animal health and welfare across countries, and having the aim of simplifying international cooperation in research. The collection of programmes and calls on AH and AW from the various countries around Europe in a unique database would allow researchers to find information on research calls being issued across the EU more easily. In addition, it would allow EU funders getting awareness of the timeframe of other research programmes, helping the launch of common transnational calls, merging programmes/calls having similar topics. Firstly, a pilot system was developed, using the information contained in the “Report on the mapped and analysed data and information from national programmes on animal welfare” (D2.1) to draft the entity –relationship scheme that constitute the basis for the system. The Web Application was developed using open source evolved technologies. A reference person was identified in each ANIHWA partner organisation, with the aim of testing the pilot system and proposing improvements and, once the system would have been operational, feeding it with information about the issue of new calls on AH and AW from their belonging institution. Based on the received comments and feedbacks, the system was updated and improved and a final database was delivered and is now accessible at http://awa.anihwa.eu/awa/. The system allows the input of information on research programmes and calls, to be uploaded by registered reference persons, as well as the retrieving of call in the DB based on selected categories (e.g. topic, requirements, issuing dates). Additional services were also developed, such as a personalised notification system for any user, showing an update about his/her past activities on the systems (e.g. number of calls being still in draft form) and a new complex data filtering system, allowing the retrieving of highly accurate results. Training courses were held to instruct the reference persons in the various organisations in using the AWA’. A user manual was made available as well to support them in their task. Up to date, the AWA’ has 43 Users belonging to 37 Organisations, and contains 50 Research Programmes and 139 Calls. A steady increase in the number of both research programmes and calls was observed during the last year of the project lifespan (85% and 35% increase respectively), demonstrating the success of the system. The AWA’ will be taken over by the Collaborative Working Group for Animal Health and Welfare research, that will ensure it being operational in the next years and that will carry over the task of increasing the number of countries using the AWA’.
Task 4 aimed at reviewing the European Animal Health and Welfare policies and actions in order to identify research gaps on these topics. The main objective was to perform a study on the Member State proposal for the new Animal Health Law (AHL) and to identify research gaps on animal health and welfare that emerged from that process. The drafting process of the new norm was long and, during this work, several research gaps were identified. Bibliographic studies were performed to gather information about the on-going drafting process of the new norm, a detailed search and analysis of the publicly available documents and interviews with the person in charge of the legislation review process in one of the Member States were implemented. This allowed to identify the main features and innovative aspects of the AHL. In order to deepen the identification of research gaps, several other information sources were analysed, such as the ETPGAH, the EMIDA SRA and the Discontools database. Copa-COGECA views on the new drivers on animal health and welfare were included in this analysis. Lastly, a study of the notified outbreaks in the ANIHWA countries was performed to identify disease trends on the area. The report “Identification of research drivers emerging from the drafting of the new Animal Health Law and other EU actions” (D2.5) includes the results of these analyses. It is divided into three parts: the first one describes the process that led to the decision to issue the AHL while the second ones describes the norm itself. The last one, on the other hand, describes the future research drivers emerging from the new Animal Health Law and taking into account other EU relevant sources of information.
ANIHWA Work Package 3 has delivered a gap analysis on animal health and welfare research topics followed by a questionnaire survey for prioritization of research topics arising from the gap analysis. A workshop was held with the purpose of developing a further concretization of prioritized research topics, including topics providing synergy between infectious and production diseases and animal welfare. By combining the gap analysis, the questionnaire survey, the results from the workshop and a final prioritization exercise within the ANIHWA consortium, a strategic research agenda (SRA) was developed. The SRA has been used as a basis for the third joint ANIHWA call for research projects and as input for promoting synergy in animal health and animal welfare research in parallel with the long term foresight activities carried out in ANIHWA WP-5.
The gap analysis was a qualitative compilation of research topics in previous consensus reports from various ERA-nets and stakeholder organisations as well as (particularly for animal welfare) opinions from EFSA. For animal health and infectious diseases the comprehensive DISCONTOOLS database was exploited together with research agendas from ETPGAH (European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health) and EMIDA ERA-Net (Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock), while for animal welfare the strategic approach document from EAWP (European Animal Welfare Platform) and several recent opinions from EFSA were used. A total of 12 research areas were described for animal health / infectious diseases, while for animal welfare sections were presented on dairy cows, veal calves, swine, chicken and egg-laying hens with a further combined section on animal-based welfare indicators. No consensus documents were located for production diseases.
The aim of the questionnaire survey was to obtain a prioritization of the research areas from the gap analysis + some supplementary topics, particularly in the case of production diseases. An electronic version of the questionnaire was conveyed in June 2013 to 4 main groups: Academia (OIE reference laboratories), authorities (CVO offices), stakeholders (farmers’ and veterinarian organisations, industry) and NGO’s within animal welfare. In the section on animal health / infectious diseases, the respondents were given the opportunity to choose up to 3 specific diseases for which they should score the importance of 11 research areas. For production diseases and animal welfare up to 2 host species could be selected with prioritization in each case of 10 research areas. A total of 140 submissions of completed questionnaires were received, regrettably however, only 12 from NGO’s. Among the listed diseases influenza, PRRS, African swine fever, paratuberculosis, Schmallenberg disease, FMD, bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis (3 species) were the most frequently selected. Dairy cows and pigs were the most frequently selected host animals in the sections for production diseases and animal welfare. The preliminary report of the survey was discussed at a meeting in Copenhagen by November 2013. The Copenhagen Workshop on animal health and welfare was held in November 21-22, 2013. The National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark on behalf of Work Package 3 and 1 of ANIHWA, hosted the meeting. Participants included 46 experts form EU Member States and AC, representing, OIE reference laboratories, authorities, stakeholder organizations,, NGO’s and ANIHWA working groups.
Based on all the information, following prioritizations on a short to medium term basis are suggested:
Disease control and surveillance
Control measures aims to eliminate or limit the spread of epidemic diseases between herds, regions and countries. Border control and trade restrictions may be a defence against exotic diseases, while biosecurity measures introduced at the individual farm unit serve to protect the animals from both endemic and epidemic diseases. Vaccination may protect entire populations or may be used as zone vaccination to contain epidemic outbreaks. Surveillance is important for disease control because a fine-meshed reporting system may lead to early intervention and elimination of newly introduced disease foci. Surveillance may be passive, relying on reporting of suspicions from farmers or veterinarians, or active, based on regular sampling of representative or targeted populations. Epidemiology and risk evaluation are scientific disciplines that helps quantify important parameters in disease transmission.
Knowledge gaps/suggested topics for research:
There is a need for intensified, harmonized and standardized active surveillance activities, as is the need for cheaper and more sensitive diagnostic tests (serological tests, PCR’s, etc.). The use of alternative samples, like bulk tank milk, eggs, meat juice and sputum pools, for surveillance should be critically evaluated concerning efficiency and economical gain.
A number of parameters need further investigation in the case of true vectors. Geographic distribution, climatic factors, survival parameters, vectorial competence, possible overwintering in vector, incubation period and its dependence on temperature, etc. are important parameters to include in models for the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, both for mosquitoes, midges, sand flies and ticks.
The role of wildlife reservoirs needs to be addressed for a number of diseases. This would include systematic studies of transmission parameters and the effect of bio-security measures, e.g. physical barriers towards contact with wildlife.
Social science investigation may help identify reasons for lack of compliance among essential stakeholders.
The necessary vaccination coverage needs estimation for a number of diseases e.g. by simulating various scenarios and estimating R0 –values for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations.
Modelling spatial spread of current and emerging diseases, e.g. by outbreak simulation, taking the effect of climate change and globalisation into account. Bio-economical modelling of cost/benefit for various control measures (e.g. herd culling, quarantine and vaccination) should be included.
Production diseases
Production diseases are disorders associated with the management of animals for intensive agricultural production. These disorders are usually multifactorial of nature, because they are influenced both by host animal genetics, management and environmental factors, the latter including potentially pathogenic microorganisms.
Examples of production diseases with a significant pathogen component are mastitis and respiratory disease complex in cattle, diarrheas and respiratory disease complex in swine and chicken.
Knowledge gaps/suggested topics for research:
Knowledge of infection dynamics on-farm is important as related to age group, animal density, housing conditions, containment, etc. Particularly for multiple pathogens and their interaction there is a need to perform well-designed studies, reflecting the farm conditions. This may be combined with risk-factor analysis or bio-economic modelling to further define acceptable levels of clinical/subclinical infection or to identify suitable changes of management.
The scientific approach to production diseases should be multidisciplinary. Time-resolved analysis of infection levels and animal health at the farm level may be combined with slaughterhouse data and extracts from other databases.
Databases on farm-related parameters are often constructed for specific purposes and there is a need to develop suitable procedures for verification and data-filtering in order to use these in a broader epidemiological context.
The innate immune response is an important factor in disease protection, and the early responses to infection should be analysed for specific diseases, e.g. induction of interferon and Natural Killer cells. There is furthermore a need to verify the efficacy and degree of cross-protection as well as the level of herd immunity obtained by vaccinating certain age groups, e.g. sows.
On-going research into the proper formulations of probiotics and prebiotics should be strengthened, in order to improve the intestinal microbiota and reduce the need for antibiotic treatment. Non-traditional compounds, such as antimicrobial peptides, medicinal plants and silencing RNA are promising candidates for research, as are bacteriophages for certain bacterial infections.
Animal-based welfare indicators
Animal-based indicators aim to measure the actual welfare of the animal and include the effects of different input factors. The input factors are the resources available and the management practices. The influence of the input on the outcome (the animal’s welfare) varies with the characteristics of the animal, e.g. species, breed, sex, age and stage of lactation.
Examples of animal-based indicators are for cattle locomotion scores and foot lesions, poor body condition, milk somatic cell count and antibiotic treatment frequency, while for fattening pigs examples are: Disease signs, skin lesions, tail and ear lesions, exploratory behaviour. Animal-based indicators may be retrieved at farm or at slaughterhouse.
Knowledge gaps/suggested topics for research:
The build-up of databases for each animal species and category, including recordings of animal-based and resource- or management-based indicators should be encouraged. Slaughterhouse recordings of injuries, meat quality, etc. should be included and, where applicable recordings of antibiotic usage. The databases should preferably show improved transparency and consistency of results and be amenable to statistical and network analysis for elucidation of links between factors, indicators and welfare outcomes.
There is a need to develop and validate automatic recording systems (video, etc.) of animal behaviour and design the necessary algorithms for treating such data.
For dairy cattle there is a need to develop improved methods for quantitative and semi-quantitative measurements of welfare such a pain associated with injury and exhaustion associated with prolonged high metabolic demand.
For veal calves, further research is needed to develop other clinical and biochemical parameters (in addition to blood haemoglobin levels) to be included as indicators of anaemia in order to safeguard their welfare.
For pigs there is a need for developing animal-based indicators to address the issues of pain, frustration and other positive and negative emotional states so that these can be used as welfare outcome indicators on-farm or in the slaughterhouse.
For broilers research should be conducted to closer elucidate their behavioural needs. A feather and injury scoring method should be also developed to measure the level and extent of damage caused by aggressive behaviour.
Bee health
In view of the outstanding economic and ecological value of bees as pollinators, there is a need to monitor and maintain healthy honey bee stocks and also promote the health of bumble bees and solitary bees. The last decade has seen reports of serious losses from beehives (Colony loss / colony collapse disorder) the causes of which still appear obscure.
Knowledge gaps/suggested topics for research:
Promote long-term EU-wide monitoring plans for different types of bees, different climatic regions and develop standardised protocols which include key factors such as landscape (including land-use, land management and land structure), climate and bee management (for honeybees and bumble bees).
Development of calibrated tools and validated detection methods for the monitoring and assessment of colony development, bee mortality and sub-lethal effects in field conditions. Define a baseline for what is meant by a “healthy colony”.
Reinforce detection methods for the prevention of entry and control of spread of bee pests in the EU (e.g. Aethina tumida, Vespa velutina)
Develop further standardised laboratory tests for acute and chronic toxicity (lethal/sub-lethal endpoints) of multiple chemicals including regulated products (pesticides, veterinary medicines) and contaminants.
Develop molecular markers for bees with omics techniques (e.g. transcriptomics) to characterise bee subspecies (honeybees) and species (bumble bee and solitary bees) sensitivity to toxic agents, nutrition and pathogens (e.g. metabolising enzymes, toxicity targets, etc.), as well as for use in monitoring programmes.
Modelling approaches to assess the effect of multiple environmental stressors.
The ANIHWA Work Package 4 “Joint transnational research calls” dealt with the implementation of joint calls. Main S&T results are therefore found in the tools used for the implementation and in the procedures.
Improvement of tools
Based on the experience and the achievements of the ERA-Net EMIDA, pre-existing tools for proposal submission and online evaluation have been improved and further developed according to the specific needs of the ERA-Net ANIHWA activities. In addition experience gained within ANIHWA also lead to improvements allowing to better meet the needs of all parties involved.
In the course of the first call the EMIDA submission tool was updated to meet the requirements of the ANIHWA call, i.e. specific upload fields were made available, text boxes were re-formulated, etc. At the same time the submission tool itself has been updated in such a way that it could be used easily by a broader group of organizations.
An online eligibility check and a possibility to give comments have been added for the benefit of the funding agencies involved.
The submission platform has been reconstructed and a new layout concept was implemented to also include the monitoring tool for the funded projects.
From the first to the second call a few small but effective updates were implemented in the submission tool, e.g. the character counter for text boxes, a validation check of data, possibilities for downloading and the layout of submitted documents.
Additionally the preparatory work for the reviewers’ and funders’ meetings was streamlined. Based on improved download functionalities within the submission tool, the processing of the submitted data became more user-friendly, e.g. the financial data of the proposals were easier to summarize, which allowed circulating them as a concise table to the funders before the meeting for a better preparation.
From the second to the third call the templates for the submission of full proposals were slightly modified. The main differences existed in the description of the work packages, where the applicants had the possibility to describe the different tasks in more detail.
All these modifications were performed to better meet the needs of the applicants and beneficiaries and to align them more with other ERA-Net call tools. The number of inquiries and failure indications decreased due to these improvements.
A Document Management System was set up and used successfully for drafting the priority topics list on animal health and welfare for the third call. The system allowed an easy and fast exchange of documents and improved communication, and speeded up document updates. Documents were thus shared very conveniently between the ANIHWA consortium members or any other stakeholders.
SurveyMonkey was used as a voting and questionnaire tool. This tool provided an easy-to-use setup for questionnaires and allowed the users to provide feedback very easily.
Here below we show the overview of updates in the course of the three, implemented calls:
- 1st Call
- Full electronic online submission (no file upload needed anymore)
- Expert database launched and linked with submission tool
- Online evaluation improved; i.e. proposal assignment; management of Conflicts of Interest; proposal download
- 2nd Call
- Re-design of ANIHWA submission homepage fully implemented
- Document management system in use
- Project monitoring completely functional
- Online eligibility check improved: ‘download all’ function; highlighting checked proposals, etc.
- 3rd Call
- Workplan description now has an ‘insert image function’
- Images/charts can be uploaded at an upload field and will be positioned in the printout by a previously set bookmark
- Workpackages will additionally include:
- Tasks (start/end day)
- ‘View chart’ function of work packages (similar to Gantt chart), chart will be auto-generated out of the data mandatorily requested by the system
- Dashboard (for Call Office): accessing proposal data much more easily
Improvement of procedure
From the second call onwards, the evaluation of pre-proposals was completed with a peer-review, yielding a scientific recommendation for each pre-proposal. This amendment facilitated a more specific and restrictive selection by the funders of consortia to invite to the full proposal stage. This significantly increased the success rate of the applicants, and resulted at the same time in a lower workload for both the applicants and the reviewers evaluating the full proposals. Additionally, this revision aligned with processes of other ERA-Nets.
The inclusion of the monitoring tool on the submission platform allowed the coordinators of the funded projects to submit their midterm and final progress reports using the same platform and the same login credentials as for their proposal submission. The continuous upgrade of the tools and of the procedure made the processes of the application, evaluation and monitoring user-friendlier.
In order to achieve a sustainable structure for the coordination of research on animal health and welfare in Europe a ‘Network Sustainability’ document was developed in the frame of Work Package 5. This document outlines the benefits, objectives, relationships and scope of the Collaborative Working Group for European Animal Health and Welfare Research (CWG AHW). Established in 2005 at the request of the Standing Committee for Agricultural Research (SCAR), the aim of the CWG AHW was to develop a durable focused network of national research funders in Member and Associated States of the EU for the purpose of sharing information, coordinating activities and working towards a common research agenda and mutual research funding activities in the field of animal health and welfare, including fish, bees and those conditions which also pose a threat to human health. The CWG AHW was operating before, alongside, and will continue to operate after the EMIDA and ANIHWA ERA-NETs but now under clear governance through a Memorandum of Understanding to complement the Network Sustainability document.
The CWG AHW facilitates exchange of information between its members and interacts with the European Commission, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), livestock sector groups, industry, and also the wider international research funding community through the Global Network for Animal Disease Research (STAR-IDAZ) by acting as the STAR-IDAZ European Regional Network and with European researchers participating in the STAR-IDAZ priority disease research networks. Links were and are being fostered between the CWG AHW and the proposed Sustainable Animal Production (SusAn) ERA-NET, the Joint Programming Initiative Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE JPI), DISCONTOOLS and the European Joint Programme (EJP) on food-borne zoonoses, AMR and emerging threats.
Two livestock sector groups are coordinating industry research funding through the establishment of networks supported through WP5 of ANIHWA and the CWG AHW. The European Pig Innovation Group (EU PIG) and the European Cattle Innovation Partnership (ECIP). The CWG AHW website offers a password-protected collaborative platform to support these industry groups’ activities. A report on models for the provision of research in the livestock sector globally has also been developed under WP5.
Two subgroups currently operate under the CWG AHW; the Animal Welfare Subgroup, and the Strategy and Foresight Unit (SFU). Membership of the SFU is largely the same as that of ANIHWA Work Package 5 (WP5) and the group oversaw the activities of two Working Groups (WGs). One of the WGs developed, with input from ANIHWA WP3, and formally submitted a strategic research agenda of short-term needs to the European Commission for consideration when developing H2020 Work Programmes. The other WG updated the EMIDA Strategic Research Agenda to provide a list of the scientific, technological, structural and related needs to prevent control or mitigate health and welfare challenges for the next 20 years. In order to do this, drivers identified in previous foresight exercises were prioritised in an online exercise involving 44 experts from 16 countries across Europe. The experts selected came from a range of disciplines and attended a two-day foresight workshop in Madrid where they; a) considered the implications of the high priority drivers for a range of disease groups and welfare; b) developed scenarios based on two critical uncertainties (the state of human contentedness and the rate of environmental change) and a range of drivers that were prioritised in the earlier on-line exercise and considered their implications in relation to animal welfare and disease challenges and the research needed to protect against these possible futures and c) Considered how to reach a preferred future of “Sustainable livestock production, with healthy animals reared under high welfare standards, disease minimised or rapidly contained, ensuring a safe and secure food supply and economic development”. The challenges and research needs were refined at a further back-casting exercise during a STAR-IDAZ Foresight meeting held in Moscow where regional breakout groups for Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia and Africa considered the preferred future and what is needed in terms of research capability to get from the present situation to the ideal future taking into account the possible challenges identified in the scenarios development exercise.
A mid-term review and networking event for the 26 research projects funded under the EMIDA ERA-Net was held in September 2013 bringing together the coordinators of 25 of the projects as well as representatives of the funding bodies, DG Research and Innovation and DG SANCO. The meeting included oral presentations on the 12 projects funded in Call 1 and posters with short presentations to introduce the projects funded under Call 2. The results of the projects funded under the second call of EMIDA and first call of ANIHWA were presented by the project coordinators at the ANIHWA Final Dissemination Conference in November 2015. Project details and reports are available from the CWG research project database accessible through the CWG website at www.scar-cwg-ahw.org.

Potential Impact:
WP1
ANIHWA Achievements
• The establishment of a strong and friendly Network that will serve the needs of the Commission and Member States in providing comprehensive information on existing research activities and consensus views on future needs and priorities,
• This Network brought together basic research funding agencies as well as ministries and their operational agencies,
• The systematic sharing of information between national programme funders/managers, with the development of comprehensive data bases and web-based tools to analyse situations and trends,
• The development of strategic research agendas (medium and long term) based on shared priorities,
• The development of robust instruments and mechanisms that were used for initiating and delivering joint research calls, which already allowed for the successful delivery of 3 major joint research Calls for a total budget of 31 M €,
• The proposal for the establishment of a stand-alone, sustainable Network infrastructure that will continue beyond the end of EU-supported ERA-Net projects, facilitating long-term cooperation,

General Impacts
The long term objective of the ERA-Net is to enable create a European open network of mutually accessible and complementary research programmes able to respond to the rapidly developing needs of European policy drivers and creating the tools for improved control of the major animal health and animal welfare issues. It will therefore contribute significantly to the European Research Area concept for research on health and welfare of animals by improving the coherence and coordination of research programmes across Europe and the development of joint research calls. It will also bring added value and leverage to the extensive research effort undertaken by Member States' own initiatives which amounts to a total annual budget in excess of €250 million. The existence of the CWG will ensure that the coherent management network established to run the ERA-Net will continue to function beyond the life span of the EU supported project, with an agreed modus operandi and management framework, formalised through a collaboration agreement.

Impact on the Structures of the Animal Health Research Area
ANIHWA ERA-Net already had a significant impact on structuring animal health and welfare research at the European level by:
• The systematic sharing of information between national programme funders/managers.
• The strategic development of a common research agenda based on shared priorities on which joint trans-national activities can be based.
• The development of instruments and mechanisms that will be used for initiating and delivering joint activities, including procedures for responding rapidly in emergency situations.
• The development of an expanded, long-term, sustainable Network infrastructure that will continue beyond the end of EU-supported ERA-Net project, facilitating long-term cooperation.
• The establishment of a Network that serve the needs of the Commission in providing comprehensive information on existing research activities and consensus views on future needs and priorities.

The activities carried out under Work Package 2 allowed to obtain an updated mapping and analysed on existing national research infrastructures and programmes in the field of livestock health and welfare.
The information contained in the Report on the mapped and analysed data and information from national programmes on animal welfare (D2.1), that is publicly available, constituted the basis for several of the ANIHWA project activities, and is of interest for several of the actors in the research field. Firstly, these data served to define the procedure of research call launching for the ANIHWA project, as well as to define the structure of the AWA’ database. The information contained are important to research funders, allowing to perform cross-country comparisons and to assess the evolution of funding and research programmes characteristics in the investigated period. In addition, these would prove useful to European research bodies, allowing to better target future transnational research calls and ERA-Net actions.
The research publication analysis study conducted in Task 2 provides a clear picture of research topic and collaboration evolution on animal health and welfare in Europe over the last 11 years. Two reports are publicly available and contain the results of the analysis that were carried out during the project. In addition, a website was developed (http://www.anihwa.eu/publication-mapping/) to improve the usability of the results, and will be kept online after the project end. The implemented methodology and the sophisticate filtering system that was developed would allow the regular re-updating of this study with reduced resources and in a timely manner. These data ore of great interest to research funders, which can use these to map the performance of the institutions they funds and obtain clear information not only about the publications’ volume, but also about the main topics that are investigated and their alignment with the existing national and international research agendas. Two scientific articles, one concerning the methodology implemented to develop the system and another one showing detailed results about research collaborations, are in preparation to disseminate the results to the scientific community. Information about what topics are studied by the various institutions across Europe would be useful to researchers to identify new possible collaborations, while data about research topic evolution over the years would help in identifying research trends. An article was published on the Journal of the Italian Veterinary Federation (30 Giorni), which is distributed to all veterinarians in Italy, in December 2105, showing the performances of the Italian research bodies funded by the Ministry of Health (the Istituti Zooprofilattici Sperimentali) in animal health and welfare research, to build knowledge about their performances and new research trends.
The Web Application developed in Task 3 (AWA’) would benefit all stakeholders in the research area. Firstly, researchers will be able to retrieve, directly from a unique database, the information about available research call and programmes issued by national funding bodies across Europe, easing the access to research funding also on an international level. Nonetheless, research funders will the ones having the highest benefit from using the system, since they would get awareness of the timeframe and topics covered by research programmes issued by other countries/organisation. This will allow them to plan the launch of common transnational calls, merging programmes/calls having similar topics, which would end up in the funding of project having higher budgets and higher profile. Lastly, being aware of the research topics being funded in the other countries would ease the preparation and delivery of research agendas, that could then by harmonised across the various countries. The AWA’ will be taken over by the Collaborative Working Group for Animal Health and Welfare research, which will provide visibility to the system and increase the number of its users.
The research gaps identified in the report “Identification of research drivers emerging from the drafting of the new Animal Health Law and other EU actions” (D2.5) served to better prioritise research in the second ANIHWA joint research call. Moreover, this preliminary analysis supported the actions of the other ANIHWA work-packages, easing the process to provide a valid playground to stimulate innovation and scientific research on animal health and welfare. The report, which is publicly available on the ANIHWA project website, would be of interest to funding bodies being interested in the development of national of transnational research agendas, and would support in the identification of both research gaps and priorities (both in terms of topics and emerging diseases).
ANIHWA Work Package 3 has delivered a gap analysis on animal health and welfare research topics based on published consensus documents on research needs within animal health and welfare, including deliverables from DISCONTOOLS, EMIDA, ETPGAH, EAWP and EFSA, followed by a questionnaire survey for prioritization of research topics arising from the gap analysis.
The objective of the questionnaire survey was to provide a basis for prioritization of research topics for future ANIHWA calls and to provide input for a workshop dedicated to identify common animal health and welfare research questions, including synergistic effects between animal health and welfare.
Responders of the questionnaire were stakeholders identified among farmer organisations, industry, international organisations and NGO-organisations and from academia (European OIE reference laboratories) and veterinary authorities (European CVO offices).
A revised list of questions and a renewed lay-out of questions for animal health was incorporated in the survey software SurveyMonkey and forwarded successively to two focus groups (staff at the DTU-Vet and WG3+NMG member of ANIHWA).
The questionnaire had 3 major sections: 1) Animal health (infectious diseases), 2) Production diseases and 3) animal welfare. It was constructed so as to allow responders to omit sections they did not want to answer.
On basis of gap-analyses, questionnaire, workshop, and a final prioritization exercise within the ANIHWA consortium, a Joint Research Framework (JRF) was developed. The JRF has been used as a basis for the third joint ANIHWA call for research projects and used as input for promoting synergy in animal health and animal welfare research in parallel with the long term foresight activities carried out in ANIHWA work package 5.
A model showing relations between animal health and welfare, and describing relations between infectious diseases and production diseases as a continuum, was developed by the work package members.
A horizontal model was also developed as a basis to describe gaps in relation to infectious diseases. The results from the JFR and the 2 models were presented at the ANIHWA dissemination conference.
In the frame of Work Package 4, three implemented calls allowed the funders to invest in research projects, which are of common interest for the funders involved and for the applicants. The calls, therefore, served to foster cooperation between different member states and to generate added value for the research in question. The overall impact of the work package lies therefore in the implementation of the call procedure, which includes the evaluation of proposals and the publication of the final list of the selected transnational projects to be funded.
The funder participation proved to be similar across the three calls. The large number of applicants (657 during the 1st ANIHWA call, 535 during the 2nd ANIHWA call, 540 during the 3rd ANIHWA call) for the three calls reflects the high researchers’ interest in the ANIHWA topics, but also demonstrates an ample transnational dissemination of the calls by the funders through different national and transnational channels like newsletters and websites. However, the number of applicants decreased slightly from the first to the third call, as did the number of submitted pre-proposals (115 pre-proposals submitted for the 1st call; 101 for the 2nd and 82 for the 3rd ANIHWA call). The reason for that may lie in the topics announced. The topics of the first two calls were identical (Topic 1: Animal Health and Welfare; Topic 2: Diagnosis incl. Vaccination; Topic 3: Emerging & Exotic Diseases; Topic 4: Antibiotic and Anthelmintic Resistance), this might be the reason why some applicants did not apply a second time (from the first call to the second call). For the third call the consortium agreed on different topics, which were more specific than the ones from the first two calls (Topic 1: Disease control and surveillance; Topic 2: Production diseases; Topic 3: Animal welfare). The fact that the topics were more specific automatically reduced the group of interested applicants, and consequently the number of submitted pre-proposals as well.
Due to a change in the procedure after the first call - by adding a peer review in the pre-proposal stage - fewer consortia were invited to submit a full proposal. Apart from a higher success rate for the applicants this amendment facilitated the procedure for all parties involved.
The total number of funded projects per call was between 10 and 11. The respective grants ranged from € 9.3 Mio to € 11.4 Mio. out of an initial total budget allocated by the participating funders from € 14 Mio. for the first, € 11 Mio. for the second and € 10 Mio. for the third call.
The topic “diagnostics incl. vaccination” turned out to be the most popular topic in the first two calls, leading to the highest number of applications, whereas “antibiotic & anthelmintic resistance” and “production diseases” had the fewest applications.
The lists of funded projects with detailed information on research area, theme and participants were published right after the selection on the submission platform (https://www.anihwa-submission-era.net/home). No final conclusion can be made concerning the impact of the funded research projects, since the projects are on-going and by now only first midterm reports were submitted. However, the coordinators of 7 research projects funded under the ANIHWA first Call, presented their preliminary results at the Final Dissemination Conference (Paris, 25th 26th November 2015).
Apart from the scientific, policy and budgetary advantages of the implementation of common calls, the work of WP4 implied several additional aspects e.g. improvement of the submission platform and tools, which had a positive impact on the call procedure as such.
The four different tasks of the work package were specifically chosen to implement the calls in an optimal way, but also to make continuous improvements along the whole procedure in order to facilitate collaboration. A Document Management System was set up and used successfully for drafting the priority topics list on animal health and welfare for the third call. The system allows an easy and fast exchange of documents, improved communication and speeded up document updates. Documents were thus shared very conveniently between the ANIHWA consortium members or any other stakeholders.
During the whole project period, the submission platform and tools and the procedure have been continuously revised and upgraded in order to meet the needs of all parties involved in the call process. This made the processes of the application, evaluation and monitoring more user-friendly.
In the frame of Work Package 5, the development of agreed governance documents for the CWG AHW will ensure that the foundations laid through ANIHWA will continue to be built upon and further developed through the CWG AHW which not only coordinates public animal health and welfare research funding but also aligns these programmes to those of the livestock industry and the activities of international organisations to ensure a linked-up, more focused approach to addressing common challenges and transfer of knowledge to farmers. This promotes more efficient use of resources and avoidance of duplication to accelerate the development of disease control tools and improved welfare standards.
Foresight exercises conducted under ANIHWA led to the development of a European Strategic Research Agenda for Animal Health and Welfare which will be useful in research prioritisation and identification of potential future threats to ensure preparedness. Maintenance of the SRA through the CWG AHW will also help to ensure capacity to meet possible future challenges.
The CWG AHW participating in the STAR-IDAZ Global Network for Animal Health Research as the European Regional Network and the resulting exchange of information is important in helping Europe prepare for the many infectious diseases of animals such as avian influenza that show no respect for borders.

List of Websites:
www.anihwa.eu

Related information

Contact

BERNARD COQUET, (Directeur des Services Administratifs)
Tel.: +331 34 65 20 32
Fax: +331 34 65 20 88
E-mail
Record Number: 187838 / Last updated on: 2016-08-18
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