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Research Infrastructures: Adding Value to European Aquaculture Industry

The EC-funded AQUAEXCEL project hosted a successful workshop entitled "Research Infrastructures: adding value to European aquaculture industry” on Friday 17 October 2014 at the Aquaculture Europe 2014 conference in San Sebastian, Spain.

AQUAEXCEL (Aquaculture infrastructures for excellence in European fish research) is an EC FP7-funded project working to integrate key aquaculture research infrastructures across Europe in order to promote their coordinated use and development. The project’s focus is on further improving the efficiency of aquaculture production and supporting European research activities in this area. The workshop focused on presenting the achievements and results of the AQUAEXCEL project as they have strong potential to positively contribute to the enhancement of aquaculture in Europe, and are demonstrably beneficial to the European aquaculture industry. During the event, researchers from AQUAEXCEL’s joint research and Transnational Access (TNA) components presented their findings to an audience primarily drawn from industry. The AQUAEXCEL TNA programme enabled research groups to utilise the facilities of participating aquaculture Research Infrastructures to undertake experimental trials on a selection of commercially important fish aquaculture species and system types. The event was organised by the project’s Dissemination and Knowledge Management partner, AquaTT. The workshop was jointly presented by the project’s coordinator, Marc Vandeputte (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)), and Marieke Reuver (AquaTT). Marieke Reuver said: “The specific focus of this AQUAEXCEL workshop was on project results of value to the aquaculture industry and SMEs, and how they can exploit these outputs for commercial benefit. At all stages in the AQUAEXCEL project we have consistently generated results which are of high value to the aquaculture industry in Europe. This workshop provided an opportunity for us to showcase this progress. It also provided a forum for researchers and industry representatives to discuss mutual interests as well as future opportunities for collaboration.” More than 140 people attended the event, which featured dynamic and engaging discussions broadly focusing on the interconnectedness of research and industry, and the opportunities for both to collaborate and play a part in Europe’s quest to produce high quality seafood with reduced environmental impact. Marc Vandeputte, AQUAEXCEL Project Coordinator, said: “The success of this workshop demonstrates the keen interest on both sides to strengthen ties between top class research and industry.” Results of value to the aquaculture industry that were presented and discussed during the workshop included descriptions of new aquaculture research tools and methodologies developed through the project, such as: new tools to easily evaluate chronic stress in farmed fish; guidelines on sizing research structures to ensure that results are applicable to industrial scales; and prototype electronic infrastructures (e-infrastructures) which enable interchange of data and remote operation of aquaculture research facilities over the internet. Research carried out under the AQUAEXCEL TNA programme was also highlighted in a series of three minute presentations by TNA participants. The findings presented were then discussed with a panel of industry experts and the audience. Topics that sparked debate included research relating to fish feed studies examining the substitution of fish oil with alternative ingredients such as hazelnut oil. For more information about the AQUAEXCEL project, please visit: www.aquaexcel.eu Notes for Editors AQUAEXCEL will run until February 2015 with an overall budget of €11.8 million. The project will receive a total of €9.2 million of EC funding under the ‘Research Infrastructures' area of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). AQUAEXCEL is coordinated by France’s Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA). AquaTT is the project’s communications and dissemination partner. For press queries, please contact: Marieke Reuver, Programme Manager, AquaTT, Dublin, Ireland, email: marieke@aquatt.ie web: www.aquatt.ie

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