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Successful Collaboration Unites European Aquaculture Research Infrastructures

After four years of fruitful collaboration, the AQUAEXCEL (Aquaculture infrastructures for excellence in European fish research) project has fulfilled its strategic objectives to integrate key aquaculture research infrastructures across Europe in order to promote their coordinated use and development.

AQUAEXCEL is an EC-funded project which focuses on further improving the efficiency of aquaculture production and supporting European research activities in this area. AQUAEXCEL’s integration of key partners and top class aquaculture research infrastructures across Europe has resulted in a number of innovative and highly original research projects. The fourth and final annual meeting of AQUAEXCEL took place in Benicàssim, Spain, from 4-6 February 2015, and was hosted by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). Marc Vandeputte, AQUAEXCEL Project Coordinator, said: 'We are now at the end of the project, and this is the perfect time for analysing AQUAEXCEL’s impact on the individual, organisational, and scientific level, and to see how the project has contributed to the evolution of European Research Infrastructures and our approach to aquaculture science.' A special session of the meeting focused on the AQUAEXCEL Transnational Access (TNA) programme. 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. In total, 97 TNA projects were granted over the course of the project. Several researchers who had availed of the TNA Calls for Access also presented their research results at the meeting. As this meeting concluded AQUAEXCEL’s four year contribution to the European aquaculture sector, the consortium considered options for future collaboration, strategic planning, and sustainability to ensure the legacy of the project and the continued impact of the results achieved. The researcher’s involved in AQUAEXCEL are eager to continue to contribute to the growth of the European aquaculture sector through their industry applicable research. “One of the major features of this project is its real multi-disciplinary approach, which broadens the landscape of the participating researchers. Certainly, we have started creating a community of aquaculture researchers, which has widened through new connections gained by Transnational Access. We really hope to further build and capitalise on this innovative and dedicated aquaculture research community, and to continue to support the development of the European aquaculture sector,” said Vandeputte. For more information about the AQUAEXCEL project, please visit: Notes for Editors AQUAEXCEL will run until the end of February 2015 with an overall budget of €11.8 million. The project will receive a total of €9.2 million of EU funding under the ‘Research Infrastructures' area of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), reflecting the EU’s interest in prioritising aquaculture and boosting the aquaculture sector by promoting research for competitiveness and environmental sustainability. AQUAEXCEL is coordinated by France’s Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) which leads a strong partnership of sixteen institutions from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK. AquaTT is the project’s communications and dissemination partner. The key results from the AQUAEXCEL project and research carried out under the TNA programme are available in a series of Key Achievements booklets, which can be downloaded via the project’s website: For press queries, please contact: Marieke Reuver, Programme Manager, AquaTT, Dublin, Ireland. Email:


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom