With the safety of meat having been a particular concern in Europe in recent years, the EU is funding a two year specific support action (SSA) to monitor and promote good quality meat production in the new Member States The project QUALITYMEAT also aims to encourage the new Member States to increase their participation in the EU framework programmes, focusing in particular on topics such as disease detection and treatment, animal nutrition and breeding. Speaking to CORDIS News, Anna Pytko, project coordinator and deputy director of the National Contact Point (NCP) Poland, explained that QUALITYMEAT has had to slightly change its focus. 'At first the final objective of the project had been to increase participation of the new Member States in FP6 [the Sixth Framework Programme]. But because of delays in procedures [...] the project will have to focus its activities more on FP7 as we have missed the deadlines for a number of calls,' she explained. The partners, which comprise Austria, Italy and France from the old Member States; Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Cyprus from the new Member States; as well as Romania and Bulgaria, will create a database of the research centres and their qualified staff in the participating new Member States and candidate countries working in the field of animal health and poultry and pork production. As Ms Pytko explained, the database will contain information on the profile of the researchers, contact details and specialisations, as well as project ideas and training requirements. 'The database will cover around 200 researchers and help to generate partner searches,' Ms Pytko told CORDIS News. Another objective, explained Ms Pytko, is to organise three information days to introduce the project and explain what exactly a framework programme is, what falls under the food quality and safety priority, and how to look for partners 'The first of these info days was organised by one of the project partners in Bucharest, Romania, in September. The second one, will be held in conjunction with an international veterinary conference called 'Health safety, quality and price as the basis for successful pork export', to be held in Pulawy, Poland from 7 to 8 June. This conference is a major event in Poland, with 700 to 800 participants expected, said Ms Pytko. The date for the third info day has not yet been fixed, but it will be held either in Bulgaria, Slovakia or Hungary, added Ms Pytko As Ms Pytko explained, two information sessions will take place during the conference, as well as brokerage events in parallel. The information sessions will help to promote new Member States' research potential in the field by presenting the various existing possibilities to take part in future calls in the food area. The brokerage events will be an occasion for researchers and industry to meet, exchange project ideas and build FP6 project consortia. Participants will look into topics such as the total food chain, traceability along the production chain, animal welfare, methods of analysis, detection and control and the role of animal feed, all contributing to safer and healthier food production. This event will be the opportunity to promote QUALITYMEAT and its objectives. 'These events will enable scientists working in similar research fields to meet with researchers from different countries. This will be the opportunity for participants from new Member States to meet and discuss between themselves, but also with researchers preparing EU projects from France, Italy and Austria,' explained Ms Pytko. 'We have a budget to cover the participation of 16 European scientists and are looking for active and experienced researchers who want to take part in projects with scientists from the new Member States, Romania and Bulgaria. We hope some will be able to submit proposals for the two calls that are still open under FP6,' concluded Ms Pytko.