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Multiannual research and development programme (EEC) in food science and technology (FLAIR), 1989-1993

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 4.2: "Agro-Industrial Technologies".

The programme relates to four successful COST actions in the field of food science and technology. Intended to complement existing initiatives in Member States through the development of further collaborative linkages between different research groups and industries, it concentrates on the interface between food processing, food distribution and the consumer.

The programme is subject to the condition that it should not have adverse effects on public health or the environment or pose problems for the protection and enhancement of nature.
To enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe's food industry and increase consumer protection and confidence by improving the safety, nutritional value, wholesomeness and diversity of food through a reinforcement of the industry's scientific and technological infrastructure, including better process control and a reduction in the level of harmful residues.
Three sectors :

- Assessment and enhancement of food quality and diversity:
Emphasis on physical measurement techniques, such as nuclear magnetic resonance, infra-red spectroscopy and glass- liquid chromatography, and on biological procedures, such as immunological techniques and bio-sensors;

- Food hygiene, safety and toxicological aspects:
To develop new safety evaluation techniques in the field of food microbiology and toxicology, such as the prediction of micro-organism growth rates, which would be useful in connection with novel food processes;

- Nutrition and wholesomeness aspects:
To overcome processing difficulties in reducing the levels of some ingredients (such as fats, sugars and salt) in formulated foods by replacing them with others having similar or better functional properties but greater nutritional value.
The Commission is responsible for implementing the programme by means of concertation activities, shared-cost actions and training/mobility grants. It is assisted by the Committee of an Advisory Nature on ECLAIR and FLAIR (CANEF), which is composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

Participation in concerted actions is open to all Member States, to European third countries which have concluded framework agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with the Community, and to COST-participating states.

Shared-cost research contracts are awarded following a selection procedure based on calls for proposals. They are open to industrial enterprises (including SMEs), research institutions, universities or combinations of them, which are established in the Community or in the European third countries which have concluded framework agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with the Community. As a general rule, research institutes and universities must participate in a group together with one or more industrial organizations. The Community may normally bare up to 50% of total expenditure or, where universities and research institutes are involved, up to 100% of the marginal costs.

Training/mobility grants are intended to facilitate the assembly of relevant skills at appropriate project locations and to promote effective diffusion of the resultant knowledge. The programme also includes coordination activities, such as the organization of meetings, consultation with national experts and studies on related topics, such as the structural and social effects of applying the programme results.

The contracts entered into by the Commission regulate the rights and obligations of each party and, in particular, the methods of disseminating, protecting and exploiting the research results. Special attention is paid to dissemination of the programme results in order to maximize the effects of the work and allow all enterprises, particularly SMEs, in all regions of the Community, including the less-favoured ones, to benefit directly.

During the third year of implementation, the Commission will review the programme and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. A final report on the results achieved, as evaluated by independent experts, will subsequently be submitted.