Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: Due to the increasing demand for animal derived food and the mounting pressure over land use, further intensification and expansion of animal production is expected. Development of the livestock sector at EU and global level is challenging as it puts pressure on the environment, human health and the welfare of animals within the systems. Climate change is an additional pressure to the sustainability (e.g. productivity, health) of livestock systems. Increasing efficiency is required, while decreasing the environmental footprint and increasing quality, e.g. nutritional value. Livestock farming systems generate valuable products for human consumption including some from resources that cannot otherwise be converted into food (e.g. grass-based systems). They support the development of rural communities. Extensive livestock systems can contribute to the management and maintenance of ecosystems and may increase biodiversity.

Means to improve sustainability and productivity of terrestrial livestock systems need to be sought through breeding, nutrition and health. New phenotypes linked to sustainable animal productivity could be developed and integrated into breeding schemes. Precision feeding could increase production efficiency by adapting accurately the needs and the delivery of feed to individual animals. The development of new or alternative feeds, in particular as protein sources, has the potential to minimise reliance on imports and increase European self-sufficiency. Livestock diseases reduce the efficiency of animal production and they have a major impact in terms of economic costs and animal welfare. Vaccination can be an efficient way to control diseases and to reduce the use of antimicrobials. Deeper knowledge is required to develop safer, cheaper, novel, multivalent and more efficient vaccines.

Farming systems need to be (re)designed in a holistic manner to best reconcile the various demands concerning productivity, sustainability and societal values, for now and the future.

Scope: Proposals should address the following issues (B):

B. [2014] Tackling losses from terrestrial animal diseases

The goal is to better understand the interaction between the immune system of swine, poultry and ruminants and their specific pathogens, in particular pathogens associated with high production losses and to develop innovative and multivalent vaccines taking into account the individual variability in vaccine responsiveness and different developmental stages. Both the use of current and new vaccine vectors (including DNA & DIVA vaccines) could be foreseen together with novel and easy-to-use delivery systems and efficient adjuvants with the aim of fostering an earlier onset of protection and a longer duration of immunity. New biomarkers and phenotypes would be valuable to help breeding strategies for increased disease resistance.

Proposals should develop at least two vaccines at the demonstration level and address at least poultry and/or swine, and/or ruminants. Involvement of the animal pharmaceutical industry is expected to translate the finding into marketable products. Significant SME involvement should be ensured. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation and in particular with the implementation of the EU-China dialogue, proposals are encouraged to include third country participants, especially those established in China[1].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 7–9 million for (B) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:

·         New efficiency traits to be incorporated into breeding schemes of various farm species enabling selection of animals more adapted to environmental changes

·         Make Europe frontrunner in re-use of by-products and protein rich resources for feed

·         Minimize risk to public health by preventing and controlling animal diseases and reducing the use of antibiotics in the “One health” perspective

·         Increased level of animal welfare

·         Increased efficiency and profitability of animal agriculture

·         Improved overall sustainability and innovative capacity of the livestock sector

·         Increased societal acceptance

Type of action: Research and innovation actions


[1] This is without prejudice to the general rules on the funding of legal entities from third-countries, as set in part A of the annex to the work programme.

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