Proposals should build on state-of-the-art research insights from EU and other funded projects in this field, with a specific focus on nutrition, quality and food safety (from harvesting to the final products). They should aim to generate new knowledge to develop commercial solutions for improving the socio-economic and environmental sustainability of the seafood production and processing industry, while also contributing to product quality and safety. Activities should directly aim to produce plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. For this purpose they may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, and large-scale product validation, all with a view to paving the way for subsequent market replication and uptake by consumers. Proposals may take into account impacts across different locations and population segments, as well as the specificities of different types of seafood, also in terms of nutrition. Work is expected to benefit from the contribution of social sciences wherever applicable. Where relevant, proposals should address gender-specific aspects, and the gender dimension in the research content shall be taken into account[[See definition of the 'gender approach' in the introduction of this Work Programme part (see text box).]]. Aspects of traceability, authentication and certification of EU seafood products and labels of quality should be conveniently addressed. The participation of SMEs that will benefit from the intellectual property and/or from the commercial use of the project outcomes is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Projects funded under this topic will by default participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020, with the option to opt-out, as described in the introduction.
The seafood[['Seafood' comprises marine and fresh water biological resources (as defined in the Common Fisheries Policy) from both fisheries and aquaculture.]] production and processing industry contributes substantially to food security, employment and trade in regions where the activity takes place. To safeguard and strengthen this and make the activity more sustainable, seafood production should be market-driven and consumer-responsive, addressing challenges such as increasing consumer awareness of food quality and safety traceability and animal welfare. Ensuring the sustainability of the seafood processing industry involves not only innovative technologies that could mitigate production hazards and environmental damage but also securing its economic viability and taking account of the consumer imperatives behind them. One way of ensuring the sustainable production and processing of nutritious and safe seafood products is through the demonstration and first application in the market of eco-innovative, sustainable processing solutions of marine and aquaculture-derived food products and nutrients.
To contribute to EU food safety common standards and legislation for seafood products and nutrients, proposals are expected to:
- Ensure that eco-innovative solutions for the sustainable production and processing of marine and aquaculture-derived food products and nutrients are used more widely, as a result of greater user acceptance, higher visibility of innovative solutions and the creation of scalable markets.
- Improve the competitiveness of the EU seafood sector, and increase opportunities for growth, diversification and job creation for the sector in general and SMEs in particular.
- Benefit consumers by allowing them to make better-informed seafood choices.
- Increase the availability of healthier, safer and high quality seafood, which will improve consumers' diet and health.
- Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.