Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AUTHENT-NET Report Summary

Project ID: 696371
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AUTHENT-NET (AUTHENT-NET – Food Authenticity Research Network)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The legacy of the horsemeat scandal in 2013 has resulted in the launch of several major initiatives to counter food fraud and assure the integrity of the food supply chain. DG SANTE has established a Food Fraud Network of competent authorities involved in identifying and communicating food fraud issues between Member States (MSs). Industry and Government are involved in a number of initiatives aimed at providing cost-effective procedures for assuring the integrity of the food supply chain.
One area yet to be developed is cohesion of research activities between MSs. Currently there is a lack of accessibility and knowledge of the work of other MSs, potentially leading to duplication of effort at a time when national research budgets are diminishing and under increasing scrutiny.
The Authent-Net Concerted Action was devised following early dialogue with national funding bodies through a survey and workshop prior to the proposal being written. From those results it was clear there would be immediate benefits in just bringing the funding bodies together to share experiences and establish networks. Very few of the attendees at the workshop were aware of each other and the only collaborations were through existing EU activities such as SUSFOOD www.susfood-db-era.net . In addition, participants identified that much would be gained by merely providing an inventory of current information on what has been done, where and by whom in terms of MS R&D. Another conclusion was that there was very little strategic R&D taking place (UK was the exception), with most of the research being prioritised annually on a reactive basis. Leveraging was seen as a key method for MSs to maximise their budgets, and also as a means of having a more strategic element to their programmes. While there would be challenges in establishing joint priorities, this could be done by grouping areas (by sector or problem or both) and having sub-groups of funding bodies with similar needs, e.g., seafood, meat, spices, oils, etc.
Urgent needs identified from a food authenticity control/detection perspective included; better harmonisation and sharing of research activity at an EU level to support issues around standardisation of methods (i.e. ‘fit for purpose methods’), improved access to reference standards, databases, reference materials and sharing of tools available for detection. An EU network on food authenticity research was acknowledged as the best way forward. A key issue that needed to be addressed was not just what was required but how it could be delivered. Some kind of research portal was required and would bring immediate benefits to funding bodies in providing greater visibility and knowledge of other research activities.
The overall conclusion was that: there was a clear need to bring the national funding bodies together, explore the overall funding landscape, the state of the art, investigate joint funding mechanisms and priorities, and develop best practice. The aim of Authent-Net is to fulfil that need.
Authent-Net’s overall objective is to facilitate sustainable cooperation between national and international research funding bodies in the area of food authenticity, to improve the competitiveness of the food supply chain and the consumer confidence in it, by means of better co-ordinated , cost effective R&D.
The specific objectives of the Authent-Net action are to:
• build a network of Member State research funding bodies, to increase knowledge transfer and facilitate transnational co-operation;
• develop an openly available harmonised set of terms and definitions for use in food authenticity that will help transnational discussion and stocktaking;
• “map” out food authenticity in Europe and undertake stocktaking and analysis of existing data (e.g., national research projects, methods, commodities, databases, regulations, etc.) in the area of food authenticity, with a view of developing synergies and contacts amongst competent organi

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"Authent-Net has made significant progress in its first year of the project. It has brought together national funding bodies/representatives from 11 MSs who are all keen to work more closely together. This has been achieved through a combination of direct invitation from the Authent-Net team as well as, crucially, invitations from some of the funding bodies themselves. In addition to building this cohesion, the project has already:

• expanded the network of national bodies from 4 to 11;
• ""mapped"" out the national food authenticity activities within 11 Member States;
• developed a secure forum for the funders to have confidential discussions;
• co-designed, with the funding bodies, a comprehensive information portal specifically for their use;
• held two international workshops to expand the network and discuss common issues;
• produced the Authent-Net website www.authent-net.eu/
• initiated a European standardisation process (CEN Workshop Agreement) for a common set of terms for food authenticity;
• held discussions with funding bodies and the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) committee about the possibility of an ERANET co-fund proposal being submitted to SCAR in 2018."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The collation and consolidation of 11 National Status Reports and 3 Commodity Status Reports is already providing enlightening information on national research activities within Europe. A unique secure discussion forum, specifically for the funding bodies, has been produced and is in use. By the end of the project an analysis of the gaps and synergies across Europe will have been conducted and a joint research agenda produced. An interactive hub, specifically customized for national funding body use will be available, allowing funders to quickly ascertain who, is funding what, and when, on any particular food authenticity topic within Europe. It will also provide them with contact details of their counterparts in other Member States, a breakdown of the areas of interest, an overview of the funding agencies in a particular Member State, links to methods, reports, projects, etc.

Impact
The Concerted Action will affect several types of stakeholders through a range of activities, outputs and tools. An overarching key benefit of the Authent-Net CSA will be a joined up and coherent approach across the EU to tackle common priorities such as improved detection of food fraud, to better protect the consumer, to share knowledge, to maximise the use of authentic databases, expertise and resources, and to reduce duplication of efforts in a budget constrained world.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top