Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - CEAF (Stimulating participation of Central Europe Agri-Food Sector in the FP6)

The New Member States (NMS) in Central Europe had extensive experience and scientific expertise in cultivating fruit and flowers. Leading-edge skills included biotechnology, plant protection and environmental sustainability. They also had a more traditional know-how about bee-keeping, plant pollination, fruit tree research, and fruit processing. Nevertheless, the pursuit of scientific programmes had been hampered by a shortage of funding. So collaboration by research institutes in these countries could be mutually beneficial if they were to participate in European research in the 'Food quality and safety' (FQ&S) priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). However, central European countries had little or no experience of how the European research community works, how to identify available support, and how to submit proposals.

The answer was to mobilise help from existing Member States (MS) through a new European Commission (EC) Specific Support Action (SSA), CEAF. It involved experts from the EC and the Netherlands, and research institutes and Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the flower and fruit sector from Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary and Estonia.

The main objective of the CEAF project was to create synergy for virtual networking and strengthening cooperation in the area of FQ&S with partners from NMS contributing to the creation of the European Research Area (ERA) in Central Europe.

To achieve the general objective the following specific objectives should be fulfilled:
- Organisation of a series of profiled workshops only in NMS. They would involve researchers from MS, adapted to real needs of participants.
- Ensuring transfer of best practices, knowledge and experience by experts and coordination from MS.
- Preparation for establishing Networks of Excellence in FQ&S in bridging NMS with the assistance of MS.
- Selection of the most active companies from the sector of FQ&S in Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary, and Estonia and to define their profiles: strengths, weaknesses and needs.
- Definition and development of new ideas for possible projects.
- Provision of assistance during the establishment consortia (partner search, summaries of project ideas, consultancy, Intellectual property rights (IPR) aspects, etc.).
- Provision of assistance during the proposal preparation phase.
- Promotion of constructive international networking and partnership in the areas of FQ&S.

A successfully achieved outcome of the consultancy days organized in each of the NMS was a collection of 50 project ideas. A need arose to establish a tool for the online registration of project ideas. Due to this fact a new facility was created for the interested clients (please see online), where there is a tool for submitting CEAF expression of interest.

The CEAF Consortium also prepared a catalogue and a compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) disk containing a collection of partner profiles from the most active researchers and SMEs in the agri-food sector from the CEAF partnering countries. The aim of the work done in producing the catalogue and CD-ROM disk was to encourage all European partners to increase their awareness and cooperation with the excellent institutions in those countries for wider collaboration in the future under Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in order to create a real ERA.

The scope of the CEAF project was wide and therefore additional partner profiles from counties like France, Germany, Israel and Ukraine were submitted using the online partner search registration.

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