Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Strengthening links in the food industry

European funding provided the food industry with a roadmap for integration of new and potential members of the EU.
Strengthening links in the food industry
The development capacity of Associated Candidate Countries (ACCs) and New Member States (NMSs) in the EU will only reach its optimum if industrial sectors network efficiently. One interesting model as to how to achieve this was performed by the Foodlink project.

Pertaining to the food industry in particular, the overall aim of Foodlink was to promote the participation of researchers and industry in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The idea was to give information on the coordination of projects and advice on how to cooperate with leading institutions in the EU. Information on past EU projects was also available as a guide to what exactly can be achieved.

Information days were held in different ACCs and NMSs. Opportunities with FP6 past and future projects were organised for researchers, businesses – small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular – and other stakeholders. Foodlink produced leaflets based on each information day and available in all relevant languages.

On a more global basis, a Foodlink website includes a database of ACC institutions active in the food industry which can supply future partners for research collaboration. A comprehensive list of projects involving ACCs and NMSs is also accessible.

Information days including individual consultations and promotions increased the level of dissemination of food-linked data, being tailored to the individual needs of the participants. Moreover, based on previous results, the food industry will be better equipped to map out a fruitful research direction.

Foodlink results have supplied the framework of a model as to how to integrate new countries or institutions into an established system. The principles can be extended to other scenarios where competencies need to be gained to take full advantage of membership of an umbrella organisation, from a business cooperative to a structure such as the EU.

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