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ERANETs in agri-food (ERA-NET-Cofund ERA-NET Cofund) - SFS-31-2019
Deadline: Jan 23, 2019  

 Fisheries and Food
 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Natural Resources
 Waste Management
 International Cooperation
 Aerospace Technology
 Climate Sciences
 Project Development
 Internet of Things (IoT)

Specific Challenge:

The agri-food sector is subject to multiple external pressures, such as rising demand for food, competition for land and other natural resources with other biomass uses, globalisation, threats from animal or plant diseases, environmental changes and public health considerations. This implies the need to become more efficient and sustainable; improve its impact on consumer health; take advantage of new technological developments; and become more transparent and responsive to consumer demands, within a food-system approach.


Proposals should address one or more of the following sub-topics (A) to (C) and should clearly indicate to which one they refer.

A. [2019] ICT-enabled agri-food systems

Today, despite increased information demand from consumers and food chain players alike, Europe's food businesses and farmers are slow at adopting digital technologies. This is due in part to the inherent complexities of relevant products and processes, and in part to the dynamically changing open network organisation of the food sector with its multitude of SMEs, its cultural diversity, its differences in expectations and in the ability to serve transparency needs. The agri-food sector needs to take more advantage of the potential of digital technologies. Relevant technologies may include Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data technologies, remote and localised sensing. This sub-topic will engage the agri-food community in supporting the development of solutions to remove the barriers to adoption of digital technologies, taking a multi-actor approach across different supply chains (conventional and organic) from farm to fork. These solutions will be targeted to supporting third party development of a variety of digital technologies which can take advantage of, integrate with, and complement the standardisation efforts and platform developments in other Horizon 2020, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and regionally/nationally-funded projects. In addition, this sub-topic will support the development of new data-driven ICT platforms and solutions which derive value for multiple actors from the data collected throughout the food chain, thereby enabling new business models which will increase the affordability and adoption of such solutions, reduce the environmental footprint, increase system resilience, and empower consumers. Interregional and international cooperation will be encouraged and complementarity with other ERA-NETs will be ensured throughout the project development stages by means of active collaboration and communication. When relevant, projects should consider synergies with the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platform on Agri-food (TSSP-AF) and related interregional partnerships under the Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3).

B. [2019] Climate change and food systems

Proposals under this sub-topic will aim at developing climate-resilient and sustainable value chains for food systems. In particular they will assess risks and vulnerabilities of food systems faced with climate change, thereby offering low carbon footprint solutions (technological and/or non-technological) to increase resilience and sustainability. Specific focus will be put on the socio-economic impacts of climate change on different food chains, price volatility and the territorial dimension on access to accessible and nutritious foodstuffs. Complementarity with SusFood ERA-NETs will be ensured throughout the project development stages.

C. [2019] International veterinary vaccinology

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective prevention strategies for controlling and eliminating infectious diseases of animals. Despite recent successes there are still diseases for which there are either no vaccines or where current vaccines lack optimal efficacy. New and improved vaccines have been identified as an important component in strategies to reduce reliance on antimicrobials. In most cases the lack of vaccines is because classical methods of generating vaccines have failed or the current market situation does not justify the cost of their development. While the induction of immunological memory is fundamental to vaccines we still do not have a clear understanding of how best to design vaccines that drive long-lasting and protective memory responses. It is also possible that technological advances would make the development of vaccines more economically viable. Addressing current challenges will require international collaboration, not least for infectious diseases that do not respect country borders and are threats to EU animal production and trade, and in a number of cases, to public health. The ERA-NET will pool resources and expertise to increase knowledge on immunology and to develop novel tools and generic technology platforms for producing novel and/or improved vaccines that are applicable to specific livestock sectors and/or diseases. Areas of particular interest include vaccine delivery systems and thermo-stabilisation. Vaccines for regulated diseases, in particular an efficient and safe vaccine against highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses and its companion DIVA test, will be part of the activities developed. Industry engagement in projects selected under the ERA-Net is encouraged. The projects selected should follow the policies and contribute to the objectives of the STAR-IDAZ international research consortium.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 6 million for sub-topic A) and 5 million for sub-topics B) and C), respectively, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Improve coordination between national and EU funding and ensure better use of resources in the priority research areas above [A, B, C];
  • Reduce the environmental footprint of the sector by reducing inputs and waste [A, B].
  • Realise the potential of ICT and digital technologies to share data throughout the food value chain, thereby driving greater sustainability, offering new business models and helping to empower consumers to make smarter, more sustainable, healthier and more personal food and dietary choices, taking into account data regarding environmental impact, origin, nutrition, safety, integrity, etc., underpinned by the concept of transparency [A];
  • Integrate effectively with major digital platforms from food actors, ICT solution providers and consumers [A];
  • Develop innovative solutions to cope with the multiple risks and challenges to the food systems posed by global environmental changes [B];
  • Provide new generic tools and systems to design and develop new or improved vaccines, including better preparedness to react to emerging diseases [C];
  • Improve control of specific infectious diseases, including highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, by translating key knowledge on host and pathogen interaction into pathways for new/improved vaccines [C];
  • Improve collaboration with international initiatives to promote coherence and the applicability of research to preventive tools in order to control animal diseases [C].

OECD/WTO (2013), developing on FAO (2005) on agrifood value chain: "A ‘value chain’ in agriculture identifies the set of actors and activities that bring a basic agricultural product from the field to final consumption and add value at each stage of the production process."

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