Funds topping €17.5 billion will be poured into food-related research as the European Commission announces the first slice of a major investment in the first year of the EU 6th Research Framework Programme (FP6).
In total, 24 food quality and safety research projects and 12 specific support actions have been awarded an initial EU contribution. They are the first projects of this kind to receive FP6 funding, totalling €17.5 billion over four years (2003-2006).
The projects and networks - some of which will receive up to €17 million each - will tackle consumer-oriented issues such as food-related diseases and allergies, the impact of food on health, environmentally-friendly production methods, and environmental health risks.
"These first research projects to be allocated FP6 funding will play a key role in improving the quality of life for people in Europe, but also in helping to shape related EU policies," said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin announcing the new research projects.
FP6 started on 1 January 2003, with a first crop of calls for proposals published on 17 December 2002.
When the call closed, over 200 proposals, representing almost €1.4 billion, were evaluated. Shortlists were then drawn up that, in turn, formed the basis of the funding decisions of the European Commission. Up to 36 proposals, representing an initial EU contribution of €166 million, are expected to receive funding.
Priority 5 of the Sixth Framework programme focuses on the total food chain through research articulated in seven specific areas - epidemiology of food-related diseases and allergies, impact of food on health, traceability processes along the production chain, methods of analysis, detection and control, safer and environmentally friendly production methods, impact of animal feed on human health and environmental health risks.
The second call for proposals, announcing the topics targeted for 2004 and deadlines for submission, is expected to be published in November 2003. All relevant information and documents will be available from the CORDIS website.