Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research: Commission highlights the new challenges for Food and Agriculture

15.10.2002


The changing attitude of European society to research in food and agriculture demands that researchers pay more attention to the concerns of the public and other stakeholders



Today in Brussels, the annual Euragri conference, entitled “Science for Society – Science with Society” and sponsored by the European Commission, addressed European consumers’ concerns and proposed new goals, roles and rules to respond better and quicker to the needs of society. Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented EU initiatives in this area, and called for a European platform on plant science to be formed on the basis of a network of national research programmes. Within the forthcoming 6th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006), €685 million have been earmarked for food quality and safety.

Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin said: “New technologies, that can bring real benefits to citizens and improve the competitiveness of European agriculture, should not be discarded through ignorance and prejudice. Instead we must work to balance governance and freedom of research to allow the advance of science, and adopt a level-headed approach to evaluate the risks, costs and benefits of each new development. Europe has huge potential to be harnessed through the European Research Area.”


The attitude of European society to research in food and agriculture is changing. Citizens demand safer and healthier food, quality rather than quantity, the right to know and choose where their food comes from and more ethical treatment of farm animals. Recent controversies have highlighted the need for agricultural research and further information on the origins of food products.

The research community and regulatory authorities must consider this when implementing research strategy. Above all, there is a critical need for more dialogue between the various stakeholders, in particular between the researchers and the general public. Researchers need to pay more attention to the concerns and sensitivities of citizens, whilst the general public needs to understand the benefits of new agricultural technologies.

The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is an example of this. The use and development of genetically modified crops is increasing in many countries worldwide, but in Europe they are subject to increasingly stringent regulation, for example through the new Directive on the deliberate release of GMOs (2001/18/EC) that enters into force on 17 October 2002. Nevertheless, their use remains controversial and subject to criticism. Several GMO research field trials have been vandalised over the last months across Europe. As a result, industrial GMO research facilities have relocated to other shores.
This is likely to have serious consequences on European competitiveness. In the EU, agricultural production alone is worth €220 billion a year and the industry employs 7.5 million people. The food industry is responsible for the jobs of 2.6 million workers and is valued at €600 billion. An open, science-based dialogue between all stakeholders for and against GMOs is therefore crucial.

To promote this, the Commission is hosting roundtable meetings on GMO safety research, bringing together European bio-safety researchers and other stakeholders, such as consumer organisations, environmental NGOs, national administrations and industry. Through this, the Commission seeks to foster the GMO debate by establishing a continuous discussion forum on the research results of the benefits and risks of GMOs. The Commission has been supporting 81 bio-safety research projects for a total EC funding of €70 million for over 15 years. Together, these projects involved over 400 teams from all parts of Europe.

The Commission aims to create a true European Research Area, linking national research programmes and maximising the wealth expertise in Europe. The forthcoming Sixth Framework programme provides concrete tools to develop such an approach. ERA-NET is an example of this. It is a specific instrument to encourage and support networking and attempts to link up national research programmes. In addition, considerable resources have been allocated to the priority of “Food quality and safety” with €685 million over the four years of the programme. The new opportunities in this sector will be detailed at the launch conference in Brussels on 11-13 November 2002.

| European Commission
Further information:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/quality-of-life/gmo/index.html
http://biosociety.cordis.lu
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/conferences/2002

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>