EFSA awards €1m to innovative research projects

EFSA has awarded grants worth just over €1 million to three innovative research projects on methodology development in risk assessment. By co-funding these projects EFSA is supporting advances in risk assessment methodology and encouraging scientific cooperation, innovation, and exchange of expertise in the EU.

A total of 28 organisations from 15 European countries, grouped in six consortia, responded to EFSA’s second thematic grant call launched in April 2016. The aim of the call was to encourage cooperation between EFSA and Member States as well as among Member States through the formation of consortia of Article 36 list organisations. EFSA was looking for innovative project proposals that would further enhance the sharing of knowledge and expertise.

Winning projects

The call covered three thematic areas: methods and systems for the identification of emerging food risks (lot 1); integrated methodologies for the risk assessment of mycotoxin mixtures in food and feed (lot 2); and output-based methods for the assessment of the freedom of animal disease/infection (lot 3).

The successful projects are:

  • Lot 1: DEMETER – DEtermination of METrics of Emerging Risk
    • Leading partner: Stichting Wageningen Research (The Netherlands).
    • Partners (4): Wageningen University (The Netherlands); University of Newcastle upon Tyne (United Kingdom); Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Germany); National Food Chain Safety Office (Hungary).
  • Lot 2: MYCHIF ­– Mycotoxin mixtures in food and feed: holistic, innovative, flexible risk assessment modelling approach
    • Leading partner: Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy).
    • Partners (6): Università degli studi di Parma (Italy); Queen’s University Belfast (United Kingdom); Universidade do Minho (Portugal); National Research Council (Italy); Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy); Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France).
  • Lot 3: STOC-FREE – A Surveillance analysis Tool for Outcome-based Comparison of the confidence of FREEdom generated by control or eradication programmes
    • Leading partner: Utrecht University (The Netherlands).
    • Partners (5): Swedish National Veterinary Institute (Sweden); National University of Ireland, University College Dublin (Ireland); National College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering, Nantes Atlantique (France); Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (Germany); Scotland’s Rural College (United Kingdom).

What are thematic grants?

EFSA constantly reviews existing risk assessment methods and develops new ones in key scientific areas related to food safety to ensure the excellence of its work.  EFSA cannot do this alone. Cooperation with its partners in the Member States is one of EFSA’s priorities to further enhance EU risk assessment capacity. EFSA created thematic grants as an additional instrument for strengthening scientific cooperation by co-funding research projects. This grant scheme enables leading scientific institutions in Member States to work as a collective, share knowledge and expertise, and contribute to meeting future challenges in the field of food safety.

The 2016 thematic grant call follows the successful pilot in 2015 on new approaches in identifying and characterising microbiological and chemical hazards. The pilot call attracted interest from six consortia, with a total of 34 organisations from 14 countries. It was awarded to two proposals, currently under implementation:

  • INNUENDO, working on a cross-sectorial platform for the integration of genomics in surveillance of food-borne pathogens.
  • ENGAGE, aiming at establishing next generation sequencing ability for genomic analysis in Europe.

For more information on thematic grants and forthcoming calls, please see our grants page. For information on EFSA’s cooperation with national organisations, see our page on competent organisations in the Member States.

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