Epizootic Disease Diagnosis and Control (EPIZONE) - Launch of European Research Network, 13 June

June 9, 2006

Brussels, 08 Jun 2006

Presentation of "EPIZONE"

13 June 2006
(presentations from 9-12, press conference at 12:30)

Centre de Conférence Albert Borschette (Room 2C)
Rue Froissart 36 , 1040 Brussels, Belgium

On 13 June 2006 the EU-funded research project EPIZONE will be launched at the Centre Albert Borschette, in Brussels. EPIZONE is a Network of Excellence supported by the EU's Sixth Research Framework Programme with a total EU contribution of €14 million. EPIZONE aims at improving research on preparedness, prevention, detection and control of epizootic diseases within Europe to reduce the economic and social impact of future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, classical swine fever and other relevant epizootic diseases such as bluetongue and African swine fever. EPIZONE will develop a organisational structure based on a "Virtual Institute". It will ensure common access to resources such as collections of clinical materials and strains, expertise, high-containment facilities, animal facilities and specialised equipment. It will establish a structured training including practical courses and "distant learning" and opportunities for mobility of scientists. It will also create "experts" teams for acute needs. EPIZONE will establish links with other groups and networks outside the EU.

EPIZONE brings together 18 institutions involved in research into these diseases, 15 from the European Union, 2 from China, 1 from Turkey together with relevant international organisations and an SME. 250 key scientists and many young scientists are initially involved. The jointly executed research programme is encompassing research into four themes:

  • Diagnostics,
  • Intervention Strategies,
  • Surveillance and Epidemiology and
  • Risk Assessment

Epizootic diseases in agriculture and aquaculture animals constitute major risks for the food production and in some cases risks for public health. Such diseases spread very fast through animals, vectors or animal products. Outbreaks in Europe of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK, avian influenza in Italy and Netherlands as well as the current influenza crisis worldwide have shown enormous social and economic impact, and need to be addressed across the whole production chain and also at international level. The objective of EPIZONE is to improve research on preparedness, prevention, detection, and control of epizootics by improvement of excellence through collaboration. EPIZONE will be developed for integration of scientists in animal health, at the European level.

EPIZONE will generate a worldwide network of institutes contributing to available expertise and spreading of excellence. EPIZONE includes the Food and Agriculture Organization (FA=) of the United Nations. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will be a member of the Advisory Board. Organisational work packages will develop integration activities, including communications, meetings, and training/continuous professional development. Scientific work packages will undertake jointly executed research on epizootics selected on importance in Europe and the rest of the world and cover 4 thematic areas: Diagnostics, Intervention Strategies, Surveillance and Epidemiology, and Risk Assessment. Given the network structure, the technical resources and the scientific excellence, EPIZONE will assure strategically driven state-of-art research.

For the thematic priority on "Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Research"" in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) see also: www.cordis.europa.eu.int/food

Conference programme ( Tuesday, 13 June 2006)

9.15 - 9.30 presentation DG Research (its view and expectation from EPIZONE Dr Christian Patermann, Director biotechnology, agriculture and food research, European Commission

9.30 - 10.15 presentation coordinator (philosophy and objectives of EPIZONE, both integrative and scientific) Dr Piet Van Rijn, Centraal Instituut voor Dierziekte Controle CIDC Lelystad, Netherlands


Coffee break

11.00 – 11:45 "A challenge and opportunity for veterinary research in the EU" Dr Ilaria Capua , OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory for Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Italy


12.00 -13.00 Lunch and press lunch

Additional information on this press event:

* As mentioned in the programme, a press lunch will take place from 12:00 onwards where journalists will be able to interview the project's coordinator, Dr Piet Van Rijn, and Dr Ilaria Capua from the OIE/FAO reference laboratory among other researchers involved in EPIZONE.

Further information and registration

Telecoms Operators seek less regulation Commission yyyy-xxxx CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2006 Brussels, xxxx yyyy

Members of ETNO, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association, met with the EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding, on 7 June. They called for more investment and less regulation.

ETNO represents 41 telecoms operators in 34 countries, employing around a million staff, and turning over EUR 240 billion. In 2005, they invested EUR 35 billion in new networks for the next generation of Internet connections.

This last statistic - investment - is the crux of the problem for ETNO members, who assembled 29 of their CEOs and other representatives to outline their case to Ms Reding.

'Despite massive investment over the last four years, the EU lags behind some of the main players. The EU needs more investment in areas where members used to be world leaders. Regulation is not adapted to a more convergent and mobile world,' said ETNO chair, Michael Bartholomew.

The telecoms industry is going through a period of massive change. Driving that change is the Internet. When the Internet bubble gathered pace at the turn of the millennium, there were high expectations, and companies rose and fell by the month. Now, the move to broadband computer connections blurs the line between Internet, telecoms and broadcasting, and those possibilities can finally be realised.

Television can be watched over the Internet, phone calls can be made over the Internet, but fast Internet or broadband connections still need a phone line or cable. The proliferation of mobile phones also encroaches onto this territory with mobile TV and other gadgets. The market for these services, and the parallel business market, is huge. Much Europe's future prosperity will depend upon effectively exploiting the new web capabilities, dubbed www2 (world wide web mark 2). However, the regulatory landscape is fragmented.

ETNO members want to have less regulation, and fewer defined markets. The EU currently regulates 18 distinct telecoms markets, and this impedes the opportunities for competition, according to ETNO. Companies may be strong in mobile phone technology, but weak in fixed connections, or vice-versa. They may only act as an Internet provider, but all of these companies may offer the same services.

ETNO urges the Commission 'to provide incentives to invest and have a return on that investment. Incentives are needed now so that by 2010, we have the infrastructure needed,' according to Mr Bartholomew. 2010 is the target for the 'information society', where telecoms will underlie much of the technology we will use and information that we will have access to.

ETNO members believe that market forces should drive the roll-out of new networks, which will also free up the network to new innovations not yet invented. 'It is critical that changes anticipate market trends. Otherwise the framework will be outdated before it comes into force. We hope the Commissioner will have the courage to adopt and embrace deregulation on June 28,' said Mr Bartholomew.

Miroslav Majoros of Slovak Telekom believes that a system that puts direct competitor - for example phonecalls from a fixed line, a mobile phone and through the Internet - in different markets is unworkable. 'We have to start looking at regulation from a customer-centric perspective. How does the consumer react to different prices to do the same thing? If regulation does not follow, then regulation makes no sense,' he said.

Henning Dyremose, president and CEO of TDC in Denmark said: 'I do not want to give the impression I am disappointed. The Commissioner and her staff took careful notes, and we were promised another chance to make our case later on. I still have great hopes,' he said.

Boris Nemsic, CEO of Telekom Austria was disappointed, however, not to have had mobile roaming charges discussed at the meeting with Commissioner Reding.

Perhaps the most important point made about the move towards i2010 came from Eircom's Philip Nolan, who said: 'There is much more broadband availability than take-up. The [EU] could help here to try and grow demand.' However, some members pointed out that countries in new Member States and prospective Member States have an imbalance in their telecoms make-up. Countries may have a minimal, 15-20 per cent penetration, but a huge mobile penetration of 70 per cent. This point was taken up by Poland's Marek Józefiak, CEO of TPSA. 'There is no greater regulatory challenge than to bridge the digital gap,' he said.

Ms Reding is expected to make known her plans for the telecommunications review on 28 June.

Further information (European Commission)

Further information (ETNO)

DG Research
http:///europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/research/i ndex_en.html
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