Brussels, 26 Oct 2004
A new ERA-NET initiative has been launched in order to improve the quality and relevance of organic food and farming research in Europe.
For many, organic production holds the key to the sustainable development of agriculture, the environment and rural areas, as well as offering improvements to food safety and quality. But if this vision is to be achieved, more research is needed.
Although it is rapidly expanding, research in organic food and farming is still a relatively new feature of the European research landscape. As such, it is characterised by small research communities, often widely dispersed, both institutionally and geographically.
In order to address this fragmentation, a new international partnership has been established under the EU's ERA-NET scheme, which is designed to improve the cooperation and coordination of national research activities through networking and the mutual opening up of national and regional research programmes.
CORE Organic (coordination of European transnational research in organic food and farming) brings together government ministries, research councils and other research funders from 11 countries - Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. Throughout its three year lifetime, however, participation in the 1.2 million euro initiative will remain open to any EU country that has a national research programme for organic food and farming.
The joint activities of the CORE Organic partners will revolve around the coordination and evaluation of existing research, the identification of future scientific priorities, and the sharing and integration of knowledge and information.
The ultimate goal for the end of the project, however, is the creation of a joint research programme among the partner countries with a budget of at least three million euro per year, which will provide European authorities with the opportunity to launch research projects on a much larger scale than is currently possible.
The current combined annual spending by the 11 countries represented in the ERA-NET scheme on organic research activities is approximately 60 million euro. Further information on the project will be available at following web address: http:///www.core-organic.org/