In its annual report on data and trends in the European food and drink industry, the CIAA said last week that R&D expenditure is higher and continues to rise in Japan, the US, Australia and South Korea, while the EU has seen a period of “relative stagnation.”
In this context, the European food industry association has laid out creation of a financing mechanism for research in the EU as one of its priorities for the Polish presidency of the EU Council.
“Building on existing structures, this mechanism should aim to deliver a more business and research friendly framework for the food and drink industry,” the CIAA told FoodNavigator.com.
Changes to EU research funding are in the pipeline although discussions are at an early stage. Earlier in the year, the Commission published a green paper on the key issues to be considered in R&D funding reform in which it accepted that Europe is often outperformed by competitors when it comes to research and innovation.
CIAA explained therefore what it sees as the key priorities for a future EU funding.
Research funding priorities
The trade group underlined the importance of maintaining breadth – funding the whole life cycle from the idea to the market. But it said that funding must fit with existing policy needs and give a helping hand first to smaller companies.
“It is important that funding is coherent with policy objectives; it should take the potential market impact into account because there’s no point in developing a product that cannot be put on the market – and the regulatory framework should be streamlined. As part of this, encouraging consumers to eat a balanced diet and lead a healthy lifestyle is a clear policy objective and the mechanism should demonstrate this.
“The mechanism should focus on different project sizes but, first and foremost, on small ones which involve SMEs. It is also important to have a mechanism by which SMEs can join projects at a later stage; pilot plans can help here.”