International engagement

Europe

Europe's universities, research bodies and industries are increasingly collaborating with each other. Nofima is involved in many European projects in the research areas of aquaculture, seafood, traceability, consumer research, genetics and animal welfare.

The collaboration is driven by a consonance between top-down and bottom-up objectives. It's encouraged at a policy level because it provides access to a wider range of facilities and resources. It enables researchers to participate in networks of cutting-edge and innovative activity.

For researchers, collaboration provides opportunities to move further and faster by working with other leading people in their field. It is therefore not surprising that collaborative European research is also contributing to some of the highest impact activities within Nofima.

Nofima is involved, as key partners or coordinators in a substantial number of European projects initiated via Framework Program of the European Commission (such as SEAFOODplus, CONSENSUS, BENEFISH, ROSA, BIFF, Finefish, Aquabreeding, FEUFAR, SUSTAINAQ, TRACE).

Nofima and SEAFOODplus
Nofima is involved in the Integrated Program SEAFOODplus. The strategic objective of the SEAFOODplus is to reduce health problems and to increase well-being among European consumers by applying the benefits obtained through consumption of health promoting and safe seafood products of high eating quality.

Nofima is involved in nine projects of this program (which comprise 20 projects in total). Within SEAFOODplus Nofima is coordinating the research areas of aquaculture and of seafood from source to consumer. Nofima is also one of the initiators of the SEAFOODplus Research Platform to be launched in March 2009.

Structured collaboration with Ifremer and Wageningen University Research
In 2005 Nofima signed an agreement with Ifremer (France) and Imares, from the Wageningen UR (The Netherlands) regarding collaboration in the research areas of aquaculture, seafood and consumer research. Also the Centre for Innovative Consumer Studies (CICS) from Wageningen UR is partner.

This agreement comprises three common thematic areas of research: Sustainable aquaculture, Hatchery shellfish and Consumer oriented seafood product development. Collaboration is realized via seed money projects linking on-going research projects of the partners. Furthermore partners develop initiatives for common European project applications.

European networks and platforms
Nofima is pro-active in several of European networks and platforms (WEFTA, EFARO and EATiP).

Nofima is the national permanent representative in WEFTA since its raise almost 40 years ago. WEFTA is nowadays an important platform in Europe for institutes engaged in fish processing, applied food science, aquaculture, seafood technology and health effects from seafood. WEFTA brings scientists - especially young scientists - together from the various research institutes and encourage them to present their results.

EFARO, The European Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Organisation, is an association composed of the directors of the main European research institutes involved in fisheries and aquaculture research. EFARO was founded under a consensus agreement in 1989. It was established in recognition of the need to achieve greater cohesion and coordination of science and research in support of European policy related to the marine environment, fisheries and aquaculture.

Nofima is member of the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform. This Technology Platform enables the stakeholders of the aquaculture production chain to identify the innovation challenges for their collective interests. On basis of this a strategic research agenda will be developed to respond to these challenges and implement the results through effective dissemination and technology transfer mechanisms.

Objectives of the SEAFOODplus projects where Nofima Marin is participating are:

  • To establish novel endocrinological, physiological and genetic tools in order to identify quality traits in finfish aquaculture (Bioqual)
  • To examine how husbandry practice, aquacultural systems and pre-slaughter conditions contribute to the flesh quality and ethical quality of finfish seafood (Ethiqual)
  • To ensure the safety and quality of convenience seafood products (Hurdletech)

Objectives of the SEAFOODplus projects where Nofima Marked is participating are:

  • To explain the differences in consumption levels of seafood in Europe by an integrated study of the attitudes, preferences and eating habits across consumer segments (Consumersurvey).
  • To analyse models of information processing and the working of communication in relation to traceability, health, safety and ethical issues of seafood and to investigate consumers' needs for seafood information and the impact of this information on choice (Sea-infocom).
  • To study consumer's perception, expectations and preferential behaviour related to sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood production systems, new farmed fish products based upon diet modulation, functional seafood products and specific product characteristics associated with convenience, health and well-being (Consumerevaluate).
  • To define the vocabulary for the "shall elements" in the existing Tracefish standard and to develop a Good Traceability Practice (GTP) guideline ‘manual' (SEAFOODplus-Methods)
  • To study of current information flow in case chains, specify what changes are needed in each link in order to ensure that traceability is in place and to test, evaluate and make suggestions for improvement of advanced technology for global batch identification and data catch. To integrate data captured with advanced technology into traceability software with functionality for data storage and transmission. (SEAFOODplus-Implementation)
  • To validate the traceability systems developed and implemented in different fish production chains across Europe and to validate the traceability data coming from the chains testing different tools, such as authenticity methods and other specially adapted tools and methods for the validation process (SEAFOODplus-Validation)

Objectives of other European projects where Nofima Marin is participating:

  • To use a set of widely applicable operational welfare indicators to define relationships between selected welfare control measures and their consequences for production, quality and consumer perception. To estimate the costs and benefits of potential welfare control measures and their monitoring and documentation through case studies. To develop a decision analysis model allowing comparison between various welfare control (BENEFISH)
  • To support research towards improvement of production results in carp breeding, the species mostly cultured in Serbia and Western Balkan countries (ROSA)
  • To optimize scallop aquaculture production and processing (BIFF)
  • To generate new practical knowledge on how to reduce the incidence of malformations in the major fish species used in European aquaculture production and to apply this to the professional sector (Finefish)
  • To define the research priorities of the industry already involved in aquaculture breeding, promote the dissemination of knowledge to support a major involvement of the industry in breeding activities and to consolidate these actions at the European level promoting to a progressive integration of the European aquaculture industry into the technology platforms (Aquabreeding)
  • The identify limiting factors restricting sustainable production of seafood in Europe, with particular focus on use of recirculation aquaculture systems (SUSTAINAQ)

Objectives of other European projects where Nofima Marked is participating:

  • To test the impact of balanced messages regarding health-benefits of (farmed) fish, sustainability of aquaculture and the image of European aquaculture on consumer perception (CONSENSUS)
  • To study the impact welfare control measures in aquaculture and their consequences for perception (BENEFISH)
  • To define the research required in the medium term (10 years), to enable exploitation and farming of aquatic resources in the context of key challenges and risks for meeting sustainability requirements (FEUFAR).
  • To improve the health and well-being of European citizens by delivering improved traceability of food products (TRACE)
None Photo: Villa Organic AS