European Union pig industry researchers and development specialists are set to examine more than 300 innovation ideas over the next three months as part of a 13-country project initiated by the EU PiG Innovation Group (EU PiG) and funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
EU PiG is a three-year knowledge exchange program, created by an expert network of 19 organizations representing 13 European member states. A key objective of the group is to prevent pig sector researchers in the different countries constantly addressing the same questions and hitting the same scientific ‘brick walls.’
“There were a number of occasions when pig research groups were coming together from all over the EU and reporting on techniques or systems they’d tried, which didn’t work, only to be told that other groups had already done the same and had reached the same conclusion months or years before,” Ellen Noakes, senior marketing & communications manager at UK-based AHDB Pork, told AgFunderNews.
“The conclusion was that if we all started talking to each other we could get further with our research and make quicker progress as an EU-wide industry.”
Following the official launch of EU PiG late last year, the 13 state regional representatives are currently collecting best practice ideas from across the countries involved with the target of collecting 24 examples from each member state. Even allowing for some obvious overlaps, this will create an initial knowledge pool of some 300 ideas from which the group will agree a shortlist of projects, deemed worthy of further investigation, by June this year.
The shortlist will then be exposed to industry and farmer examination during a major UK pig conference — PIGS 2022 — after which the very best suggestions will be selected for further work.
The current knowledge gathering process is focused on innovation and best practice across four broad themes: health management, precision production, welfare, and meat quality.
In addition to this year’s initial screening of ideas, a so-called ‘EU PiG Grand Prix’ is also being launched, whereby local contests will be held each year to identify best practice in individual countries. All grand prix winners will then compete at a European level to become an ‘EU PiG Ambassador’ enabling the best ideas to be shared and celebrated throughout the EU.
These contests will under EU PiG’s four core themes but focus on different annual topics. The selected topics for 2017 are; bio-security, reduction of antimicrobial medication, reduction of boar taint, innovation in short food supply chain, castration methods, tail docking, smart water usage and feeding management.
EU PiG’s Grand Prix program is currently open for entries and is actively seeking best practice in relevant areas. The deadline for submissions is the end of March 2017.
EU PiG partner organizations are:
• The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board; (AHDB); United Kingdom
• Beta Technology; (BETA); United Kingdom
• Zuidelijke Land- EN Tuinbouworganisatie Vereniging; (ZLTO); Netherlands
• Stichting Wageningen Research; (WR); Netherlands
• Institut De Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries; (IRTA); Spain
• Centro Ricerche Produzioni Animali; (CRPA); Italy
• Boerenbondvereniging voor Projecten; (BB Projecten); Belgium
• Teagasc – Agriculture and Food Development Authority; (TEAGASC); Ireland
• Agrifood and Biosciences Institute; (AFBI); United Kingdom
• Veterinaermedizinische Universitaet Wien: (VETMEDUNIVIENNA); Austria
• Interprofession Nationale Porcine; (INAPORC); France
• Seges; (SEGES); Denmark
• Deutscher Raiffeisen-verband; (DRV); Germany
• Vagoallat – ES Hus Szakmakozi Szervezet es Termektanacs; (VHT); Hungary
• IFIP – Institut du Porc Association; (IFIP); France
• Gran Suino Italiano; (OI GSI); Italy
• Szkola Glowna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego; (SGGW); Poland
• Polski Zwiazek Hodowcow i Producentow Trzody Chlewnej Polsus; (POLSUS); Poland
• Elainten Terveys; (ETTAnimalHealth); Finland
The EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program has a budget of nearly €80 billion ($85bn), covering the period 2014-2020. It is open to ‘everyone’ and has three priorities: Industrial Leadership, Excellent Science and Societal Change.
Watch out for an upcoming guest article on applying to Horizon 2020 for a grant coming up later this week.