The advancement of knowledge in the sustainable management, production and use of biological resources (microbial, plant and animal) will provide the basis for safer, eco-efficient and competitive products and services for agriculture, fisheries, feed, food, health, forest-based and related industries. Important contributions to the implementation of existing and prospective policies and regulations in the area of public, animal and plant health and consumer protection are anticipated. New renewable energy sources will be supported under the concept of a European knowledge-based bio-economy.
Science, industry and society will come together to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of sustainable management of biological resources. They will also exploit advances in microbial, plant and animal biotechnologies to develop new, healthier, ecoefficient and competitive products and services. Rural and coastal development will be addressed by boosting local economies whilst preserving our heritage and variety of cultures.
This theme will build, develop and provide policy support for a European knowledge-based bio-economy (KBBE) which will bring together science, industry and other stakeholders, to exploit new and emerging research opportunities that address social, environmental and economic challenges: the growing demand for safer, healthier higher quality food and for the sustainable use and production of renewable bio-resources, the increasing risk of epizootic and zoonotic disease and food related disorders; threats to the sustainability and security of agricultural, aquaculture and fisheries production; and the increasing demand for high quality food while taking into account animal welfare, impact on ecosystems and response to specific dietary needs of consumers while maintaining a competitive price structure.
- Sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest, and aquatic environments.
Research will be enabled for the sustainable production and management of biological resources (microbial, plants and animals) and will include 'omics' technologies incorporating genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and converging technologies, and their integration within systems biology approaches, as well as the development of basic tools and technologies and relevant databases for variety identification within species groups. Increasing sustainability and competitiveness while safeguarding consumer health, decreasing environmental impacts, in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, taking into account climate change, through the development of new technologies across a whole ecosystem approach will be addressed. Research into maintenance of indigenous, autochthonous ecosystems, development of bio-control agents, and the micro-biological dimension of bio-diversity will be undertaken.
For land-based biological resources, there will be special emphasis on organic production systems and novel elements (e.g. food and feeds, crops and trees) with respect to their composition, resistance to stress, ecological effect, nutrient and water use efficiency, and architecture. This will be supported by research into bio-safety and the impact of genetically modified crops on environment and human health including their potential for broader benefit to society. Plant health and crop protection will be improved through a better understanding of disease, weed and pest management tools and techniques together with preservation and enhancement of soil fertility. For aquatic environments, the focus will be on safe and environmentally friendly production systems of cultured species, the marine ecosystem and on fleet-based, regional and multi-annual management systems. Across all resources, optimized animal health, production and welfare will be achieved through exploitation of genetic knowledge, animal physiology and behaviour and pest and disease control, including zoonoses. This will be addressed by developing tools for monitoring, prevention and control, by underpinning and applied research on vaccines and diagnostics, known or emerging infectious agents.
- Fork to farm: food (including seafood), health and well being
Research will include understanding consumer behaviour, preferences, perception and attitudes towards food, together with beneficial and harmful dietary factors through the development of data bases on food and nutrition research. This will be a major factor in the development and reduction of diet-related diseases and disorders while taking into account the specific needs and habits of population groups. The investigation of traditional and local foods and diets will be important in highlighting the impact of certain foods and diets on health and the development of integrated food guidance.
Advanced technologies will be applied to food production, eco-efficient processing and packaging systems and animal feed. Chemical and micro-biological safety will be assured through microbial ecology and its link with food, detection methods, traceability and its further development, technologies and tools for risk assessment, management, and communication and increased understanding of its perception. The study of food contaminants and health outcomes will bring about a better understanding of environmental impacts on food chains and will assure the quality and integrity of the food chain through new models for commodity chain analysis and total food chain management, including consumer aspects.
- Life sciences, bio-technology and bio-chemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes
The knowledge base for terrestrial and marine bio-mass production for industrial processes and production of energy will be strengthened by including plant, animal and microbial genomics and metabolomics. This will improve the productivity and compostion of raw materials and bio-mass feedstocks for optimized conversion to high added-value products. A full life cycle analysis of bio-mass production practices, transportation, storage and bio-product market deployment will be incorporated.
The socio-economic, agronomic, and ecological and consumer aspects within whole crop and forest bio-mass chains will be addressed to realise the full potential of the bio-refinery approach. Study and control of plant and microbial metabolism at the cellular and sub-cellular level will enhance yield and product purity in the production of high-value commodities deploying bio-processes, including renewable forest-based products and pollution prevention and energy-saving treatment incorporating plant systems and/or chemical catalysts.