Guiding you through the EU jungle
Craft. Cost. EraSME. 7RP. Not quite got your head around the EU terminology? Perhaps Carina Hundhammer could come to the rescue.
Carina Hundhammer is employed by Nofima Mat to help Norwegian companies find their way to the programmes and finance schemes they can apply to for support. She can also give advice on how Norwegian companies and research institutes should formulate an application so as to make it through the EU system.
But first you should take note of another new name: National Technological Platform (NTP) Food for Life. In September Carina Hundhammer kicked off the Norwegian platform Food for Life. 40 representatives from Norwegian food companies, research institutes and the authorities attended the meeting, among them Mills, Nortura, Tine, Fjordland and Norgesmøllene. There are currently similar national platforms in 27 European countries.
Want to influence the EU
"NTP Food for life is intended to be an arena for open innovation. We want to promote Norwegian participation and Norwegian interests in the EU. In concrete terms, a forum has been set up to help strengthen international collaboration for Norwegian industry. This will be done by developing a vision, a strategic research agenda and an implementation plan for healthier food. The forum will identify different types of projects and help with coordinating applications, so that we won’t see identical applications being presented," explains the energetic Carina Hundhammer, who urges companies to register their interest. She believes strongly that the Norwegian platform will give more relevant research that will benefit Norwegian food companies and stresses that user-directed focus is essential.
"We must be part of influencing the EU to focus more strongly on healthier meals, safer food and sustainable and ethical food production. The Norwegian food industry will do this best by collaborating," continues Carina Hundhammer.
Roald Gulbrandsen of NHO Mat og Drikke sees great benefits in having got in place an EU adviser who can gather together the Norwegian food industry and develop joint strategies for nutrition, sustainable production and consumer safety.
"The Norwegian food and drink industry is fragmented, which is a hindrance to development. We must get together and agree joint strategies for the future," says Roald Gulbrandsen.
We must be on the spot
"Most of what happens in industry is based on research and that will continue to be the case. Every year we send many millions of kroner to Brussels and it’s important for us that we see that Norwegian society is getting its money’s worth. There are great opportunities in the EU," says Kristin Danielsen of the Research Council. "The National Technological Platform is an essential coordinating link for information. Getting to know EU rules and systems is too complex for the company itself, so we need this coordinating link," she continues.
The Research Council finances 50% of Carina Hundhammer’s position. They are doing this because they see that more and more projects are being set up as European programmes.
"NTP Food for Life will be an important forum representing Norwegian industry. It will be a forum where we can talk when we are going to apportion funding to different areas and choose focus areas. NTP Food for Life will be a strategically important partner. We will use the forum as a partner for dialogue on both short term and long term research strategies," says Kristin Danielsen. "NTP Food for Life will help to ensure that good projects come up. We need the power to get company projects off the ground," she adds.
Something we believe in!
Johanne Brendehaug, R&D manager of Tine, and Linda Granlund, research manager of Mills, are thankful for the initiative and they embrace the scheme.
"This benefits us in many ways," say the pair, who both represent companies that aim to offer healthier food. Tine’s strategy towards 2020 is "good and healthier eating experiences", while Mills’ vision is to "make Norway healthier". The Food for Life platform is in tune with both these strategies.
"We are small; we cannot apply for EU projects on our own. We need networks and we want to help influence. That’s why this network is important to us," says Linda Granlund of Mills.
"We believe we will gain easier access to important Norwegian and European competence and that the network will help to get new ideas and new projects off the ground. The Norwegian platform will also improve coordination and improve international collaboration. We also hope that by participating we will become better at participating in EU projects and gaining a wider network," says Johanne Brendehaug.
The secretariat has been established at Nofima Mat. A steering group for NTP Food for Life will be appointed very soon.
Why Norwegian companies should participate in NTP Food for Life
NTP Food for Life is a bridge builder between industry, centres of excellence and the authorities. By participating you can:
- help to influence strategic focus in the EU
- help to influence the Research Council’s strategic focus
- collaborate with other Norwegian companies
- gain greater access to know-how from outside Norway
- get an overview of various research resources
- get advice on formulating EU applications
- take part in user oriented EU projects