Un troupeau de moutons
22/04/2024 3 min

European partnership of scientists and funders helping to improve animal health and welfare

ANSES is a member of the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare (represented by the abbreviation EUP AH&W or its acronym EUPAHW) co-financed by the European Commission. This partnership aims to combat infectious animal diseases and promote animal welfare.

Launched this year (2024), the innovative Partnership is anticipated to invest €360 million over seven years to boost research and facilitate cooperation between all actors. The scope goes beyond the animal health and welfare actors to enhance cross sector collaboration and, through a One Health and One Welfare approach, to provide societal impact. The objectives of the EUP AH&W align with the European Green Deal and its associated Farm to Fork strategy for a fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food system.

Ninety partners

The ambitious objectives of the EUP AH&W have attracted a diverse pool of partners, including 56 leading research performing organisations and 30 funding organisations in Europe. The budget is 50% funded by the Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and 50% by the EUP AH&W partner institutions/organisations. To date, the Partnership has brought together 90 entities (research-performing institutions, funding organisations, and ministries), including EFSA and EMA, from 24 countries (19 EU Member States and 5 countries associated to Horizon Europe).

The Partnership is based on a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), which has been developed over a two-year period, and involving all relevant actors, with the active participation of ANSES. The SRIA balances short term applied and strategic research. Infectious diseases, both of terrestrial and aquatic animals, and zoonotic risks such as bird flu are addressed, together with research to improve animal welfare.

Many research projects yet to come

The Partnership also focuses on the prudent use of antimicrobials and ensuring that a high level of animal welfare is provided in every phase of an animal’s life. The Partnership includes 17 three-year research projects carried out internally, which start in 2024, and plans to launch research calls reaching out to additional research performing organisations beyond the Partnership. Funding organisations not yet involved in the Partnership may also contribute to these calls. 

Nathalie Vanderheijden of the University of Ghent, coordinator of the EUP AH&W, sums up the Partnership as follows: “Our partnership is a new, open initiative, bringing together EC funding, national/regional funders and research performing organisations to concentrate efforts on developments with high societal, economic and policy impact. Belgium, with its current presidency of the European Council for six months, appreciates the potential of unity in driving change!

EFSA’s Chief Scientist Carlos Das Neves says in relation to the Partnership: “We are pleased to announce that EFSA will be a full partner of the European Partnership Animal Health & Welfare. This is the first time that we will be a beneficiary in a research partnership under Horizon Europe, which will enable a smoother transition from research to regulatory science. We are prepared and committed to bring our expertise to the table, together with the best experts in Europe, for the benefit of animal health and welfare.

Florence Tardy, ANSES representative on the EUP AH&W management team, explains: "ANSES is heavily involved in the EUP AH&W partnership: four of its laboratories dedicated to animal health & welfare, antibiotic resistance and wildlife will be participating in the research projects. Its Social Sciences, Economics and Society Department is also involved in socio-economic aspects. The Agency is involved in 13 of the 17 internal projects that have been launched. In addition to its role as a partner, it is a member of the partnership's management team and board of directors. It is also co-leading the work package devoted to internal programmes. ANSES’s participation in this partnership is the tangible expression of its place in the European research and reference landscape".